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Wreck of the titanic

The meaning of «wreck of the titanic»

The wreck of the RMS Titanic lies at a depth of about 12,500 feet (3.8 km; 2.37 mi), about 370 miles (600 km) south-southeast off the coast of Newfoundland. It lies in two main pieces about a third of a mile (600 m) apart. The bow is still recognisable with many preserved interiors, despite deterioration and damage sustained hitting the sea floor. In contrast, the stern is completely ruined. A debris field around the wreck contains hundreds of thousands of items spilled from the ship as she sank. The bodies of the passengers and crew would have also been distributed across the sea bed, but have been consumed by other organisms.

Titanic sank in 1912, when she collided with an iceberg during her maiden voyage. Numerous expeditions tried using sonar to map the sea bed in the hope of finding it, but were unsuccessful. In 1985, the wreck was finally located by a joint French–American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The wreck has been the focus of intense interest and has been visited by numerous expeditions. Controversial salvage operations have recovered thousands of items, which have been conserved and put on public display.

Many schemes have been proposed to raise Titanic, including filling the wreck with ping-pong balls, injecting it with 180,000 tons of Vaseline, or using half a million tons of liquid nitrogen to encase it in an iceberg that would float to the surface. However, the wreck is too fragile to be raised and is now protected by a UNESCO convention.

Almost immediately after Titanic sank on 15 April 1912, proposals were advanced to salvage her from her resting place in the North Atlantic Ocean, despite her exact location and condition being unknown. The families of several wealthy victims of the disaster – the Guggenheims, Astors, and Wideners – formed a consortium and contracted the Merritt and Chapman Derrick and Wrecking Company to raise Titanic.[1] The project was soon abandoned as impractical as the divers could not even reach a significant fraction of the necessary depth, where the pressure is over 6,000 pounds per square inch (410 bar). The lack of submarine technology at the time as well as the outbreak of World War I also put off such a project.[2] The company considered dropping dynamite on the wreck to dislodge bodies which would float to the surface, but finally gave up after oceanographers suggested that the extreme pressure would have compressed the bodies into gelatinous lumps.[3] In fact, this was incorrect. Whale falls, a phenomenon not discovered until 1987—coincidentally, by the same submersible used for the first manned expedition to Titanic the year before[4]—demonstrate that water-filled corpses, in this case cetaceans, can sink to the bottom essentially intact.[5] The high pressure and low temperature of the water would have prevented significant quantities of gas forming during decomposition, preventing the bodies of Titanic victims from rising back to the surface.[6]

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