The Expedition's research team of glaciologists, marine biologists, and oceanographers has collected extensive measurements, samples and survey data around the Larsen C Ice Shelf and A68 iceberg, which will provide new information on this very remote and little studied extreme environment.
The Expedition vessel, 'S.A. Agulhas II', is now sailing towards the site of the wreck of Ernest Shackleton's lost ship Endurance, which was crushed by sea ice and sank in the Weddell Sea in November 1915.
From its current position, the S.A. Agulhas II still has 120 km of sea ice to break to reach the search area, pushing the S.A Aghullas II to her limits. However, with ice and weather conditions currently looking favourable, the Expedition is hopeful of being able to reach the search location in the coming days.
The search area has been defined by using the precise and detailed records kept by the Captain of Endurance, Frank Worsley, who used a sextant and chronometers to measure the exact location of the ship in 1915.
On arrival at the wreck site, the team will deploy Ocean Infinity's Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from S.A. Agulhas II and attempt to locate and survey the wreck on the sea bed.
If Endurance is found, the wreck will not be touched or disturbed as its protection and conservation is of paramount importance, but images and footage of the vessel will be collected.
It is with great excitement that we begin the exploration phase of the Expedition, where we hope to achieve what was thought to be impossible; locating Endurance, the vessel which sunk in the harshest of environments...We now view this as the best opportunity in history to locate Endurance and we are relishing the chance to be involved in a search of such significance. We believe that through the deployment of the best possible technology and a world-leading exploration team, we can achieve something truly unique that would be a landmark moment in polar history,
...said the Director of Exploration on the Expedition Mensun Bound.
We have acquired detailed observations on the glaciology, oceanography, biology, and geology of the little known area around the Larsen C Ice shelf and the huge A68 iceberg. Analysis of this data will allow us to better understand the contemporary stability and past behaviour of Larsen C, with its wider implications for ice sheet stability more generally,
...added Professor Julian Dowdeswell, the Expedition Chief Scientists and Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University.