Pinnacle or Blocky Berg?

Georges Guay

Feb 26, 2017
Capt. Rostron

25466.The shape of the iceberg itself might account for it. The sides were rather precipitous. If the side had been more of a slope, do not you think that slope would have given off some shadow? If you have a greater surface and there is anything in the theory about "blink," you would have more blink if you had a greater surface,

25501. He counted 25 large ones, 150 to 200 feet high, and stopped counting the smaller ones; there were dozens and dozens all over the place; and about two or three miles from the position of the "Titanic's" wreckage we saw a huge ice-field extending as far as we could see, N.W. to S.E.

25510. No, they were very hard to pick up, as a matter of fact.

I think that we all been fooled by the iceberg pictures believed to be the fatal one. Icebergs comes in all shapes and especially when you have the choice over; «25 large ones, 150 to 200 feet high, and stopped counting the smaller ones; there were dozens and dozens all over the place». Shapes also determine the amount of Luminous Flux that can be reflected. Pinnacle ones, rather precipitous, reflect very little or no light whatsoever while Blocky ones, greater surface, do the exact opposite. What if the berg was shaped by both a Pinnacle and a Blocky form?


Mate Murdoch and the Lookouts sighted the Blocky Iceberg part first at a close but at a standard distance. From Murdoch Starboard side bridge wing location perspective, the berg was estimated to pass very close but clear. When it’s clear, you do not attempt to pass any closer! As the berg got rapidly nearer, the Pinnacle shape started to come in sight. But then, even with the bridge wing parallax, it became apparent that the berg would not clear the starboard ship side. Murdoch had not much veering choices; whether shouting Hard-A Port on the Elm or Hard-A-Starboard. We all know that a vessel doesn’t turn like a train. It rather sweeps around 75% of her after length! I can assure you that Mate Murdoch knew that very well. At such a close range, if Murdoch would’ve turn Hard-A-Starboard (bow to left), 75% of Titanic length would’ve crashed extremely heavily into the berg. We are very far here from a «Glancing Blow». Any competent and experienced Senior Officer facing an immediate collision would’ve had the reflex to call Hard-A Port (bow to right) to minimize the inevitable damages to minimum.



At a pace of 35 feet per second, the berg rumbled for 10 to 15 seconds against the hull, same time to clear the stern whereas the alternative engines took around 1 to 2 minutes to be Stop and no revolving. It took 16 seconds for the rudder to be actually hard over but only 8 seconds to initiate a good turning momentum. The rudder was then fully active for a good 30 seconds. The vessel started to swing to Starboard (bow to right) when the berg was in the area between BR.5 and BR.4, where the iceberg pressure was finally released. Regrettably, the damage was done.

In the mean time, Smith arrived on the navigation bridge as the berg disappeared at the stern and took over. If the helm had been kept Hard-A-Starboard (bow to left), Capt. Smith would have thrown Mate Murdock over the side! As it was not the case and being sure that the berg was well clear, he probably called for a wheel amidships and tested the engines back and fore. The vessel finally died when all lateral forces equilibrated to a North Compass Heading as allegedly witness by a Quarter Master. The vessel started drifting gently toward the south and the own generated wind brought her heading back on a westerly heading.



Engine Officers and Crew would have to be entirely ready at the controls to close the Throttle Valves (the water flow against the blades would leave the engine turning Ahead freely), changing over the Reversing Lever to Astern on the fly, lifting the changeover valves to redirect the exhaust steam to the condensers and finally opening up the Throttle Valves to raise the pressure back to effectively Stop the engines thence the side propellers to turn. As for the Turbine which was a directly coupled to the center propeller shaft, I suppose that there was some locking gear device used when the vessel was dead stop. That logic approach would leave the center propeller to turn freely at slow speed thus reducing cavitations in the rudder area and keep the turbine gently turning warm and ready. That tricky emergency engine maneuver would take at least 1 to 2 minutes to be reasonably and properly executed.

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Harland Duzen

Jan 14, 2017
Good idea for a topic (I been looking up on this for my book), In my opinion, since the iceberg been described to look like the Rock of Gibraltar by some witnesses, I veer to it being more Pinnacle shaped.


Also while not the best source by any means, typing ''Pinnacle Iceberg'' on Google does show you quite a few that look similar to the Rock of Gibraltar and the few drawings done by some witnesses.
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Did the Titanic strike an iceberg that was different to the one's seen by the Carpathia? Captain Rostron saw half a dozen during the night and they were - "from one to two miles" away. He also said - "In the distance several icebergs shimmered like mirrors."

Lightoller said he spoke to Captain Smith about seeing the reflected light from the icebergs. Yet they saw none. e.g.

"We then discussed the indications of ice. I remember saying, “In any case there will be a certain amount of reflected lights from the bergs.” He said, “Oh, yes, there will be a certain amount of reflected light.” I said, or he said. Blue was said between us. That even though the blue side of the berg was towards us, probably the outline, the white outline would give us sufficient warning, that we should be able to see it at a good distance, and, as far as we could see, we should be able to see it. Of course it was just with regard to that possibility of the blue side being towards us, and that if it did happen to be turned with the purely blue side towards us, there would still be the white outline."

Does this mean the iceberg was blue? Quartermaster Olliver said - "It was not white, as I expected to see an iceberg. It was a kind of a dark-blue. It was not white." Mr. Osman believed he saw the fatal iceberg in the morning. He said - "At a rough estimate it was 100 feet out of the water. It was round, and then had one big point sticking up on one side of it. It was apparently dark, like dirty ice. We could see it was the biggest berg there, and the other ones would not have done so much damage, I think. It looked as if there was a piece broken off after she struck, and the ice fell on board."

Mr. Taylor saw the iceberg soon after the collision. He said - "I should say that parts of the iceberg were 80 feet high and had been broken into sections, probably by our ship."

Major Peuchen said - "I went up there. I suppose the ice had fallen inside the rail, probably 4 to 4 1/2 feet. It looked like shell ice, soft ice."

Does this all match a 'blue iceberg'? i.e.

- No star reflection
- A dirty dark blue colour
- Soft sludgy ice
- Broken into sections by the ship

This being the case. Does that mean if the Titanic had steamed head-on she would have cut the blue ice berg in half and brushed her double bottom plates over the base and survived?



Mar 7, 2016
Hold on a second, wouldn't the force of the Titanic hitting the iceberg cause the iceberg to rotate? We are talking about a 46,000 ton ship hitting a giant iceberg at about 22 knots after all.

Kyle Naber

Oct 5, 2016
The Titanic was an ANT compared to the iceberg. Considering that the berg pretty much reached the boat deck, the ice underneath was over eight times the size of what is exposed to the surface. The most Titanic did to the berg was sprinkle off a little bit of ice.


My understanding is, the iceberg may have been a blue iceberg that had melted and recently capsized and turned turtle, and that would mean the ice was top heavy, so that the amount of ice above the surface was greater in mass than the ice below the surface which allowed it to become top heavy and roll over, and as it drifted further south towards the Titanic it continued to roll over and grow smaller with the amount of ice above and below the surface being about equal. There were accounts from survivors who said it was soft shell ice and this could indicate it was a partially melted iceberg that was breaking apart quite easily, instead of a solid hard mass that is usually seen from a newly formed iceberg further north.


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