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UNH researcher aids in discovery of Antarctic shipwreck

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Author Topic: UNH researcher aids in discovery of Antarctic shipwreck  (Read 192 times)
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« on: September 04, 2012, 12:28:15 am »

Beaudoin, who has plied cold waters before, knew that the ocean temperature would preserve the wooden hull of the Terra Nova. The team was concerned, however, that damage by icebergs – the fate that befell the ship in 1943 – could have broken the wreck into pieces, which would have made detection in sonar imagery much more difficult.

The wreck was not significantly damaged, however, which added to the excitement. Beaudoin was at the computer when sonar images of it first appeared in the ship’s lab. The observed target was later selected as the most likely candidate of all the potential targets imaged by the sonar; video imagery was acquired using an underwater camera system to confirm that it was indeed a wreck.

    “When it scrolled past on the video screen, the whole room just erupted in a massive cheer,” Beaudoin says. “It was a pretty cool moment.” The discovery highlighted the work of the entire team on the Falkor, which included French organization Ifremer and Rolley and colleagues from SOI. Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute also were onboard collecting video plankton observations during the transit across the North Atlantic.

While measurements from the echosounder confirmed the wreck to be identical to those of the Terra Nova, Beaudoin notes that without a “smoking gun” of proof, something like silverware or dishware engraved with ship insignia, he and others approach the discovery with scientific caution. “It’s highly likely that it’s the Terra Nova. It’s a wreck that is consistent with the Terra Nova,” he says.

Now back in Durham, Beaudoin has returned to the original purpose of the voyage; he is finishing his analysis of the Falkor’s echosounders. “Everything was fine. The cruise, from our point of view, was a great success,” he says.

Read more about the discovery of the S.S. Terra Nova at
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