Depth Of Silt Inside Wreck


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Mike Bull

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Dec 23, 2000
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From Ken's wreck report and the book and film versions of 'Ghosts Of The Abyss', I've been particularly struck by the apparent blanket depth of silt/muck inside all areas of the wreck; usually at least a foot, often more. (Edith Russell's cabin, with at least two foot in there as shown for example)

Of course the ship would have made one heck of a cloud of mud as she impacted with the bottom, but how did she get so full of silt on so much of the the inside?

I know that there is rust forming/falling from the ceilings all the time, but much of what is in there on the floors looks like good old grey bottom mud to me; how come?
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Mike,

Currents have been flowing through the wreck for over 90 years, depositing silt all the while.

What you see in the online report and in the film are the clearest pictures and film segments that could be pulled from the wreck video footage. What you don't see are the TRUE outtakes, where the ROV gets too close to the layer of silt and a cloud of fine particles erupts, obscuring the camera lens (called "silting out the camera"). The fragile accumulation of silt explodes readily with any disturbance and takes time to settle down again, during which time the ROV doesn't have enough visibility to capture anything of value on video. About all that can be done is set the ROV down; power down to conserve batteries and miminise disturbance; and wait for the silt to settle again. The layers of silt that cover just about any horizontal surface is not bottom mud in most cases, if any at all.

There is an analogy -- albeit an imperfect one -- to help understand silt. If you sat unmoving at your desk, hunched over your computer keyboard, for the next 90 years, how much dust and discarded skin cells would accumulate on your keyboard? Add to that a slight wind that brings with it airborne particles that fall onto you? Let's say that you have a wooden shelf overhead that rots from moisture and disuse and deposits its debris on the pile? Eventually, your keyboard would be buried under a pile of particles and debris. In a sense, that's similar to what has happened to Titanic during the past century.

Parks
 

Mike Bull

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Hmm, (he said, looking at the dust around his PC!) I wondered about currents flowing through the wreck and depositing things, but didn't think it would account for the sheer depth of material in there.

Anyway, I'll hunch here for a few more hours and see what happens! ;-)

Cheers Parks!
 
Mar 3, 1998
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Mike,

Some of the currents are quite strong and flow through many portions of the wreck. It's interesting to see the rusticle explosion out of the elevator shafts...the long rusticle "fingers" reach almost horizontally out of the elevator doors, giving a good indication of the direction and strength of the current that is forced through the elevator shafts. It is amazing to me how the two Camerons were able to keep the ROVs steady enough to capture some of the images in the face of these currents.

I have a white keyboard with a clear plastic shell. All matter of particles have gotten down inside there, where I can't get at it. I've only had this keyboard for a couple of years and already it's looking worse than the Titanic wreck. No wonder that example came to mind when I was considering a response to your question.

Parks
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Excellent points made by Parks. The entire area is one of very deep and unusually fine silt. Tons of this would have been disturbed by Titanic's sections and debris at the very first. And - as well as the usual depositing that continuously occurs - the region is prone to seismic events. However slight, they do play their role over time. But, in the 1920s, one sea-quake in particular occurred of truly historic magnitude. Its contribution to further burying, covering and damaging the structure cannot have been insignificant.
 
Mar 3, 1998
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I wonder about that earthquake. I understand that it was a large one and had to affect everything in the vicinity. What I'd like to find is some forensic evidence that can point to damage that could only have been caused by the earthquake. So far, most damage can be explained forensically by either the sinking or initial impact on the ocean floor.

In addition, there are very fragile items in the wreck structure that would seem to be quite vulnerable to earthquake damage (even if you extrapolate their condition backward to 1929), but didn't. Now, I understand the fickle nature of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, etc., so don't take any of this to mean that I am arguing against the notion of an undersea earthquake affecting the wreck. I am merely curious to know how much effect the 1929 earthqauke had on the wreck. It's a great unknown and a true puzzle for the forensic analyst.

Parks
 
May 2, 2000
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I don't know if it's a fantasia. Why they can't send to Rov or other Short Machine into the Titanic to see all the Boat during weeks or months as they do in Planet Mars to Know what there is in the Titanic as where are artemisa,balustradas, the electric camel of the gym...?, piano, seats...If something windows is intacts where is the breaks glass of the doom...
 

James Smith

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Hi Sandro--

The Mars ROV's, as I understand it, are powered by solar energy. Down at Titanic's depth, only power source for an ROV is a battery, which is eventually going to run out.

Also, the ROVs at Titanic's depth aren't "wireless" the way the Mars ROVs are. Ultimately, you'd have to have the ROV connected either a) to a manned submarine, or b) to a surface vessel. Option a) means that the submarine will have to surface fairly soon; option b) means that with the wave action continually heaving the ship (and the cable, and the ROV) up and down, navigation within the Titanic would be at best a bumpy experience.

--Jim
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Sandro and James have set us thinking. The most feared element of every expedition is simply storm: in respect of such depths as we are considering, an essentially superficial event. Furthermore, this aspect of every scientific deep-water adventure could be overcome by the introduction of a sub-surface 'S3' (Sea Space Station). Surface vessels would position, man and supply it. From the S3 - rather than from the troubled surface - Sandro's "Short Machines" would be more sent, directed, monitored, and returned.
 
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