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Challenger expedition

Challenger expedition

Overview
The Challenger expedition of 1872–76 was a scientific exercise that made many discoveries to lay the foundation of oceanography
Oceanography
Oceanography , also called oceanology or marine science, is the branch of Earth science that studies the ocean...

. The expedition was named after the mother vessel, HMS
Challenger
HMS Challenger (1858)
HMS Challenger was a steam-assisted Royal Navy Pearl-class corvette launched on 13 February 1858 at the Woolwich Dockyard. She was the flagship of the Australia Station between 1866 and 1870....

.

Prompted by the Scot, Charles Wyville Thomson
Charles Wyville Thomson
Sir Charles Wyville Thomson was a Scottish zoologist and chief scientist on the Challenger expedition.-Career:...

—of the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

 and Merchiston Castle School
Merchiston Castle School
Merchiston Castle School is an independent school for boys in the village of Colinton in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has about 480 pupils and is open to boys between the ages of 8 and 18 as either boarders or day pupils; day pupils make up 35% of the school....

—the Royal Society of London obtained the use of
Challenger from the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and in 1872 modified the ship for scientific work, equipping her with separate laboratories for natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 and chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

.
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Encyclopedia
The Challenger expedition of 1872–76 was a scientific exercise that made many discoveries to lay the foundation of oceanography
Oceanography
Oceanography , also called oceanology or marine science, is the branch of Earth science that studies the ocean...

. The expedition was named after the mother vessel, HMS
Challenger
HMS Challenger (1858)
HMS Challenger was a steam-assisted Royal Navy Pearl-class corvette launched on 13 February 1858 at the Woolwich Dockyard. She was the flagship of the Australia Station between 1866 and 1870....

.

Prompted by the Scot, Charles Wyville Thomson
Charles Wyville Thomson
Sir Charles Wyville Thomson was a Scottish zoologist and chief scientist on the Challenger expedition.-Career:...

—of the University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a public research university located in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university...

 and Merchiston Castle School
Merchiston Castle School
Merchiston Castle School is an independent school for boys in the village of Colinton in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has about 480 pupils and is open to boys between the ages of 8 and 18 as either boarders or day pupils; day pupils make up 35% of the school....

—the Royal Society of London obtained the use of
Challenger from the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and in 1872 modified the ship for scientific work, equipping her with separate laboratories for natural history
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 and chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

. The expedition, led by Captain George Nares
George Nares
Vice-Admiral Sir George Strong Nares KCB FRS was a British naval officer and Arctic explorer. He commanded both the Challenger Expedition and the British Arctic Expedition, and was highly thought of a leader and a scientific explorer...

, sailed from Portsmouth, England, on 21 December 1872. Other naval officers included Commander John Maclear
John Maclear
John Fiot Lee Pearse Maclear was an Admiral in the Royal Navy, known for his leadership in hydrography....

. Under the scientific supervision of Thomson himself, she travelled nearly 70000 nautical miles (129,640 km) surveying and exploring. The result was the Report Of The Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-76 which, among many other discoveries, catalogued over 4,000 previously unknown species. John Murray
John Murray (oceanographer)
Sir John Murray KCB FRS FRSE FRSGS was a pioneering Scottish oceanographer, marine biologist and limnologist.-Early life:...

, who supervised the publication, described the report as "the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries".
Challenger sailed close to Antarctica, but not within sight of it.

Preparations


As recently as the late 19th century, human knowledge of the oceans was confined to the topmost few fathom
Fathom
A fathom is a unit of length in the imperial and the U.S. customary systems, used especially for measuring the depth of water.There are 2 yards in an imperial or U.S. fathom...

s of the water and a small amount of the bottom, mainly in shallow areas. Sailors and scientists knew almost nothing of the ocean depths. The Royal Navy's efforts to chart all of the world's coastlines in the mid-19th century reinforced the vague idea that most of the ocean was very deep, although little more was known. As exploration ignited both popular and scientific interest in the polar regions and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, so too did the mysteries of the unexplored oceans.

