The SS Mount Temple Project ©

Dinosaurs in the Deep ©

Our Plans

There have been some suggestions of trying to relocate SS Mount Temple and salvage some of the fossils if present. This challenge might not be as impossible as it first seems. The logbook from SMS Moewe gives the latitude and longitude coordinates for her place of sinking to the nearest mile, a good starting point. For merchant ships of the time, she was large at 8,790 gross tons and built of steel, so should be locatable by magnetometer or side scan sonar.
The great depth of Mount Temple, 4,375 meters (14,440 feet), is not beyond the reach of current deep dive technologies. Other large ships lost in deep water have been relocated and extensively studied or salvaged. Some of these are: the passenger liner RMS Titanic; lost April 14-15, 1912, during her maiden voyage, lies at a depth of 3,800 meters (12,460 feet), the German battleship Bismarck, sunk May 27, 1941 is at 4,790 meters (15,700 feet), the American World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV 5), sunk June 4, 1942, is at 5,070 meters (16,640 feet) and the British battleship HMS Hood, sunk May 24, 1941, lies at 2,800 meters (9,180 feet).
Relocation of Mount Temple, filming her and possible salvaging of fossils is a technological possibility; it is simply a matter of manpower and money. Doing so and similarly visiting the wreck of the ship that sank her, Moewe, would make for an even more fascinating story. A television documentary bringing the ships and their intriguing stories together again would be another consideration. In the meantime, this web site (, lectures and a book on the sinking of Mount Temple and related histories are currently active and ongoing projects.
Moewe survived World War I and, renamed Oldenburg was sunk by Allied aircraft late in World War II. As part of the research into the sinking of the SS Mount Temple, an expedition to dive and explore the D/S Oldenburg is planned for January 2005. Winter is the best time to dive because colder waters have less suspended algae and silt to disrupt underwater viewing conditions. Besides diving, local history research will also be conducted. It is hoped we can interview witnesses to the attack as well as combatants. Plans to create a one-hour educational documentary are underway.

Who We Are

Darren Tanke, Project Director and Principal Researcher

Darren Tanke is a technician in the Dinosaur Research Program at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. He was aware of the Mount Temple sinking incident as a boy and early in his palaeontological career. In the summer of 2001, he gave a talk on relocating, recognizing and identifying old (50-90 years old) dinosaur quarries in Alberta. In the audience were two Norwegian palaeontology students. A few days later, those same students rediscovered a long lost quarry in Dinosaur Provincial Park. From this quarry came one of the duck-billed dinosaurs sunk on Mount Temple in 1916. Their discovery and the subsequent research has resulted in the in-depth research project underway today.

Darren has over 24 years professional field and laboratory fossil preparation experience, with foreign fieldwork assignments taking him to Argentina, Australia, France and the United States. He recently was senior editor on the book: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life: New Research Inspired by the Paleontology of Philip J. Currie. This was a secret 7-year project. The resulting book was presented to his mentor, supervisor and friend Dr. Philip J. Currie in the summer of 2001 on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as a vertebrate paleontologist in Alberta. Darren spends his days preparing fossils and doing field work at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and spends his evenings and weekends pouring over archieval material related to the Dinosaurs in the Deep.

Darren Tanke and Rob Rondeau.
Darren Tanke and Rob Rondeau, pictured as they complete a presentation on the D/S Oldenburg Expedition at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta.

Robin M. Rondeau, Oldenburg Expedition Dive Team Leader

Rob is one of the foremost shipwreck explorers in Canada. He has dived on numerous wrecks both in Canada and around the world and has lead the search for a fortune of gold bullion aboard a Japanese freighter lost at the end of World War II in the Indian Ocean. He's a certified Marine Recovery Specialist in the State of Florida and has been involved in the recovery of several Spanish Colonial shipwrecks there. A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, holding a degree (BA) in Archaeology, Rob is also a PADI Master Diving Scuba Instructor with over 17 years experience. He is presently preparing and expedition to the Empress of Ireland for the summer of 2004 in conjunction with the 90th anniversary of it's sinking. The Empress of Ireland was Canada's worst maritime disaster and the third worst shipping catastrophe in the world, after Titanic and the Lusitania. More than 1,000 passengers died when the liner sank to the bottom of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.

Darren Tanke and PJ Enright.
Darren Tanke and PJ Enright, standing in quarry #18. The dinosaur fossils collected from this quarry are now on the ocean floor having been shipped on the Mount Temple by Charles Sternberg in 1916. The quarry is in what is now Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta.

PJ Enright, Principal Investigator and Historian

A retired Physicist with way too much time on his hands. He is developing a web site detailing the exploits of SMS Moewe during World War I. The common interest with the SS Mount Temple Project is obvious. The Moewe web site is an ongoing project with a book to follow. PJ has worked summers in Dinosaur Provincial Park as a part of the Royal Tyrrell Museum Field Experience Program since 1995. In the first summer he relocated a lost dinosaur quarry and has done research on the relocation project since then.

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Dinosaurs in the deep.
Last Revision: April 4, 2004.
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This web site launched January 2, 2003