Parks Interpretation of The Breakup

Mike Witte

Jun 30, 2005
Greetings All!

I've received my copy of The Commutator with Parks interpretation of how he thinks the break-up occurred. I've been waiting for someone to start a thread on what the opinions are compared to Roger Long's. Any comments on which theory seems the most sound? I think in the end both are right in saying that from the analysis of the double-bottom, it's most likely it failed last, it's just how it failed differs between the two.

Best Regards,

Jan 5, 2001
Hi Mike,

While I haven't had the chance to read the article in question, I am eager to do so as I had reservations about some of the opinions in the previous Commutator article. I hope this thread will generate some in-depth discussion on the topic. Meanwhile, I'd like to give a vote of thanks to Parks for offering a different take on things.

Best wishes,

Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>Any comments on which theory seems the most sound?<<

Can't say for sure. And I don't think you'll find either Parks or Roger championing their respective theories as the "better" one. There are too many variables and unknowns to do something like that and they are both well aware of it. One or the other could be closer to the reality or there may something else, something overlooked or unknown, which may be discovered at some point which will require them both to completely rethink their take on the evidence.

I think both theories are thought provoking and need to be taken very seriously.

Steven Hall

Dec 17, 2008
The beauty of research (today & previous) is that each work can draw on each. Somewhere in the middle of all the ideas and theories will be found the actual fact. Although none of us were there to witness it - a positive theory will eventually prevail as accepted.
What’s undeniable is the fact a new generation of researcher is evolving, those that can draw on what’s available today (that wasn’t there previous). In that, that's their positive advantage.
There’s a dozen (brilliant) researchers starting to make their presence felt today; Parks is one. All these chaps need to get together and form ‘a coalition of the sharing’. Sharing is the only way to achieve positive outcomes. Until that happens, no one single person, regardless of how diligent their research — simply, won’t be able to draw the ultimate conclusions.
The Titanic belongs to everyone. It’s our history, and in that — needs to be researched the best way possible. Like someone said to me only recently, “the ship is not a play thing for those in a privileged position to dive to it”.
Although I don’t agree absolutely with that statement — there is merit in the words.
Apr 24, 2003
In my opinion, Parks over interpret the port list of the ship a little bit too much. Even in the final plunge, shortly before the break-up, the ship has a big list to port..... over 10 degrees, I guess. But , in my opinion, there is no evidence, no survivors testimonies, that support this interpretation. And I don´t see any physical evidence for that. Of course, after the break up, when the stern lowered again, we have Baker Joughins testimony of a strong list to port, but before the breakup? No evidence!
I made some experiments with a modified titanic model in my little swimming-pool to test, how the ships port list changes during the final plunge.

The result: Doesn´t matter how big the list was BEFORE the final plunge (i tested my model with different list´s, making some weights in its hull )... during the "swan dive" of the ship, the list always reduced itself.
So, in my opinion, the list could not be so big like Parks showed in his animation.

Best regards,
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>But , in my opinion, there is no evidence, no survivors testimonies, that support this interpretation.<<

Then I'd suggest you do some research into the matter to try and establish the fact. That the ship took on a list at times going from starboard to port is a matter of documented fact, and at times, it was serious enough to cause problems with launching some of the boats throughout the evacuation.

Whether or not Parks overestimated the list is of course, quite debatable, and Parks would be the first one to tell you that.

>>I made some experiments with a modified titanic model in my little swimming-pool to test, how the ships port list changes during the final plunge.<<

Modified how? Did you use an engineers model which was weighted and perhaps even subdivided the way a correct engineer's testing model would be? If not, then you may find that there's something of a problem with your tests.
Apr 24, 2003
Michael, of course I know about the list that the ship had to port.... and that this list increased until 2.10. A.M. (difficulties with launching C,D and a few later with boat A).
I wrote about Parks animation :
(In Parks animation)"even in the final plunge, shortly before the break-up, the ship has a big list to port..... over 10 degrees, I guess. But , in my opinion, there is no evidence, no survivors testimonies, that support this interpretation. And I don´t see any physical evidence for that. "
I meant only the short time between 2.15. and the break up - in this time, we have no evidence that the list increased to 10 or 15 degrees, like Parks showed in his animation.

