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May 6, 2003
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How long was the titanic underwater before it stated to get rusticles and the carpeting and wood started to get eaten. 1 year after the sinking, 5, 2 weeks? What would it have it been like to discover the ship before she started to decay?
 

Wade Sisson

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Personally, I think it would have been gruesome to come upon the Titanic when human remains were still more identifiable than faint remnants that are there today. A pair of shoes lying side by side is haunting enough without seeing the actual bodies of those who died that night. I suppose in that sense we're lucky that it took so long to find her.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I don't know if there's any sort of baseline to establish that as so few wrecks in really deep water have been found and examined. Those that have had already been down there awhile by the time the technology was developed that made it possible to check things out.

I think I can safely say that the process which started the rusticles growing began as soon as the ship hit bottom. As to when rusticles likely appeared as recognizable structures, I await the input of qualified scientists to offer an opinion.
 
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Martha Fasoulas

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Hi Stefan,

I am certainly not a qualified expert but agree with Michael that the process is likely to have begun immediately after the ship sunk to the bottom.

The biological activity in the seawater at the depth of Titanic has meant the rapid formation of spreading of 'rusticles'. A variety of bacteria are present in rusticles, predominantly sulfate-reducing species which multiply rapidly in anaerobic conditions (no oxygen). It would be fair to say the process did begin right away, although the amount of time it would take for the rusticles to reach the size of some we have all seen in past and recent pictures of the wreck, I do not know.

I am almost certain I have read previous posts on this subject where research has been done on rusticles from the Titanic wreck although I can not find the information on my search. As Michael mentioned, very few wrecks have been discovered at that depth, making an accurate comparison analysis difficult.

Hope this infromation helps although as I said, I am not the expert!

Take care
Martha
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Claire McConville

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I read in a news article some time ago that the decreasing amount of fish in the area of the Titanic went some way to speed up the process of deterioration. would this be correct? If so, would the decrease in the fish etc be due to human activity down there? I don't know that it's a good idea to allow tourists to visit the site.... maybe best to limit the human involvement to those who can actually gain important information from the ship.

Claire
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Claire, I have some very strong doubts about any of this. The reality is that this is one mean stretch of ocean. Mean enough that submersible operations of any kind are only possible for about three or four months out of the year.

Expensive too. If you have 25-30,000 dollars burning a hole in your pocket and can find somebody offering a trip down, you can at best afford one dive and that's it.

When you get down to it, human activity has little if anything to do with what's really happening, and that's salt water which is gradually corroding the wreck away to nothing. There's nothing all that remarkable about it from the point of view of a trained metelurgist.
 

Deborah Kogan

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According to Charles Pellegrino, the following is the connection between numbers of fish and Titanic's deterioration (it's in his Ghosts of the Abyss): There has been major overfishing in the North Atlantic. Normally the fish would be eating the phytoplankton, tiny plantlife. Since they aren't available to do so, all this has led to a massive increase in zooplankton (tiny animal life) who are taking advantage of this great food supply; they in turn have increased dramatically, and when they die, they result in that "snow" you see drifting around down there. This is very nutritious stuff for the rusticles, who go wild and grow like crazy and digest more and more of the big T. ... I recently asked Joe Bishop from NOAA (he is an oceanographer) if the increased global warming has contributed to the faster decay of the Titanic, and he said that it is too deep to be affected much by such increases of temperature, which tend to be on the surface.
 
Jul 12, 2003
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This may be a stupid question but...why can't ocean fish be raised on a farm similar to the way trout is raised and then released in the Atlantic around the site of the sinking? I know that curbing fishing laws really doesn't help as people are always out there trying to get away with it. I also know that if this idea is possible, it won't change what as already happened but maybe the deterioration process would be slowed down a bit.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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You'd have to take that up with somebody who studies the appropriate scientific diciplines in biology and fisheries management. I don't think it would make that much difference in this case because the sort of fish you're talking about are not commenly found in salt water, and never at those depths. Remember that the Titanic lies in 12,500 feet of water.

Personally, I think the whole issue of fish is simply media misdirection as fish just don't have any influance on how salt water corrodes metal. The process continues regardless.
 
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