Fault Lines and Titanic


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Mar 3, 2001
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Does anyone know if there are any fault lines or earthquake dangers to the Titanic wreck? The Sumatra quake made me wonder if it was possible for something like that to disturb Titanic's resting place. We speak of the Titanic organisms slowly breaking her down and the ship collapsing but could a natural disaster take her out?
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Susan,

I moved your other post to the Off Topic section, where it's more appropriate.

If any of the members have an answer to Amanda's question, post it here, otherwise please continue the discussion in the Off Topic thread.

Thank you.
 

Paul Lee

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If you believe Capt.Collins' thesis, the Titanic sank intact and was smashed to pieces by the 1929 (?) undersea earthquake.

Paul

 
Jul 9, 2000
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If I recall correctly, he attributes it to an earthquake which he also claims moved the wreck something like 13 miles to it's present location. The reason I have a problem with that one is that any undersea quake that massive would have produced tsunamis so massive that it would make the recent event in the Indian Ocean look like a ripple on a pond.
 

Paul Rogers

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Not quite, Michael.

Capt. Collins' theory (I have read his latest book) posits that Titanic sank intact but reached neutral buoyancy after foundering. The wreck then allegedly travelled submerged with the prevailing undersea current (the Gulf Stream) until the last air-filled compartments imploded, causing a final loss of buoyancy and allowing the ship to sink to the bottom. This led to Titanic's resting place being some 13 miles East of the distress call position. All the November 1929 earthquake did was to shatter the wreck and separate the two halves.

For the record - not that I'm any sort of expert with a right to comment - I do not accept Capt. Collins' theory in this regard, although I accept that he might have a point re. his "no iceberg" claim, based on his ice pilot experience: Notwithstanding many eye witnesses claiming to have seen a 'berg, it's not beyond the bounds of reality to theorize that there could have been an icefield present as well, which might have caused the damage to the ship.

But that is probably a debate for another thread.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Notwithstanding many eye witnesses claiming to have seen a 'berg, it's not beyond the bounds of reality to theorize that there could have been an icefield present as well, which might have caused the damage to the ship.<<

I don't doubt that there was some pack ice present. I'd be very surprised if it wasn't especially since there's some photographic evidence to back that up. In an inky black sea in the middle of the night, this is not something that a lot of people would have noticed, especially if they were coming out from inside the ship and didn't have time to aquire any sort of night vision.

Even if the ship was traveling in a reletively clear area, there's still the possibility of ice chunks traveling with the berg. The problem here is that nobody mentions the sort of noises one would assocciate with any collisions with any such, until you get to the iceberg itself. If the ship had collided with smaller bits hard enough to do some through hull damage, one would think that somebody would have noticed it. Especially if they were poking around an area where water was entering the hull. Something like that would have been reported in very short order, and that just didn't happen.

Even accepting the possibility that some of the witnesses followed the ship into Davy Jone's Locker, the silence here is deafening.
 
Mar 3, 2001
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Wow. That's pretty far out there! Sounds like this guy just might believe that Aliens helped build the ancient pyramids
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Wow. That's pretty far out there! Sounds like this guy just might believe that Aliens helped build the ancient pyramids<<

Oh I wouldn't go quite that far. Captain Collins is an experienced ice pilot and I've not had the impression that he goes *that* far out from my dealings with him. I don't agree with his base premise, but I don't think it's going far out in left field to accept that some parts have merit to them. It's not impossible for pack ice to be tagging along with the berg for example, nor is it outside the realm of possibility to suggest that some of it...if present...may have been a factor.

I just don't have any reason to think it all happened in isolation when the presence and interaction with the iceberg is as well attested as it is.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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One question (or several related questions) I have regarding Collins' theory that the ship sunk whole and was separated by an underwater earthquake in '29:

How does that account for the debris placement, especially the coal, which is scattered yet spread in a uniformed pattern across the seabed? It's hard to believe that an earthquake would have caused the debris to land as it did on the ocean floor.

Also, it would seem that an underwater earthquake powerful enough to have torn the ship in two and thrown the stern some hundred's of feet away (and flipped it around so that the stern itself was pointing in the same direction as the bow) would have undoubtedly done worse damage to the ship - internally and externally.