To enable her to probe the depths, the Challengers guns were removed and her spars reduced to make more space available. Laboratories, extra cabins and a special dredging platform were installed. She was loaded with specimen jars, filled with alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

 for preservation of samples, microscopes and chemical apparatus, trawls and dredges, thermometers and water sampling bottles, sounding leads and devices to collect sediment from the sea bed and great lengths of rope with which to suspend the equipment into the ocean depths. Because of the novelty of the expedition, some of the equipment was invented or specially modified for the occasion. In all she was supplied with 181 miles (291 km) of Italian hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

 for sounding, trawling and dredging.

Expedition



On her 68890 nautical miles (127,584.3 km) journey circumnavigating the globe, 492 deep sea soundings, 133 bottom dredges, 151 open water trawls and 263 serial water temperature observations were taken. Also about 4,700 new species of marine life were discovered.

The scientific work was conducted by Wyville Thomson, John Murray
John Murray (oceanographer)
Sir John Murray KCB FRS FRSE FRSGS was a pioneering Scottish oceanographer, marine biologist and limnologist.-Early life:...

, John Young Buchanan, Henry Nottidge Moseley
Henry Nottidge Moseley
Henry Nottidge Moseley, FRS was a British naturalist who sailed on the global scientific expedition of the HMS Challenger in 1872 through 1876....

, and Rudolf von Willemoes-Suhm
Rudolf von Willemoes-Suhm
Rudolf von Willemoes-Suhm was a German naturalist who served aboard the Challenger expedition.Willemoes-Suhm was born in Glückstadt, Schleswig-Holstein. After starting to study law at the University of Bonn, Willemoes-Suhm left Bonn to study zoology at Munich under Professor Karl von Siebold...

. The official expedition artist was John James Wild. As well as Nares and Maclear, others that were part of the naval crew included Pelham Aldrich
Pelham Aldrich
Pelham Aldrich CVO was a Royal Navy officer and explorer, who became Admiral Superintendent of Portsmouth Docks.-Biography:...

, Lord George Granville Campbell, and Andrew Francis Balfour (one of the sons of Scottish botanist John Hutton Balfour
John Hutton Balfour
John Hutton Balfour was a Scottish botanist. Balfour became a Professor of Botany, first at the University of Glasgow in 1841, moving to Edinburgh University and also becoming Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Her Majesty's Botanist in Scotland in 1845...

). Also among the officers was Thomas Henry Tizard
Thomas Henry Tizard
Thomas Henry Tizard C.B, F.R.S, R.N , was an English oceanographer, hydrographic surveyor, and navigator.He was born at Weymouth, Dorset and educated at the Royal Hospital School, Greenwich, at that time noted for its advanced mathematical training...

 who had already carried out important hydrographic observations on previous voyages. Though he was not among the civilian scientific staff, Tizard would later help write the official account of the expedition, and also become a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Challenger reached Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 in December 1874, at which point Nares and Aldrich left the ship to take part in the British Arctic Expedition
British Arctic Expedition
The British Arctic Expedition of 1875-1876, led by Sir George Strong Nares, was sent by the British Admiralty to attempt to reach the North Pole via Smith Sound. Two ships, HMS Alert and HMS Discovery , sailed from Portsmouth on 29 May 1875...

. The new captain was Frank Tourle Thomson. Second-in-command, and the most senior officer present throughout the entire expedition, was Commander John Maclear
John Maclear
John Fiot Lee Pearse Maclear was an Admiral in the Royal Navy, known for his leadership in hydrography....

. Willemoes-Suhm died and was buried at sea on the voyage to Tahiti. Lord Campbell and Balfour left the ship in Valparaiso, Chile, after being promoted.

