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article imageEntire RMS Titanic wreck mapped for the first time

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 8, 2012 in World
Explorers say they the have put together a detailed map of the entire Titanic debris. They say the new map provides new clues about what happened after the liner hit an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic about a hundred years ago.
The team of explorers, according to AP, used sonar imaging and more than 100,000 photos taken by underwater robots to create the map that shows where pieces of the legendary liner landed after it sank during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in April 1912.
Parks Stephenson, a Titanic historian, who consulted on the 2010 expedition, says while some basic facts about the wreck have been established (such as where its bow and stern landed), previous maps of the floor around the wreckage were incomplete and thus the picture of the entire wreck only sketchy. He said: “With the [new] sonar map, it’s like suddenly the entire room lit up and you can go from room to room with a magnifying glass and document it. Nothing like this has ever been done for the Titanic site.”
AP reports that an expedition led by RMS Titanic Inc., legal custodian of the wreck; Woods and Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Mass., and the Waitt Institute of La Jolla, California, carried out mapping of the entire wreck in the summer of 2010. Other groups, including the cable History channel, joined the expedition.
Details of the new findings will be revealed in a cable History channel two-hour documentary to be aired on April 15, marking the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the ship.
According to Paul-Henry Nargeolet, of RMS Titanic inc., and co-leader of the expedition, two torpedo-shaped self-controlled robots known as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), moving at about 4.8 kilometers per hour, explored the bottom of the North Atlantic ocean site of the wreck, surveying it with side-scan sonar. The AUVs took about 13,000 high-resolution photo of a 3.2-by-4.8-kilometer area where most of the debris landed. The photos were then pieced together to form a detailed mosaic of the debris.
The site of the wreck was discovered in 1985. The first mapping established the site of the bow and stern. The 2010 mapping was the first time the entire wreckage has been systematically mapped. AP reports that Charlie Pellegrino, a Titanic expert who was involved in previous expeditions, said: “This is quite a significant map. It’s quite a significant advance in the technology and the way it’s done.”
Some of the parts of the wreckage included in the new map, according to AP, are the remains of the deckhouse, a large part of the side of the ship about 60 feet long weighing more than 40 tons, chunks of the ship's bottom, a hatch cover that fell off the bow section as the vessel crashed to the bottom, the ship's boiler, and lightning rod from a mast.
Bow of the Titanic in the North Atlantic.
Bow of the Titanic in the North Atlantic.
RMS Titanic Inc.
The new map helps to answer many questions about what happened during the sinking of the vessel, such as how it broke apart, how it went down and whether there were faults with the design of the ship that was claimed unsinkable before its maiden voyage. According to AP, the layout of the wreck site and where the pieces landed will help in building computer simulations re-enacting the sinking in reverse motion. For instance, marks on the ocean floor to the west of the wreckage and the fact that most of the debris is found to the east give evidence that the stern rotated as the vessel hit the bottom.
The information is being used to put together a new documentary on History channel on the sinking of the Titanic. Dirk Hoogstra, senior vice president of History, who declined to give details of the latest reconstruction of the sinking, said: “We’ve got this vision of the entire wreck that no one has ever seen before. Because we have, we’re going to be able to reconstruct exactly how the wreck happened. It’s groundbreaking, jaw-dropping stuff.”
The Titanic
RMS Titanic was a passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April, 1912, after it collided with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. The sinking of the ship caused the deaths of 1,517 people and is one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history. Titanic was one of the three Olympic class ocean liners the White Star Line operated, and the largest ship afloat at the time of her maiden voyage.
Titanic left Southampton on 10 April 1912, called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown in Ireland before it headed westwards over the North Atlantic towards New York. On 14 April 1912, four days into the crossing, about 375 miles south of Newfoundland, the ship hit an iceberg at 11:40 p.m., perforating a number of locations on its sideboard and opening up five of her sixteen watertight compartments. Titanic sank over the next two and half hours as it rapidly filled with water. The ship went down with over a thousand people still on board, after evacuation of some of the passengers, mostly women and children.
More about rms titanic, mapped, titanic debris, north Atlantic ocean, Titanic
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