Can Arctic Ice Crush Ships?

Many ship captains throughout history have found that the answer to this question is yes.

It wasn’t until the 20th century that men learned how to build ships that could resist the power of Arctic ice. One of the most famous cases of a ship being crushed was that of the Jeannette, a steamship that sailed from San Francisco on July 8, 1879, to explore the Arctic.

Less than two months later, the ship was surrounded and trapped by an ice pack in the Arctic Ocean. Slowly, the ice built up pressure against the ship’s sides.

It took almost two years, but in June of 1881, the Jeannette was finally completely crushed, and she sank. Her crew was relatively lucky. More than half of them escaped to tell their tale.