The first leg of the expedition took the ship from Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

 (December 1872) south to Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 (January 1873) and then on to Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

. The next stops were Madeira
Madeira
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago that lies between and , just under 400 km north of Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean and an outermost region of the European Union...

 and the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

 (both February 1873). The period from February to July 1873 was spent crossing the Atlantic westwards from the Canary Islands to the Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

, then heading north to Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

, east to the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

, back to Madeira, and then south to the Cape Verde Islands. During this period, there was a detour in April and May 1873, sailing from Bermuda north to Halifax
City of Halifax
Halifax is a city in Canada, which was the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and shire town of Halifax County. It was the largest city in Atlantic Canada until it was amalgamated into Halifax Regional Municipality in 1996...

 and back, crossing the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

 twice with the reverse journey crossing further to the east.

After leaving the Cape Verde Islands in August 1873, the expedition sailed south-east at first and then headed west to reach St Paul's Rocks. From here, the route went south across the equator to Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, offshore from the Brazilian coast. The main island has an area of and had a population of 3,012 in the year 2010...

 during September 1873, and onwards that same month to Bahia
Salvador, Bahia
Salvador is the largest city on the northeast coast of Brazil and the capital of the Northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia. Salvador is also known as Brazil's capital of happiness due to its easygoing population and countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first...

 (now called Salvador) in Brazil. The period from September to October 1873 was spent crossing the Atlantic from Bahia to the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

, touching at Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is a remote volcanic group of islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying from the nearest land, South Africa, and from South America...

 on the way.

December 1873 to February 1874 was spent sailing on a roughly south-eastern track from the Cape of Good Hope to the parallel of 60 degrees south. The islands visited during this period were the Prince Edward Islands
Prince Edward Islands
The Prince Edward Islands are two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean that are part of South Africa. The islands, named Marion Island and Prince Edward Island, are located at ....

, the Crozet Islands
Crozet Islands
The Crozet Islands are a sub-antarctic archipelago of small islands in the southern Indian Ocean. They form one of the five administrative districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.-Geography:...

, the Kerguelen Islands
Kerguelen Islands
The Kerguelen Islands , also known as the Desolation Islands, are a group of islands in the southern Indian Ocean constituting the emerged part of the otherwise submerged Kerguelen Plateau. The islands, along with Adélie Land, the Crozet Islands and the Amsterdam and Saint Paul Islands are part of...

, and Heard Island. February 1874 was spent travelling south and then generally eastwards in the vicinity of the Antarctic Circle
Antarctic Circle
The Antarctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs south of the Equator.-Description:...

, with sightings of icebergs, pack ice and whales. The route then took the ship north-eastward and away from the ice regions in March 1874, with the expedition reaching Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

 in Australia later that month. The journey eastward along the coast from Melbourne to Sydney took place in April 1874, passing by Wilsons Promontory
Wilsons Promontory
Wilsons Promontory is a peninsula that forms the southernmost part of the Australian mainland and is located at . South Point at is the southernmost tip of Wilsons Promontory and hence of mainland Australia...

 and Cape Howe
Cape Howe
Cape Howe is a coastal headland in Australia, forming the south-eastern end of the Black-Allen Line, the border between New South Wales and Victoria.-History:...

.

When the voyage resumed in June 1874, the route went east from Sydney to Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

 in New Zealand, followed by a large loop north into the Pacific calling at Tonga
Tonga
Tonga, officially the Kingdom of Tonga , is a state and an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, comprising 176 islands scattered over of ocean in the South Pacific...

 and Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, and then back westward to Cape York
Cape York Peninsula
Cape York Peninsula is a large remote peninsula located in Far North Queensland at the tip of the state of Queensland, Australia, the largest unspoilt wilderness in northern Australia and one of the last remaining wilderness areas on Earth...

 in Australia by the end of August. The ship arrived in New Zealand in late June and left in early July. Before reaching Wellington (on New Zealand's North Island), brief stops were made at Port Hardy (on d'Urville Island
D'Urville Island, New Zealand
D'Urville Island is an island in the Marlborough Sounds along the northern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It was named after the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville. With an area of approximately , it is the eighth-largest island of New Zealand, and has around 52 permanent...