Finally, such a premise would have to consider, and acknowledge, the many eyewitness accounts which claimed that the ship broke apart at the surface. If the ship hadn't broken at the surface, so many people, unrelated and placed at different locations around the sinking liner, wouldn't have seen the break.

No disrespect to Capt. Collins, but his theories (sinking whole and the earthquake involvement) are weak and don't hold water (pun intended). With an underwater earthquake powerful enough to tear the Titanic in two and throw the stern a considerable distance away, such an earthquake, as Michael suggested, would have created a fault line, or an opening that would have swallowed and, perhaps, destroyed the wreck entirely or almost entirely. Capt. Collins is an experienced seaman, but how experience and knowledgeable is he regarding earthquakes and tatonic places? That's a whole other ball-or-wax.

To comment on the initial question of fault lines, I would say no, for the simple reason that had there been fault lines near the Titanic, the earthquake of '29 (and other subsequent underwater folly) would have destroyed the wreck. It's an interesting consideration, though.

Just my thoughts...
 
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Earthquakes happen as a consequence of fault lines shifting. Not slowly either, but very abruptly. Had there been an earthquake strong enough to tear an intact wreck in two and seperate the sections as far apart as they are now, the resulting tsunamis IMO, would have done a number on the coastal areas of the North Atlantic that would be the stuff of legends.

As for the existance of fault lines, I understand they're there, but I don't happen to have any charts handy. I don't suppose somebody out there has one handy?
 
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>>Had there been an earthquake strong enough to tear an intact wreck in two and seperate the sections as far apart as they are now, the resulting tsunamis IMO, would have done a number on the coastal areas of the North Atlantic that would be the stuff of legends.<<

Well, that's my point, Michael: Since the wreck itself is merely in two pieces (three, if you consider the debris field as a third, million-piece section), and the two main sections are significantly separated, that should be enough evidence against Collins' theory. The fact, also, that coastal regions weren't as affected as they would have been had the tsunami been severe enough to cause the Titanic wreck to split apart about as far as it had (how much distance between the two sections?) suggests that the earthquake (or an earthquake) did not play, or could not have played, a role in the Titanic's split. There are too many incongruities involved for the theory to stand solid. Yet, Collins persists. With his experience, one would think that he'd be aware of such inconsistencies.

As for the the charts, I'd like to see one, too. Let's hope the wreck itself isn't actually lying right over one.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Let's hope the wreck itself isn't actually lying right over one.<<

I don't think it lies on top of one, but I have seen some paper charts in which indicate some are fairly close. As I understand it, the bow and stern sections are seperated by about 2000 feet.
 
Dec 31, 2003
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Months ago, I mentioned the seaquake of November 18, 1929 in regard to its likely disturbance of the 'Titanic' site - suggesting this was something of interest to investigate further. Some of you will know my opinions on the topics 'iceberg' and 'breakup'! So, I saw no conflict between those and possible effects of this seaquake. However, it is worth considering that the initial quake measured 7.2 and the following ones 6 and 5. Resultant tidal-waves varied between 2 and 7 metres when the surge was forced into narrow inlets. Increased sea-levels were noted in western Europe and there were at least 22 breaks in the Trans-Atlantic cables. Certainly, some settling-down and silting-up of 'Titanic' seems plausible in this context, does it not?
 
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Yes, but not breaking it in two and throwing the stern 2,000 feet away. The wreck would have been more damaged than it had been. Of course, there are the factors of the debris distribution and significant eyewitness testimony that the ship broke at the surface, but no one has addressed those yet. I'm not saying that the seaquake of '29 hadn't damaged the Titanic wreck, just that the evidence suggests another source for the break.
 

Ryan Thompson

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Whats the story behind this Captain Collins person? I've never heard this before. He says it wasn't an iceberg that sank the ship? *confused*
 
Dec 3, 2005
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Captain Collins had a hypothesis about why the ship was broken in half and why the wreck is 13 miles from the Titanic's CQD position. He said that she sank in one piece and somehow became neutrally buoyant after she went under the water. She then, according to him, capsized and floated upside-down for thirteen miles in the Gulf Stream current just a few hundred feet under the surface before she finally sank to the bottom. Then, in 1929, and undersea earthquake ripped her in half and scattered the pieces. Rather far-fetched idea, no?
 
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