Collision Point a Reappraisal of Where Titanic Struck the Iceberg


Feb 7, 2005
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I'd like to let everyone know that a new article by Sam Halpern entitled, "Collision Point," is now available on the GLTS web site.

We have known with certainty the location of Titanic's wreck site since 1985, but where exactly did Titanic encounter the iceberg that sent her to the bottom? In this new article Sam explains how he would arrive at Titanic's collision point, and how his analysis and conclusions differ from those presented by the MAIB in 1992 when they took a new look into the Californian affair. You can read Sam's article here:

http://www.glts.org/articles/halpern/collision_point.html

While you're visiting the GLTS site, please take a look at another excellent article by Sam entitled, "Titanic's Masthead Light." How bright was Titanic's masthead light? Read Sam's article and you'll have a much better understanding just how far her light could be seen on a clear night at sea:

http://www.glts.org/articles/halpern/masthead_light.html

Many thanks to Sam for contributing these two excellent articles to our web site!

Denise
http://www.glts.org/
 
Mar 22, 2003
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You find it preposterous only because you continue to believe, or have us believe, that the collision happened at the Boxhall SOS location and the ship then carried in an almost neutral buoyancy state by underwater currents for 13 miles east, then broke in half with the two major pieces separated from each other by an undersea earthquake.

Yes it would be interesting to find a professional mariner that would conclude as you do.
 
Mar 7, 2006
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Quote:

Yes it would be interesting to find a professional mariner that would conclude as you do.

Endquote.

Why would a professional Mariner have any knowledge of say Plate Tectonics, Earthquake theory, Mid-Atlantic Ridge movements and so on.

The answer is they wouldn't. They are quite different areas of knowledge and study.

Unless one can get an expert - let us call them - as the phrase is in fashion here -

A professional Seismologist, experienced in seafloor movements and earthquake seafloor interactions

to a agree.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Adding a naval architect to the mix...to deal with the hull's breakup of course...would also be a nice touch.

Such people have already dealt with the sinking part in tank tests, all of which have shown how the bow section behaved as it decended through the water column. All else aside, the location of the boilers in the debris field absolutely refutes the idea that anything would have drifted for 13 miles. These things were flooded solid and would have plummeted straight down after the midsection of the hull disintigrated.

>>Why would a professional Mariner have any knowledge of say Plate Tectonics, Earthquake theory, Mid-Atlantic Ridge movements and so on.<<

An excellant point. Expertise in one or two fields does not carry over into others.
 

Steven Hall

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Dec 17, 2008
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It's interesting how far the boilers sank into the sea-floor from the impact. They must have fell straight down like rocks.
Looking around the boilers, they don't appear to have moved an inch since they impacted with the bottom.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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...not to mention that water carafe seen on a washstand inside the wreck during "Ghosts of the Abyss". How that didn't become dislodged during the capsizing and subsequent earthquake, I don't know. Sheesh, these pesky underwater dynamics eh.

Paul

 
Jan 11, 2006
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Samuel Halpern: Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2007 - 10:19 pm:
quote:

Yes it would be interesting to find a professional mariner that would conclude as you do.
Before publishing my book:The Sinking of The Titanic: an Ice Pilot’s Perspective, I found many professional mariners , who concluded as I did. Some are listed in the acknowledgments.

Your article may be impressive to non mariners inexperienced in ship handling and ice navigation. It is, however, just a fantastic account based on the fantasy that Titanic collided with iceberg, an impossible scenario under the circumstances presented by the evidence, nautical knowledge, and history.
quote:

The collision sequence, derived by taking into account the known turning characteristics of the ship and its speed of approach, is shown in the animation sequence below...As seen in the animation above, the Titanic was turning to starboard soon after striking the berg under port helm. The ship also started to slow as the engines came to a stop and then were backed for a short time to take the way off the ship.
Your depictions are not Marine Simulations. It is just animation sequence which defies the nautical evidence and hydrodynamics of ships’ behavior underway, especially with ice contact.(analogous to” the cow jumping over the moon").
quote:

Somewhere during the starboard turn the helm was steadied up. If a specific direction was not ordered, the helmsman, Robert Hichens, would have probably steadied the ship’s head onto one of the points on the compass which was directly in front of him.
ON A BRITISH OCEAN LINER IN 1912? An armchair assumption ,which can only draw derisive comments from professional mariners.​
 
Jan 11, 2006
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Michael Standart: Posted on Monday, July 30, 2007 - 3:55 pm:

quote:

Adding a naval architect to the mix...to deal with the hull's breakup of course...would also be a nice touch.