) and Queen Charlotte Sound
Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand
Queen Charlotte Sound is the easternmost of the main sounds of the Marlborough Sounds, in New Zealand's South Island. It is, like the other sounds, a drowned river valley , and like the majority of its neighbours it runs southwest to northeast before joining Cook Strait.The town of Picton, the...

 (on New Zealand's South Island) and Challenger passed through the Cook Strait
Cook Strait
Cook Strait is the strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It connects the Tasman Sea on the west with the South Pacific Ocean on the east....

 to reach Wellington. The route from Wellington to Tonga went along the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, and then north and east into the open Pacific, passing by the Kermadec Islands
Kermadec Islands
The Kermadec Islands are a subtropical island arc in the South Pacific Ocean northeast of New Zealand's North Island, and a similar distance southwest of Tonga...

 en route to Tongatabu, the main island of the Tonga archipelago (then known as the Friendly Islands). The waters around the Fijian islands, a short distance to the north-west of Tonga, were surveyed during late July and early August 1874. The ship's course was then set westward, reaching Raine Island
Raine Island
Raine Island is a vegetated coral cay that is 32 hectares in total area and is situated on the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef, approximately north north west of Cairns, Queensland, Australia, and about 120 km east-north-east of Cape Grenville, Cape York Peninsula...

 (on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef) at the end of August and thence arriving at Cape York, at the tip of Australia's Cape York Peninsula
Cape York Peninsula
Cape York Peninsula is a large remote peninsula located in Far North Queensland at the tip of the state of Queensland, Australia, the largest unspoilt wilderness in northern Australia and one of the last remaining wilderness areas on Earth...

.

Over the following three months (September to November 1874), the expedition visited several islands and island groups while sailing from Cape York to China and Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 (then a British colony). The first part of the route passed north and west over the Arafura Sea
Arafura Sea
The Arafura Sea lies west of the Pacific Ocean overlying the continental shelf between Australia and New Guinea.-Geography:The Arafura Sea is bordered by Torres Strait and through that the Coral Sea to the east, the Gulf of Carpentaria to the south, the Timor Sea to the west and the Banda and Ceram...

, with New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

 to the north-east and the Australian mainland to the south-west. The first islands visited were the Aru Islands
Aru Islands
The Aru Islands are a group of about ninety-five low-lying islands in the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia. They also form a regency of Indonesia.-Geography:...

, followed by the nearby Kai Islands
Kai Islands
The Kai Islands of Indonesia are in the south-eastern part of the Maluku Islands, in Maluku Province.-Geography:...

. The ship then crossed the Banda Sea
Banda Sea
The Banda Sea is a sea in the Maluku Islands of Indonesia, technically part of the Pacific Ocean but separated from it by hundreds of islands, as well as the Halmahera and Ceram Seas...

 touching at the Banda Islands
Banda Islands
The Banda Islands are a volcanic group of ten small volcanic islands in the Banda Sea, about south of Seram Island and about east of Java, and are part of the Indonesian province of Maluku. The main town and administrative centre is Bandanaira, located on the island of the same name. They rise...

, to reach Amboina (Ambon Island
Ambon Island
Ambon Island is part of the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The island has an area of , and is mountainous, well watered, and fertile. Ambon Island consists of 2 territories: The main city and seaport is Ambon , which is also the capital of Maluku province and Maluku Tengah Ambon Island is part of the...

) in October 1874, and then continuing to Ternate Island. All these islands are now part of modern-day Indonesia. From Ternate, the route went north-westward towards what is now the Philippines, passing east of Celebes (Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

) into the Celebes Sea
Celebes Sea
The Celebes Sea of the western Pacific Ocean is bordered on the north by the Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea and Mindanao Island of the Philippines, on the east by the Sangihe Islands chain, on the south by Sulawesi, and on the west by Kalimantan in Indonesia...

