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Air in the sinking ship/wreck

Discussion in 'Collision / Sinking Theories' started by PRR5406, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. PRR5406

    PRR5406 Member

    The Andrea Doria continued to release trapped air bubbles for days after it sank. Granted, the Doria lay in 275 feet od water, and not with the excruciating pressured of the abyss.
    It's been written that porcelein, bowls, and kitchen items may have fluttered to the sea bed for hours after the stern went under. I'm wondering how long bubbles of precious air trickle to the surface after "Titanic" embedded itself?
  2. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    I recall newspaper reports which said that passing steamers would find pieces from the Titanic wreck over the location where she sank and the pieces were floating up to the surface long after she sank, presumably when crates inside deteriorated and the contents inside floated up or were carried up with the sea currents. Not sure if they were authentic wreckage or just pieces of debris that was mistaken for or assumed to be from the Titanic. I still find pieces of cargo from ships that sank a century ago washing up on the beaches. When their decks collapse over time the old wooden crates inside break open and dissolve and the contents gradually wash ashore, especially after stormy conditions. Plenty of visitors with metal detectors.

  3. In the depth of Titanic there were no air bubbles left when she hit the bottom.
    Chris cameron likes this.
  4. PRR5406

    PRR5406 Member

    Oh, I don't know... Air might have been retained in mattress fabric, under furniture, in some recesses. Air bubbles in finished wood is a good example. When we talk about fluids, I don't think there are absolutes. Certainly pipes and ventilators, bottles and steel containers would have collapsed. Purging each and every recess, even under those tremendous pressures, would be difficult. As bubbles, no matter how small by compression, found their way to being unobstructed, they would float upward and expand. THAT BEING SAID- Yes, almost every structure, crevice, lung, bottle and jar aboard the ship had collapsed as the pressure increased on descent. Wreckage was thought to have floated up from the gutted ship on the ocean floor.
  5. We see what happened with air trapped in the stern. There was no air left. Also at some point there was no way for anything to come up to the surface again, the pressure was too great. A good example are the remains of these stairs. There was nothing attached to them it was only the wood which ended up in the debris field.

    Michael H. Standart likes this.
  6. PRR5406

    PRR5406 Member

    Any finished wood might have held air until it was forced out by water pressure. This would lead me to believe everything that would tear free from the ship, would have done so one the way to the bottom, or let go on impact, racing to the surface. The stern collapsed on the way to the bottom, no doubt.
    I think it could be said that air bubbles churned the ocean surface for probably an hour after the ship went down. Not violently, but in expanding pearls. Any containers holding air would have long imploded on the way down.
  7. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    The son of John Jacob Astor proposed a plan to blow up the Titanic wreck so that his father's body would float to the surface for collection and burial. There was also a report that the Titanic would never be found because the ship would be caught in the middle of the deep sea currents and would be picked up and dropped again to various positions with the currents. Doubt it could happen to a ship her size and weight, but it has been known that old sailing ships would rise to the surface and then sink down again and appear to some as a ghost ship or bad omen, although I think those wrecks were in moderately shallow waters. I recall reading that dead bodies do often refloat sometimes days later and this is usually how bodies are recovered. I think forensic books call them 'refloats'. After sinking to a certain depth they rise to the surface and I understand they can do this several times before they decompose to a point were they sink to the bottom. I believe this could account for the disappearance of the bodies when the Carpathia, Birma, and Californian were at the scene and their reappearance several days later as several hundred bodies were picked up by the Mackay-Bennett and other ships. Wonder if pieces of wreckage also sank to a certain depth and were carried up again by the currents before they came to finally rest on the bottom.

    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  8. Adult content and strong stomach warning!!!

    Wood floats because most species are lighter than water, but not all. Greenheart, for instance, weighs the same. Even so, other properties prevent it from being "ripped" out of a sinking ship by its own buoyancy. The tearing force of most species is above 10,000 lbs. per square foot. as is the breaking force. Wood properly fastened stays in place. Shipbuilders make a living installing stuff so it doesn't come adrift in a storm. Titanic's staircase went down with the ship.

    Some older members of the board know I have done some study of the storm of November, 1913, on the Great Lakes and detailed it in my book, "White Hurricane." I now have detailed underwater photos of ships that went down in waves 35 to 40 foot high, 90 mile per hour winds, and whiteout blizard condition. Even a century later wooden superstructures are in place as is the built-in furniture despite being at depths of 300 feet or more.

    The idea that wood ripped out of Titanic comes from a fanciful theory based on what happened to the movie set grand stairway when it was flooded. It broke up and floated upward. No surprise there. It was a movie set. The real grand staircase is gone because all exposed wood on the wreck is gone except some teak. It has been digested by bacteria and other living organisms.

    Don't ask me to explain the phenomenon, but experts have told me that air carried down 12,500 feet would have been compressed to the point it would have gone into solution with the water. There would have been no bubbles to come up. Any bubbling had to occur near the surface, or so I'm told.

    Bodies of people do sink in drownings. Then, if the water temperature is sufficiently high, they start to decompose which creates internal gas. Up they come. In summer around where I live it takes 3 to 5 days and the bodies resurface. (Grizzley job recovering "floaters.") Note that this rapid, gas-producing decay does not happen to bodies in morgues because they are kept under refrigeration. We keep meet refrigerated or frozen so it is safe to eat for an extended period of time. Now, the temperature of the water in April, 1912 was at or near freezing. Those bodies were relatively well preserved despite being at sea for days.