Before publishing my book, I did just that!
Why don't you peruse the evidence of Naval Architect Edward Wilding and the report of Naval Architects C. Hackett and J. G. Bedford?​
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hello Captain Collins,

From what I quickly read, and relay here (hopefully without too many serious errors), the November 18 1929 Laurentian Slope Earthquake and South Shore Disaster measured 7.2 on the Richter Scale - Burin Peninsula to the north was hit hard 2 1/2 hours after the quake with 3 pulses of water reaching from 2 to 7 meters with a maximum perhaps 3 times that in some of the narrower bays. Approximately twenty seven people lost their lives. The quake could be felt in New York and a tsunami was recorded along the East Coast as far south as South Carolina and across the Atlantic in Portugal. The Canadian coast sustained damage along 48 km of shoreline. There was a displacement of approximately 200 cubic km of material in the Laurentian Slope and 12 or 13 transatlantic cables were parted (though none by 13 miles..). It has been estimated that the speed attained by suspended underwater sediment was reduced to 14 mph when and where the last cable broke, about 295 miles downslope (south) from the shelf. The time of the breaks is known - 8 nearest the epicenter broke suddenly and the rest at a slowing rate. The epicenter of the quake was at 44° 69' N 56° 00' W - a distance of 687.1242 nm from where the bow section is now (and was before then). The wreck speaks for itself it many ways; one might not expect such a localized break but perhaps a more widespread disturbance from a quake related incident. And the dispersion of the lighter items, such as the teacup on the boiler, does not suggest quake activity to me. Many have mentioned several points about the boilers - what do you say? How did they get where they are? Does this wrecksite appear disturbed to you since 1912 and if so, how?

I would think a 14 mph sediment laden turbidity current can be very, very powerful indeed, but is there evidence of turbidite deposits or Bouma Sequences in the region where the wreck itself rests? Is this location "protected" or hidden by geological features as is often said? It has been stated the 1929 earthquake/slope collapse triggered a turbidity current spreading the finer deposits as far as 500 miles away from the toe of the landslide over a vast area of the Atlantic in excess of 100,000 miles. The walls of the Laurentian Fan were scoured by the turbidity current, and suggest a height of about 300 meters or more. This wave of mud, sand and pebble size material was actually started by slope failure and not the quake itself.
What could a 14 mph turbidity current do to the Titanic (assuming an unbroken liner etc.. neutral buoyancy etc.. 13 miles drift. and resting upright I assume....etc..) with her displacement of approximately 52,310 tons along with the 117,239,444 pounds of water filling her? How might this be calculated? What kind of forces would be exerted? Does the wreck site and its location/dispersion support any of this? If I read correctly this shock/quake wave would have hit the last cable some 13 hours and 17 minutes after the actual quake. It seems the turbidity current lasted for between 4 and 11 hours. Could a sustained 14 mph turbidity current break Titanic in roughly two and deposit those sections a half mile apart - both upright - while leaving the both lighter and heavier items relatively close by? If there were a steadily slowing current flowing for many hours from the epicenter (a known point), would this not result in the lighter objects coming to rest (lightest = furthest) in a recognizable dispersal pattern away from the source of the quake? I am getting way out "of my depth", so please excuse any errors - logical or factual. I'd guess that if Titanic were hit by this current the result would be much less Titanic spread out over way more area. The most relevant connection I currently see between the Titanic and this seismographic event is that the Olympic was in the area at the time and shook for 2 minutes.

Can you give us a "simple" explanation of your scenario/position for those trying to understand it? I posted this once before and post it again in the hope you might respond. Again, pardon what must be several errors, but no one seems to discussing your theory and I'd like to see your explanation of it.

Best,
Eric Longo
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Why don't you peruse the evidence of Naval Architect Edward Wilding and the report of Naval Architects C. Hackett and J. G. Bedford?<<

I have. None of them support your base premise and none of them even speak to earthquakes moving the wreck. Further, drop tank tests carried out completely refute any notion that the wreck sank in the manner you described.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Perusing their information from the perspective of a professional mariner I beg to differ!<<

Beg to differ all you want, I've read their material and they don't. Asserting otherwise won't make it so.

