Cambridge Bay, Canada // A Canadian research vessel is leading the largest ever search for the ill-fated 1845 Franklin Expedition, lost on a quest for an ice-free shipping route across the Arctic.
The team of researchers aboard the Martin Bergmann research vessel will look for the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror in two spots: the Victoria Strait/Alexandra Strait region, where one of the vessels is thought to have foundered, and the southern region near O'Reilly Island, west of the Adelaide Peninsula and where Inuit oral tradition situates one of the wrecks.
The two ships are together designated as a Canadian "undiscovered" national historic site. The expedition, as well as several missions sent by the British admiralty to try to find Franklin, ushered in an era of Arctic exploration and mapping.
Over four to six weeks, weather permitting, the Canadian researchers will use sidescan sonar and multibeam bathymetry, as well as airborne technology used to acquire bathymetric data in shallow waters, satellite imagery and an underwater vehicle equipped with similar remote-sensing equipment.
* Agence France-Presse