It’s been 107 years since the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship sank during its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912.
The wreckage wasn’t discovered until National Geographic explorer Bob Ballard helped locate it in 1985. Recently, a team from Triton Submarines set up a human-occupied submersible dive to examine the wreckage. It’s the first time in 14 years that humans have visited the historic site. They discovered that the deep sea conditions are taking their toll on the iconic vessel.
Metal-eating bacteria, salt corrosion, and deep ocean currents are behind the disintegration of the wreckage.
Crews found “sweeping eddies and … ever-changing sea currents” are greatly impacting the ship. “The most fascinating aspect was seeing how the Titanic is being consumed by the ocean and returning to its elemental form while providing refuge for a remarkably diverse number of animals,” Triton Submarines’ president Patrick Lahey explained in a statement.
Key parts of the ship have now been lost to time, including the ornate grand staterooms and the captain’s bathtub. Many items were salvaged from the ship and sold at auctions worldwide, including fine china and passengers’ personal items. Those items aside, the wreckage itself is all that remains of the incredible ship more than 100 years later.
The scientists who participated in the dive plan to publish their findings alongside a documentary being developed by Atlantic Productions London. The crew also left a wreath and held a ceremony in honor of the more than 1,500 people who lost their lives on that fateful day.
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