Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Erebus and Terror

Another shot of the British ships. The Erebus as you can see is in the process of being completed. Both are made from balsa wood. For more info on these two ships:

HMS Erebus (1826)
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HMS Erebus was a Hecla class bomb vessel designed by Sir Henry Peake and constructed by the Royal Navy in Pembroke Dockyard, Wales in 1826. The vessel was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek Mythology called Erebus.
The 372-ton ship was armed with two mortars, one 13-inch and one 10-inch. After two years in the Mediterranean Sea, she was refitted to work in the Antarctic. In 1840, Erebus, captained by James Clark Ross, departed from Tasmania for Antarctica on November 21 in company with HMS Terror. In January 1841, the crew from both ships landed on Victoria Land, and proceeded to name areas of the landscape after British politicians, scientists, and acquaintances. Mount Erebus, on Ross Island, was named for the ship itself. They then discovered the Ross Ice Shelf, which they were unable to penetrate, and followed it eastward until the lateness of the season compelled them to return to Tasmania. The following season, 1842, Ross continued to survey the "Great Ice Barrier", as it was called, continuing to follow it eastward. The two ships returned to the Falkland Islands before returning to the Antarctic in the 1842-1843 season. The ships conducted studies in magnetism, and returned with oceanographic data and collections of botanical and ornithological specimens.
Erebus and Terror were fitted with 20 horsepower (15 kW) engines and single-screw propellers in 1844. Under the command of Sir John Franklin, they were sent to the Canadian Arctic to collect magnetic data. The two ships were last seen entering Baffin Bay in August 1845. The disappearance of the Franklin expedition set off a massive search effort in the Arctic. The ships' fate were revealed in a series of expeditions into the Arctic between 1848 and 1859 when it was discovered that both ships had become icebound and were eventually abandoned by their crews, who were suffering from scurvy. None of the members of the Franklin expedition survived. In addition, in the 1980s it was discovered that the crew had also suffered from lead poisoning from lead solder on their food tins. Lead poisoning leads to disorientation, insanity, and eventually death.


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