NOAA archaeologists say they’ve located a 144-year-old Arctic shipwreck, and climate change may have been the unlikely hero in making this discovery possible.
A total of 33 whaling ships sank into the Chukchi Sea, northwest of Alaska, in September 1871, and crews located some remains from two of those boats. It’s believed that these ships became trapped when they encountered thick ice near the Alaska shore, and while no crew members died, some 1,200 whalers were stranded until rescue boats arrived, according to a NOAA release.
NOAA said the crew used sonar and sensing technology to locate the shipwreck and plot the outline of the ships’ hulls. While searching the site, they also found anchors, fasteners, ballasts and pots that were used to turn whale blubber into oil.
“With less ice in the Arctic as a result of climate change, archaeologists now have more access to potential shipwreck sites than ever before,” wrote NOAA.