In general, I was very impressed by his animation.. especially by the diagram of her break up after 2.18.A.M.
Some words to my modified model:
I used a similar titanic model (construction kit from revell) and built compartments in it (the correct number of them and the correct height).
After that, I weight it with some stones on the keel (I sticked them on) to make the model swimmable, until the depth of the ship in water is historically accurate.
After that, I generated an artificial list to port, using some more stones in the hull... but often, this was not necessary, because the ship model itself generated a list to port or starboard.
But generally, when the bridge dipped under and the stern rosed out of the water, the list corrected itself.

Its an indication for me that also on the real titanic, the list to port did not increased, but reduced. Why? I can only speculate (and it is difficult for me to explain because I´am only a foreigner ;) ):
Paul Quinn wrote about a (so called) top-down effect, caused of the water in some higher areas of the ship (decks d,c,b,a) and the volume of air still insight of the inner areas (boiler rooms and so one)below. The result was a list to port.
When Titanic´s angle intensified to 25 or even 30 degrees, this fact could have changed. Why?:
1.) the inner volume filled with air (boiler rooms) and covered with water (b,c,d,e-deck) reduced its area because of the ships angle
2.) water could break in and air could escape much sooner
3.) pressed air below reached the surface (remember Lightollers experience on the fan near funnel 1 when bridge went under)

Again, it is only a poor speculation of me.
In view of the fact, that we never will know which areas of the ships were when exactly flooded , we will never know all this for sure.

Best regards,

Manuel Reiprich
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Manuel, the whole problem with your model is that it can't duplicate the subdivision of the ship by way of non-structural bulkheads and walls that seperated the cabins. That's going to inhibit the flow of water, perhaps not by much but enough to cause problems.

The culprit in the case was most probably Scotland Road which provided a clear and unobstructed way aft along the port side. From there, it could cascade into the boiler rooms by way of ladders, ventilation, cableways and the like.

The plain fact of the matter is that when a ship takes her final plunge, she usually rolls over and this can be observed by way of actual sinkings which have been caught on film. The Oceanos is one example and there's strong evidence that the Titanic was in the process of doing this when the hull broke up.

Whether or not she went over ten degrees or more is of course, entirely debatable, but if not, she was heading in that direction when the break up stopped the process.
Mar 22, 2003
Chicago, IL, USA
Manuel: The major problem I see with using a model, even one that is subdivided correctly, is getting the center of gravity at the right location. Placing weight near the bottom can certainly get the model to the right draft and trim, but the stability (transverse as well as longitudinal) depends on the location of the center of gravity. The other point is that the various compartments had different permeabilities which affected just how much water can be taken in when those compartments flooded. And Michael is also correct about the structures within those compartments also affecting the flooding dynamics. Just be careful about coming to general conclusions based on flooding a model.

Matt Pereira

Samuel, another thing is also putting the weight for the cargo and passengers and crew in the right locations.

Im building a model myself but its not for sinking purposes, but I did plan on building each deck and each wall. I already have most of the framework done. Will be building a second one after this one is done so if this one dont turn out too well. You might be seeing a report on sinking this one. Should be fairly accurate cause the model is estimated to weigh 50 to 60 lbs (the plans i have list it as 40 to 50 but im thinking more since ill be building the decks)

As far as the list goes, I belive it. You have Scotland Road on the port side. Especially after the stern broke off as water reached scotland road, she would have listed cause water would have been flowing down scotland road cause there wasnt a way for water to flow that way easly on the starboard side. Also you have to take into consideration the list to port was also helped out by the open D Deck Gangway door since water was pouring in easily through the door, it would have caused a list. Also as far as Parks goes he could have put a exagerated list cause the list that was really there might have been not enough to noticed in a diagram but would be on the real Titanic and walking on her decks.

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