Did survivors in lifeboats hear/feel Titanic hitting the ocean floor?


Slim

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Did survivors in lifeboats hear/feel Titanic hitting the ocean floor? I've always wondered if they felt any vibrations. I doubt they heard anything, but that's part of question too.

Thanks in advance.
 
Nov 13, 2014
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I don't think the ship hitting the ocean floor made that much noise.
Besides, any noises were half-silenced by 4 km of water before reaching the surface.
Besides, it was very noisy at the surface with screamings of 1000 people freezing to death in the water.
Besides, the survivors were in shock and weren't thinking: "Hm, maybe if I focus, I might hear the ship hit the ocean floor".

That's my opinion.
 
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Slim

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Thanks for your reply!

My main question would be if it's even possible to hear the crash 2.5 miles underneath 4km of water? I think we can all agree if a structure weighing more than 52,000 tons smashed into the earth with no water present, it would be heard miles and miles away.

Also, I definitely agree it was noisy at the surface but I'm sure by the time Titanic hit the ocean floor a good number of the ill-fated were already dead, considering it wouldn't take long for hypothermia to set in/occur.
Also, if there was any noise when she hit bottom, it depends on how loud it was when it comes to people hearing it whether they were paying attention or not.

What about vibrations or force from the collision being sent back up to the surface?

Anyone else care to opine?
 
Aug 8, 2007
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Much has been said on this forum in the past about the reliability (or not) of the books of Charles Pellegrino, so without further comment on that, he states in "Ghosts of the Titanic" that the stern section hit the ocean floor at a speed of between 32 and 60 mph and that, combined with the force of the water travelling with it, was what flattened it into the mess of debris that it is. On page 49 of the hardcover, he states that at least three survivors, Frank Prentice, Richard Williams, and Alfred White, barely felt what would have been this impact.
 
Nov 13, 2014
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I think the 4 km of water absorbed most of the vibrations the impact caused.

History Channel said in their documentary "Titanic At 100 Mystery Solved" that the bow section (which was the biggest chunk) took only 5 minutes to reach the bottom. Swimmers kept screaming for half an hour.
 

B-rad

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Sound would not transfer from the water to air. Humans have a very difficult time hearing in water, as our bodies are not meant to hear in that environment (sound does not travel the same via water as it does air), and being that the ship hit the bottom a long distance away, it is doubtful that any human ears would be able to pick up any sound from that depth. There are many underwater earthquakes, landslides and such that humans do not hear, that make much more noise than a ship hitting the ocean floor. Most sound and vibrations would have dispersed over a long area, and any sort of feedback anybody could or would feel at the surface would have been very very weak, if it ever could be felt or heard at all. Plus, the down blast of water, that supposedly hit the ship, after it hit the ocean floor, would have pushed back much of the acoustic vibrations.

Some great sites:

http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/sound01/background/acoustics/acoustics.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater_acoustics
Sounds of the Sea - MarineBio.org
 
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Adam Went

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A number of survivors claimed to have heard noises as the ship was breaking apart and possibly imploding in the stern section shortly after she went underwater, but I don't recall ever reading of anyone who claimed specifically to have heard her impact with the bottom - indeed, as others have stated, I doubt this would even be possible. Besides, given that the bottom of the ocean was not rock hard (see how far Titanic's bow section in particular sank into the silt on impact), the impact with the bottom may actually have been relatively quiet.

Cheers,
Adam.
 
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Jay Roches

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Titanic and other ships had signalling hydrophones, an underwater microphone/signaling device that was essentially a primitive version of sonar. These were only used in port.

There is also the phenomenon of the thermal layer (thermoclines), where warmer and cooler waters create a 'surface' that partly reflects sound. This results in a phenomenon where a ship with sonar can't detect an underwater noise say, 2 miles away, but can detect one 15 miles away.

In any case, while a ship striking the bottom of the ocean does make a sound, and Titanic's hitting the bottom would have been picked up by the U.S. Navy today (or 30 years ago), that sound doesn't transfer well to air, and humans can't detect it above or below water or feel it as vibration.
 

PRR5406

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In 1968, the U.S. nuclear sub "Scorpion" imploded after an explosion of some kind, and the energy pulse was "heard" by hydrophones in the Atlantic. These had to be amplified in order to triangulate the approximate location of the wreckage. Again, in the 1970's U.S. hydrophones in the Pacific "heard" the Soviet sub K-129 breaking up as it fell three miles to the ocean floor, and used this data to not only locate, but recover the sub. Rent "Azorian" for an amazing telling of that story, well illustrated, too!
Insofar as 1912 was concerned, there would be no device, and certainly not human ears, which would detect impacts and implosion at a depth of 4KM. If a conscious ear was under water in total silence, I don't doubt collapses and rending of steel would be heard as tiny crunches. Nobody in his right mind would have stuck his head into that sea for that purpose, plus, as is pointed out above, the noise on the surface would cover all undersea vibrations.
 
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JJAstorII

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One thing I did find very interesting reading some of the testimony was that they did hear explosions after she went completely under. This was from the compression of the boilers and the temperature difference caused them to blow quite aggressively sounding like little explosions under water.
 

Kyle Naber

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Many survivors said that they remembered hearing and feeling booming noises, almost like explosions, which would most likely would have been the implosion of multiple air pockets and the deterioration of the stern as it was dragged under by the bow section.
 

PRR5406

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No question in my mind, if you were in the ocean, you would have heard or sensed the vibrations created as the stern collapsed. Much of that destruction happened not far beneath the ocean surface. At the depth where the ship came to rest, nothing would have been sensed on the surface.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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In 1968, the U.S. nuclear sub "Scorpion" imploded after an explosion of some kind, and the energy pulse was "heard" by hydrophones in the Atlantic. These had to be amplified in order to triangulate the approximate location of the wreckage. Again, in the 1970's U.S. hydrophones in the Pacific "heard" the Soviet sub K-129 breaking up as it fell three miles to the ocean floor, and used this data to not only locate, but recover the sub. Rent "Azorian" for an amazing telling of that story, well illustrated, too!
Insofar as 1912 was concerned, there would be no device, and certainly not human ears, which would detect impacts and implosion at a depth of 4KM. If a conscious ear was under water in total silence, I don't doubt collapses and rending of steel would be heard as tiny crunches. Nobody in his right mind would have stuck his head into that sea for that purpose, plus, as is pointed out above, the noise on the surface would cover all undersea vibrations.
I just watched a couple of docu's on Youtube about Scorpion and Thresher. They were very good. They talked a lot about the SOSUS and how they were able to locate Scorpion with it.
 
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