. The expedition called at Samboangan (Zamboanga
Zamboanga City
The City of Zamboanga : is a highly urbanized, independent and a chartered city located in Mindanao, Philippines....

) on Mindanao, and then Iloilo
Iloilo
Iloilo is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Iloilo occupies the southeast portion of Panay Island and is bordered by Antique Province to the west and Capiz Province and the Jintotolo Channel to the north. Just off Iloilo's southeast coast is Guimaras Province,...

 on the island of Panay, before navigating within the interior of the archipelago en route to the bay and harbour of Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 on the island of Luzon. The crossing north-westward from Manila to Hong Kong took place in November 1874.

After several weeks in Hong Kong, the expedition departed in early January 1875 to retrace their route south-east towards New Guinea. The first stop on this outward leg of the journey was Manila. From there, they continued on to Samboangan, but took a different route through the interior of the Philippines, this time touching at the island of Zebu (Cebu). From Samboangan the ship diverged from the inward route, this time passing south of Mindanao (in early February 1875). Challenger then headed east into the open sea, before turning to the south-east and making landfall at Humboldt Bay (now Yos Sudarso Bay) on the north coast of New Guinea. By March 1875, the expedition had reached the Admiralty Islands
Admiralty Islands
The Admiralty Islands are a group of eighteen islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, to the north of New Guinea in the south Pacific Ocean. These are also sometimes called the Manus Islands, after the largest island. These rainforest-covered islands form part of Manus Province, the smallest and...

 north-east of New Guinea. The final stage of the voyage on this side of the Pacific was a long journey across the open ocean to the north, passing mostly west of the Carolina Islands and the Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east...

, reaching port in Yokohama
Yokohama
is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the second largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo and most populous municipality of Japan. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu...

, Japan, in April 1875.

Challenger departed Japan in mid-June 1875, heading east across the Pacific to a point due north of the Sandwich Islands
Hawaiian Islands
The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and undersea seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles from the island of Hawaii in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll...

 (Hawaii), and then turning south, making landfall at the end of July at Honolulu
Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Hawaii. Honolulu is the southernmost major U.S. city. Although the name "Honolulu" refers to the urban area on the southeastern shore of the island of Oahu, the city and county government are consolidated as the City and...

 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu
Oahu
Oahu or Oahu , known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The state capital Honolulu is located on the southeast coast...

. A couple of weeks later, in mid-August, the ship departed south-eastward, anchoring at Hilo Bay
Hilo Bay
Hilo Bay is a large bay located on the eastern coast of the island of Hawaii.-Description:The modern town of Hilo, Hawaii overlooks Hilo Bay, located at ....

 off Hawaii's Big Island, before continuing to the south and reaching Tahiti
Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia, located in the archipelago of the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of French Polynesia. The island was formed from volcanic activity and is high and mountainous...

 in mid-September. The expedition left Tahiti in early October, swinging to the west and south of the Tubuai Islands and then heading to the south-east before turning east towards the South American coast. The route touched at the Juan Fernández Islands
Juan Fernández Islands
The Juan Fernández Islands are a sparsely inhabited island group reliant on tourism and fishing in the South Pacific Ocean, situated about off the coast of Chile, and is composed of three main volcanic islands; Robinson Crusoe Island, Alejandro Selkirk Island and Santa Clara Island, the first...

 in mid-November 1875, with Challenger reaching the port of Valparaiso
Valparaíso
Valparaíso is a city and commune of Chile, center of its third largest conurbation and one of the country's most important seaports and an increasing cultural center in the Southwest Pacific hemisphere. The city is the capital of the Valparaíso Province and the Valparaíso Region...

 in Chile a few days later. The next stage of the journey commenced the following month, with the route taking the ship south-westward back out into the Pacific, past the Juan Fernández Islands, before turning to the south-east and back towards South America, reaching Port Otway in the Gulf of Penas
Gulf of Penas
The Gulf of Penas is a body of water located south of Taitao Peninsula, Chile. It is open to the westerly storms of the Pacific Ocean, but it affords entrance to several natural harbours. Among these are the Gulfs of Tres Montes and San Esteban, and Tarn Bay at the entrance to Messier...

 on 31 December 1875.