    Bodies carried down by the ship would have had the air squeezed out of them with depth. It's damn cold down there. Once the bodies achieved a specific gravity higher than water, they would never float. Instead, they would fall to the bottom with the ship and decompose over time from bacterial action like the wood mentioned above.

    Ugly topic, but reality is not always pretty.

    -- David G. Brown
  9. Parts of the grand staircase did float out of the ship but unlike the movie and some claims it did not floated out of the dome but in parts aft thought the break area (the Mackay-Bennett and Minia recovered different pieces from the grand staircase as well as from other rooms and several ships saw other pieces and furniture floating at sea).
  10. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Here is a passage (rather morbid) from a forensic analysis book- 'Water Related Death Investigation'.


  11. PRR5406

    PRR5406 Member

    The discussion has gotten very real and very interesting. Both Aaron and David, seem to have a pretty good handle on the human remains aboard the ship.
    I am going to assume that bubbling from the ship itself, concluded within the first eight minutes. Bubbles from smaller items may have continued as they "fluttered" to the seabed in the following hour, but probably sooner than that.
    Thanks to everyone contributing to a serious, intelligent, discussion.
    sir john adams likes this.
  12. I've been re reading the inquiry and I've seen the infamous answer from the person on E-deck saying how dry it was. And I confess to watching the 2012 new sinking theory. My question is how could the water level be so low inside a ship that had been flooding for nearly two hours. ?
  13. Chris cameron

    Chris cameron Member

    Were on E deck were they speaking of?
  14. If I remember correctly either mid of forward E-deck
  15. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Charles Joughin? His cabin was on E-deck beside the main engines where the ship broke in two. The water allegedly travelled all the way aft and poured inside his room. The downward tilt was so slight that he believed the port list was far more noticeable as the water came to rest on the port side of his cabin. When he left his cabin for the final time he noticed the corridor was dry and he saw two men trying to close the watertight door outside his room. It is unknown if they were successful. He was puzzled where the water actually came from as he said: "My idea was she had shipped some water forward, or a quantity of ice that had melted and had run down; but I did not give it a second thought, because it was not serious." Possibly there was an open porthole in another room which was allowing water to enter, or maybe even the ship was starting to buckle open and water was slowly creeping into the rooms where she would soon break in two.


    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  16. How could the corridor be so dry when he left his cabin 1:40-50ish
  17. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    The sea would have poured down all available stairs, vents, pipes and flooded the lower floors first. Even if water entered the boat deck it would still have to travel down the decks and flood the rooms on the lowest floors first. Quite possibly the water was rising underneath Joughin's feet and the men outside were desperately trying to close the watertight door outside because the water was rising up from the floors below them. Then again, it may have come from open portholes on E-deck further aft. He was asked: Q - On E-deck are the portholes in practice opened from time to time? A - Very, very often we keep them open the whole of the passage." It is quite possible that water was flooding the ship's aft section and the watertight doors on his deck were ordered to be sealed - not to stop the water forward, but instead, to stop the water that was aft and pouring down into his room. The weight of water and the list to port with a very slight elevation of the stern may have been enough to buckle open the plates and break the ship.

  18. Is water pouring into the ship via port holes mentioned by any other survivors?
  19. Aaron_2016

    Aaron_2016 Member

    Emily Ryerson was asked:

    Q - When you went down into the water, from the boat, did you notice anything about the portholes in the side of the ship?
    A - Yes, a great many were open.

    Q - Did you notice anything in particular about the portholes on the water?
    A - Yes, the water was washing in the portholes, and later I think some of the square windows seemed to be open, and you could see in the cabin and see the water washing in and the gold furniture and decorations, and I remember noticing you could look far in, it was brilliantly lighted - which deck I couldn’t tell.

    Q - Did you notice any of the lines of portholes disappear after you got in the boat?
    A - Yes, she was sinking very rapidly then, we saw two lines and then we saw only one; it was very brilliantly lighted and you could see very distinctly.

    Q - And the portholes you say were open, do you recollect what deck they were on?
    A - I should say they were on the B and C decks and the C ones were gradually covered - there were a great many open, I don’t know how many.

    Q - Do you recall seeing any below the C deck?
    A - No, our boat was down on that level when we were lowered, practically even with the C deck; the ship had sunk so much on that side.

    Q - At the time your boat was lowered the water was washing in the portholes of the C deck?
    A - Yes.

    Q - On that side?
    A - On the side she sank, that is the port side.

    4th officer Boxhall described how difficult it was to row up the port side and around the stern as there was suction. Presumably from open portholes. The Titanic was a new ship and her cabins, corridors, and public rooms had just been freshly painted and varnished. The smell must have been terrific. Mr. Stengel spoke to a fellow passenger who said the ice fell into his cabin. Mr. Stengel told the US Inquiry - "He just wanted air. He said, "I left my port hole open for air." Can't blame him really. Not easy to sleep in a freshly painted room with freshly varnished furniture.

    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  20. Scott Mills

    Scott Mills Member

    My understanding is that air can survive in very small pockets at that depth given two factors, the amount of air involved and the strength of what contains it--for example we know that there was a corked bottle of Champagne found in the debris fields.

    As to things floating up after the wreck, certainly this did happen. However, a lot of wood was bolted down and the buoyancy of wood is not universal. Not only are some dense woods not buoyant at all, but if you really think about it... if it were a simple matter of "wood is buoyant so it should all float up," one would need to question how any wooden vessel ever created foundered. :)

    My recollection regarding human bodies is that, at a certain depth, the pressure and desnity of the water is too difficult to overcome with just the gasses created via decomposition. In fact, I just read this recently... I cannot remember where though... I also think the Thermal Layer plays some role in this.