Thursday, 9 June 2011

Titanic Stories


New Titanic Pictures
Mark 25th Anniversary 
Of Discovery

Titanic Bows to Nature
Photograph courtesy Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In a new picture released Wednesday—the 25th anniversary of the rediscovery of the R.M.S. Titanic—rust "icicles" plague bow railings and anchor equipment on the 2.4-mile-deep (3.8-kilometer-deep) shipwreck.


This and other images of Titanic in late August are among the first results of the ongoing Expedition Titanic. Its goals: to use acoustic imaging, sonar, and 3-D video to virtually preserve Titanic in its current state and to help determine just how far gone the shipwreck is and how long it might last. (Read "Titanic Is Falling Apart.")

Due to recent hurricane activity, the expedition crew is currently docked in St. John's, Newfoundland (map), some 350 miles (560 kilometers) from Titanic's North Atlantic resting place—but the team is eager to get back to work.

"What we have witnessed, so far, has been nothing but extraordinary," Chris Davino, CEO of Premier Exhibitions, Inc., said in a press statement. "We are anxious to return to the site and continue this groundbreaking expedition," added Davino, whose company's RMS Titanic, Inc., division organized the expedition with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
— With reporting by Brian Handwerk

Well Deck, Ill Preserved
Photograph courtesy Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

"Rusticles" coat a wall on Titanic's forward well deck, once an exercise area for third-class passengers, in a picture taken late August by an Expedition Titanic submersible.

A National Geographic Society-funded team led by ocean explorer Robert Ballard rediscovered the shipwreck in 1985. (The Society owns National Geographic News.)

Pictures taken since then show a wreck beset by metal-eating life-forms, powerful currents, and possibly even human negligence, suggesting Titanic could be vanishing for good, scientists say.

Already explorers have documented caved-in roofs, weakening decks, a stern perhaps on the edge of collapse, and the disappearance of Titanic's crow's nest—from which lookout Frederick Fleet spotted history's most infamous iceberg. (Watch an animation of Titanic's iceberg collision, breakup, and sinking.)

Kingly Perch, Perfectly Sharp
Photograph courtesy Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

In what Expedition Titanic is calling the clearest picture yet of Titanic's bow, the ocean liner's cargo crane—and yet more rusticles—make an appearance.

Rusticles form as microbes eat away at Titanic and form self-contained, icicle-like biological communities.

By 1996 there were some 650 tons (dry weight) of rusticles on the outside of Titanic's bow section alone (picture), according to estimates by microbiologist Roy Cullimore, a microbiologist and veteran Titanic explorer. Since then rusticles have continued to grow both inside and outside the wreck.


Window on Titanic Decay
Photograph courtesy Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Illuminated in late August by one of Expedition Titanic's two remotely operated vehicles, a porthole is visible on the starboard side of Titanic's rusted bow.

"Everyone has their own opinion" as to how long Titanic will remain more or less intact, research specialist Bill Lange, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told National Geographic News.

"Some people think the bow will collapse in a year or two," Lange said. "But others say it's going to be there for hundreds of years."

So far the expedition's pictures show that the two major sections of Titanic's hull—the ship split in two before sinking—are whole. Expedition Titanic's data should help experts predict how long the wreck will remain relatively stable.

"We're trying to bring the actual hard data to the people who can make those determinations," Lange said. 

Strolling Into Oblivion
Photograph courtesy Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Where first-class passengers once strolled while shielded from the elements, rust overtakes openings in a promenade-deck wall, as seen in late August.

Built in Belfast, U.K., the 883-foot-long (270-meter-long) luxury liner was the world's largest passenger ship when it launched in 1912. On its maiden voyage, Titanic hit an iceberg and sank, killing more than 1,500 people.

To Robert Ballard, who found Titanic 25 years ago Wednesday, the shipwreck site should remain undisturbed as a "sacred grave."

Instead, salvagers, tourists, and filmmakers have "turned her into a freak show at the county fair," he's said. (Read more in an excerpt of Ballard's National Geographic magazine article "Why Is Titanic Vanishing?")

Titanic Unbound
Photograph courtesy Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Pictured twisted and broken in late August, railings outline the port rear corner of Titanic's forecastle deck, a raised surface at the bow with crew quarters underneath.

The next leg of Expedition Titanic will retrieve hard evidence of corrosion—steel test platforms that look something like mini-stepladders. First deployed in 1998, the platforms have endured the same destructive conditions as Titanic itself.

Because the scientists know precisely how thick the platforms were at deployment, they allow researchers to gauge exactly how fast metal degrades at the Titanic site. "Basically we look and see how much steel is left on them," Cullimore, the microbiologist, said.

The estimated rate of decay should allow scientists to better predict just how long Titanic will remain fairly intact.

Titanic Mast, Unmoored
Photograph courtesy Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Titanic's forward mast—whose base is shown at center and leaning toward the upper left in late August—toppled backward long ago and now rests on the ship's bridge.

Rusticles may infest the interior of the mast, which might completely collapse in the next year or two, speculated Cullimore, founder of Regina, Canada-based Droycon Bioconcepts, Inc., a biotechnology company.

Already the foremast is a symbol of Titanic's inevitable decline.
On an early 1990s dive, P.H. Nargeolet, co-leader of Expedition Titanic, saw that the crow's nest—previously seen still attached to the forward mast—had disappeared altogether, apparently damaged to the point where it snapped off and fell to an as yet unidentified location (interactive Titanic wreck diagram).

Titanic's Long "Shadow"
Image courtesy Premier Exhibitions, Inc. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Titanic's bow stands in stark relief against the North Atlantic seafloor in a sonar image made by back-and-forth surveys of the site by Expedition Titanic in late August.

"The technology we have available to us on this mission is producing amazing results," expedition co-leader David Gallo said in a press statement.

Among those results is a wider-scale sonar map of the wreck site—the first to show both the bow and stern, which lie a third of a mile (half a kilometer) apart (Titanic wreck-site map).

"We're going to use these kinds of tools to give us a bird's-eye view to plan future missions," Gallo, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told MSNBC.

Original Pictures : National Geographic.com

3 comments:

  1. It is a fantastic post i just love it and i am very thankful to you for sharing this sinking Titanic's pictures and it is very beautiful pictures and it is a great discovery and it is the base of the great Titanic movie.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well these are really cool pictures of the great Titanic.I appreciate the discovery team who work hard for this great search and many congrats to Mark for 25th Anniversary
    Of Discovery.

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    ReplyDelete
  3. These all are very nice pictures and i really love it and it is the great discovery and it the base of the great titanic movie and now it going to complete it 27 years.

    ReplyDelete

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