I'm sorry, but personal considerations are going to prevent from posting or responding to personal e-mail for the next few days. Dave is monitoring this list and can answer any questions you might have. I'll post again when I can.
David Hudson -- Don't know what you mean by "spotting the berg 10 seconds earlier." There is considerable evidence that they had been observing a black spot in the "haze" ahead of the ship for some time prior to recognizing that it was really an iceberg. To my mind, the question is one of perception, not vision. They saw the berg early enough but did not realize what it was until too late.
However, I think there is some danger in trying to find a way out of the fatal accident. It does not matter if spotting the berg 10 seconds or 10 minutes earlier would have avoided the accident. The only thing that counds is the reality of what happened.
Some of my research for the "White Paper" was into the shape of icebergs. Most of the spired bergs like Titanic's fatal iceberg are longer than they are wide. This leads to the possibility that Murdoch based his shiphandling decisions on the narrow end of the iceberg and not the long side view. The first officer may very well have ported around one end of the burg without knowing there was three times as much length as there width.
I thought your paper was superb, and for someone like myself who has only recently been introduced to this theory, I must say I find it very convincing.
Going back to the ice on the forward well deck, could the ice have calved from a fracture at the top of the berg, literally "rolled" down a pinnacle, and as the ship exerted pressure tipping the berg towards it, is it possible that the ice may have picked up enough speed to "jump" off the iceberg on to the deck after reaching a more level plane?
I feel that if the berg had come so close that direct contact with the Titanic had broken off the ice then damage would have been caused to railings and even rigging.
I'm sorry if this has been a really dumb theory and I am just about to make things even worse for myself!
Although I dismiss Robin Gardiners theorizing, he did make a point that there may have been ice formed on the Titanic's rigging which was jolted free by the collision and fell to the deck. Do you know if this was possible, and if it was would the quantity falling be really as dramatic as has been recorded?
First of all, thank you for your comments. The paper was not perfect and it's good to be receiving constructive comments, so that we can refine the theory.
So far, the consensus seems to be that the ice calved for some reason...maybe because the collision tipped the berg towards Titanic. There's no real way to prove it, but that reason sounds as good as any. I'm still looking at it, though.
I don't hold with the ice-in-the-rigging theory. The rigging would really have to have been saturated to have that much ice form; even then, you wouldn't get the size reported for some of the chunks.
Thanks for your reply, in particular your view on the ice-in-the-rigging theory. I suppose all angles have to be covered!
In Jim Camerons Titanic, I always found how he treated the ice-on-the-well-deck question as one of the more unbelievable moments.
It seems that as the ship glides by and the berg doesn't tilt (in accordance with conventional theory) the ice literally "explodes" from the berg on to the deck.
Although this looks impossible, it seems to be the only way Cameron could come to terms with the puzzle - the exploding iceberg theory.
The more I think about it, the more probable it seems that for ice to be deposited on the ship the berg HAD to tilt, and a "glancing" blow would have to have been so powerful for such an occurrence that the ship would have stalled immediately with the force and the description of the collision from survivors would have been much different.
In other words, in my opinion, even more credence is given to your "grounding" theory.
Icebergs are notoriously unstable. This means it is highly unlikely that he berg did not "tip" to some extent under the weight of Titanic. In my book, Last Log Of The Titanic, I used this tipping as the mechanism that allowed ice to tumble into the well deck. But, why would there have been loose chunks of ice on the topside of the iceberg to begin with? A satisfactory answer to that question still eludes me.
Is it possible that a pinnacle of the iceberg could have been less stable due to a combination of it's less compact and less supported mass (relative to the base) and its exposure to the ravages of the elements on the open sea?
In your white paper you observe that:
"It was probably a pinnacle berg that had started to erode into the drydock configuration."
As you say David, icebergs are notoriously unstable and it seems to me that from the descriptive names assigned to bergs in the white paper that a "pinnacle/drydock" berg would be particularly unstable.
If "drydock" erosion occured very close to the pinnacle it would seem possible that the berg was primed to calve ice from the topside. Perhaps the collision helped speed up the process.
(ps "calving", "drydocked" and "pinnacle" bergs....is there any end to the vocabulary picked up from being interested in the Titanic!
The paper regarding the grounding of the Titanic is very exciting. I wonder..
Why did anyone think the iceberg that the Titanic hit had a relatively shear side? If the ship was close enough to have ice break off and fall onto the decks then it would stand to reason that the ship was so close that it would have to have run over the shelf. The term I am most used to hearing and reading is "spur", that the ship was injured by a "spur". I would expect a "spur" to be a protusion from the surrounding shelf and that if that is what the ship struck it would not have been close enough to have ice chunks fall onto it's decks.
I don't not understand why the lookouts thought that the ship was o.k. if ice fell onto the decks.
The photograph of an iceberg that seems to show red paint along it's base has two mini peaks that have their edges rather similarly smoothed.
*Is this evidence of just how close the side of the Titanic was to the berg?
*Did Titanic shave off the two points (mini peaks) causing the collapse of a section of the berg?
*Can it be that the the concave section of that iceberg, where the red paint is, is the section of the berg that collapsed and shed ice chunks onto the decks?
*Is the red paint evidence of the ships hard turn?
*Is the red paint evidence that the bow was lifted as it passed over the shelf?
The paper, as I said, is very exciting. It captured my imagination. I will follow this discussion eagerly.
Hi Daniel, the problem is that we have no way of knowing if the iceberg photographed was the one that the Titanic struck. I'm aware of two candidates, one of which was discussed in a recent issue of Voyager. The one you allude to could have a smear of red paint, it could be a trick of the light, or evidence of another ship that had a close shave. We just don't know.
I'm not sure that the lookouts thought the Titanic was okay, but then there was a general attitude of disbelief prevailing that the ship couldn't possibly sink among crew and passangers alike. Also bear in mind that from the lookout's perspective, the collision was hardly noticable at all.
Only two? I know of at least six. Some are sworn to by people who saw them from Carpathia on the morning of April 15th. Another was photographed from Birma later in the morning. I think all are equally useless as evidence.