Bedford and Hackett for example don't address plate tectonics and what they discuss doesn't speak to pack ice. It deals with the damage caused by an iceberg.

Ditto for Wilding to whom the question of interaction with a iceberg was a given.
 
Jan 11, 2006
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quote:

...no one seems to discussing your theory and I'd like to see your explanation of it.

The explanation in my book was gleaned from consultation with Naval Architects,Oceanographer, hydrographer,experience mariners and Dupont, Frederic, Hannah, Charles and Wright. Daniel, 2006: "Model investigation of the Slope Water, north of the Gulf Stream". Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, L05604., doi: 10.1029/2005GL025321, 2006.​
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi Captain Collins,


Thanks for responding. Well, starting with GRL and AGU I called, from my armchair, many places; Geosciences and Naval Offices, Marine Seismology Organizations and Marine Observatories etc. up and down the coast, and spoke with several people too. When describing your theory, I was met with laughter and what amounted to "well, THAT sounds pretty unlikely!" It was also suggested that, were such a scenario true, there would be very little Titanic left to see. No one was wiling to go on record so to speak as they were all unfamiliar with your book, although I was told that GRL is not responsible nor involved with how people interpret what they publish. Will you please explain your theory a little so it might be better understood by those here trying to grasp it rather than just listing the papers you cite in your book?

Best,
Eric
 

Jim Currie

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Hi there!

I am a professional Master Mariner among other things with over 55 years experience and have probably squeezed more salt water out of my socks than most herein have sailed over. Given that: I have carefully read Sam's articles and find them very well constructed,feasible and in most cases - technically correct. They make use of proper marine methods (I was brought up using the same ones that the principal characters in this tale were taught).

Of course! as a professional I would take issue with some of what Sam wrote. I presume that's what all this is about.

My main concerns are with lights and the directions, times and distances they are alleged to have been seen by various individuals.

Question:

If, Titanic's masthead lights could be seen when she was almost an hour away from the viewers in
'Californian' - why did the lookouts and OOW on Titanic not see those of 'Californian'? These men were, we are told 'on their toes' and the OOW also had glasses. Californian's masthead lights would be seen close to 17.5 miles away. If she was close enough to the sinking point for her side and stern lights to be seen then her mast lights (2) should have been seen at extreme range almost half an hour before the time of collision

I also observe:

'Californian; was alleged to be heading in a roughly ENE direction when Titanic's masthead light was first seen at maximum range of say 22 miles at 2253 Californian time (2241 Titanic), described as:

1: 'approaching from the east'
or
2: 'on the starboard quarter'.

If she was coming up from the east before 2300 then it would seem to 'Californian' she would be less than 2 points on the Starboard bow. This being so then by plotting Titanic's position at 2241 hrs, 22 miles east of her collision point then inscribing an arc of visibility of 22 miles to cut the reciprocal bearing angle of 22.5 degrees - would put Californian stopped about 9 miles to the NE of 'Titanic's final position. All of the foregoing points to 'Californian' having been 9 or 10 miles to the south of her planned course and having travelled at a speed nearer to 10 knots since Noon.


If 'Californian' was positioned to the NE then she would have to have been heading a good bit west of North to be seen approaching on the starboard quarter.

If 'Californian; was west of the Longitude of the collision sight then she would see 'Titanic's mast head lights 'coming from the east well after 2300 hrs. The further north she was, the greater would be the angle on the bow and 'approaching from the east' would no longer apply

The Apprentice on 'Californian' said the 'lights' disappeared in a SW direction when 'Californian' was heading in W'ly direction.

The problem with the foregoing is that it does not fit with a northerly heading when the Titanic sank. To make that work; 'Californian' has to have been to the north west of 'Titanic'.
But that doesn't work with the Apprentice's SW disappearing light.

An additional problem is the mystery light seen by not a few from the life boats. If it was a stern light then is was most definitely no more than 7 miles away. I suspect closer than that.
From a lifeboat Californian's stern light surely could not be seen at any greater distance away.

Another thought: when all the evidence we read of was printed - everyone thought Titanic had foundered to the SW of 'Californian'. Rockets were seen to the SSE so why were questions not asked about that and why - if everyone believed the CQD - did they decide Lord was at fault? Did they think there were two vessels in trouble that night? After all, the evidence seemed to show there was a 45 degree angle between the rockets and the CQD.
 

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