Great Lakes shipwreck

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Photo: Hundreds of ships have met their end on America’s Great Lakes

Shipwreck enthusiasts claim to have discovered what they say is the oldest documented commercial shipwreck ever discovered in America’s Great Lakes.

Associated Press says that the remains of the Atlas, a double masted, 52ft schooner, which sank in a storm in May 1839, may be located near the port of Oswego beneath Lake Ontario.

The Atlas was built in 1838 to ferry limestone from the Black River quarries. That very cargo is what doomed the ship according to many sources, after a gale force wind caused the load to shift and unbalance the ship. All five passengers perished with the ship, including its owner.

The wreck was discovered recently using a DeepVision sonar system and an ROV was deployed to complete an initial survey of the site at a depth of 300 metres.

The lakes form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth. Formed at the end of the last glacial period around 10,000 years ago, they have always been a major source of trade through their region.

Hundreds of ships have met their end on the lakes. The greatest concentration of shipwrecks lies near Thunder Bay in Michigan, beneath Lake Huron, near the point where eastbound and westbound shipping lanes converge.