Scott’s lost ship, Terra Nova, discovered off the Greenland coast

Posted: Aug 16, 2012 03:32 am EDT

(Newsdesk) A research team aboard a ship of the Schmidt Ocean Institute discovered the wreck of the Antarctic ship off the coast of Greenland.

During the epic 1910-13 British Antarctic Expedition, Captain Robert Falcon Scott sailed with Terra Nova to Antarctica in an attempt to be the first to discover the South Pole. During the time that Scott and his men were on their way to the South Pole and back Terra Nova was on a science mission along the Antarctic coast and returned to New Zealand to pick up provisions.

In 1913 the ship returned to England without Scott and his polar party, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates, and Edgar Evans. In England she was purchased by her former owners and resumed work in the Newfoundland seal fishery. In 1942 she was chartered by Newfoundland Base Contractors to carry supplies to base stations in Greenland. On September, 13, 1943 Terra Nova was damaged by ice and sank off the southwestern tip of Greenland. Her crew was saved by a United States Coast Guard vessel.

Last month a ship of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, the R/V Falkor, was busy with science survey tests off the coast of Greenland when the team aboard discovered the wreck of the Terra Nova.

Researchers selected the test survey site off the Greenland coast for several reasons. The Schmidt Ocean Institute explains in a news release, “It allowed testing of ship's mapping capabilities at seafloor depths between 10 and 1800 meters, and the glacial activity in the area created distinct and prominent seafloor features. Because of the glaciers, the Schmidt Ocean Institute survey team expected to see mixtures of deposits from soft sediment to gravel and boulders deposited by icebergs and glaciers. Different seabed compositions enable testing of the reception quality of the high/low back scatter signals by the multibeam system. Icebergs common to the area leave significant gouging marks on the seabed, which would effectively test bathymetric mapping data.”

“In addition to meeting all of these criteria for the test site, the region was also familiar to Schmidt Ocean Institute Marine Technician Leighton Rolley, who had read that the polar exploration vessel S.S. Terra Nova was reported lost off Southern Greenland in 1943. With all the topographical considerations and with the secondary possibility of using a wreck as a calibration reference for the sonar equipment, the Schmidt Ocean Institute had prioritized this location as the optimal spot for this round of tests.”

Archive footage of the Terra Nova returning to Cardiff on 14 June 1913

1910-13 Scott / Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition photos

South Pole anniversary final: March 29, 1912
#Polar #Oceans #Science

S.S. Terra Nova mast as seen in the underwater video frame filmed from R/V Falkor using SHRIMP (Simple High Resolution IMaging Package).
Image by Schmidt Ocean Institute courtesy Schmidt Ocean Institute, SOURCE
The Terra Nova held up in the Antarctic packice December 13th, 1910.
Image by Herbert George Ponting courtesy Scott Polar Research Institute, SOURCE