Discovering the Ironton: How scientists found a 128-year-old Lake Huron shipwreck
Scientists have found a more than century-old shipwreck in Lake Huron.
The 190-foot wooden schooner Ironton eluded them for years. The vessel sank in 1894 after colliding with the bulk freighter, Ohio, which was found in 2017.
Scientists mapped the seafloor using things like sonar and autonomous vehicles, but the location of the Ironton remained a mystery, until now, when the ship was found upright and well preserved.
Stephanie Gondulla, resource protection coordinator for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, said the discovery is a window into the past.
“It’s an insight to the people that worked in the Great Lakes, lived in the Great Lakes and really that human element is what we’re really drawn to. I think these stories of survival and sometimes tragic stories of loss is really what’s so compelling about our human history,” she said.
The sanctuary will seek a permit to attach mooring buoys on the site of the ship to aid preservation.
A consortium of groups worked with the marine sanctuary to find the wreckage, including the Ocean Exploration Trust, the United States Coast Guard, the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping and others.
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is working to map the 43-hundred square miles of lake bed as part of a regional effort to learn more about the Great Lakes.
And Gondulla said they plan to create some educational materials about the Ironton, and will continue to work with partners to explore the lake bed, hoping to find more stories.
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