Most of January 1876 was spent navigating around the southern tip of South America, surveying and touching at many of the bays and islands of the Patagonian archipelago, the Strait of Magellan
Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego...

, and Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The archipelago consists of a main island Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego divided between Chile and Argentina with an area of , and a group of smaller islands including Cape...

. Locations visited here include Hale Cove, Gray Harbour, Port Grappler, Tom Bay (all in the vicinity of Wellington Island
Wellington Island
Wellington Island is an island west of Southern Patagonian Ice Field, Chile. It has an area of 5,556 km² and most of the island forms part of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. It is home to the last Kawésqar people, living the village of Puerto Edén, the only inhabited place on the...

), Puerta Bueno (near Hanover Island
Hanover Island
Hanover Island is an island in the Patagonian Archipelago in Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile. Its area is 812 km².In popular fiction the island is featured in Jules Verne's book 'Two Years' Vacation'...

), Isthmus Bay (near the Queen Adelaide Archipelago
Queen Adelaide Archipelago
Queen Adelaide Archipelago is an island group in Zona Austral, the extreme south of Chile. It belongs to the Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region....

), and Port Churruca (near Santa Ines Island). The final stops, before heading out into the Atlantic, were Port Famine, Sandy Point, and Elizabeth Island. Challenger reached the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

 towards the end of January, calling at Port Stanley and then continuing northward, reaching Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 in Uruguay in mid-February 1876. The ship left Montevideo at the end of February, heading first due east and then due north, arriving at Ascension Island
Ascension Island
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, around from the coast of Africa and from the coast of South America, which is roughly midway between the horn of South America and Africa...

 at the end of March 1876. The period from early to mid-April was spent sailing from Ascension Island to the Cape Verde Islands (visited almost three years ago on the outward journey). From here, the route taken in late April and early May 1876 was a westward loop to the north out into the mid-Atlantic, eventually turning due east towards Europe to touch land at Vigo
Vigo
Vigo is a city and municipality in north-west Spain, in Galicia, situated on the ria of the same name on the Atlantic Ocean.-Population:...

 in Spain towards the end of May. The final stage of the voyage took the ship and its crew north-eastward from Vigo, skirting the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
The Bay of Biscay is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal, and is named in English after the province of Biscay, in the Spanish...

 to make landfall in England.

Challenger returned to Spithead
Spithead
Spithead is an area of the Solent and a roadstead off Gilkicker Point in Hampshire, England. It is protected from all winds, except those from the southeast...

, Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

, on 24 May 1876, having spent 713 days at sea out of the intervening 1,606. The complete set of reports of the Challenger Expedition, published in 50 volumes between 1877 and 1895, are available online.

Legacy


As the first true oceanographic cruise, the Challenger expedition laid the groundwork for an entire academic and research discipline.

The name of the Challenger was applied to such varied phenomena as the Challenger Deep
Challenger Deep
The Challenger Deep is the deepest known point in the oceans, with a depth of to by direct measurement from submersibles, and slightly more by sonar bathymetry . It is located at the southern end of the Mariana Trench near the Mariana Islands group...

, the Challenger Society for Marine Science
Challenger Society for Marine Science
The Challenger Society for Marine Science is a learned society established in 1903 in the United Kingdom around the interdisciplinary subject of marine science...

, and the Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, Columbia having been the first. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California...

.

External links


General

Primary reports, accounts, and letters

Secondary literature

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