Why wasn't the wreck found until 1985?


Dan Kappes

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It seems kind of funny to me that Jacques Cousteau found the wreck of the Titanic's sister ship Britannic a decade before Robert Ballard found the Titanic and man landed on the moon in 1969, but we couldn't find the wreck of the Titanic on the bottom of the ocean on our own planet until two decades after that. :D

I guess space exploration technology developed faster than ocean exploration technology because of the Cold War and Space Race, but I can't help thinking that if the two world wars hadn't occurred, people would've been more interested in the Titanic and underwater exploration and the wreck would've been found long before man landed on the moon and there wouldn't have been such a long debate about whether the ship broke in half or not.:rolleyes:

But I guess if Ballard hadn't found the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, someone else would have sometime after that. Arthur C. Clarke's 1976 novel Imperial Earth even speculated that the wreck wouldn't be found until 2276, and it was in one piece, raised, and became a museum exhibit in New York City.
 
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There is a huge difference between searching for a ship in relatively shallow water where the location is generally known and finding one in massively deep water where to accepted location and the REAL location is off by 13 miles. Even with the Britannic, the information was off, but not by that much.

Don't forget that the resources we take for granted for finding wrecks in deep water in the here and now for the most part didn't exist in the there and then.
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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There is a huge difference between searching for a ship in relatively shallow water where the location is generally known and finding one in massively deep water where to accepted location and the REAL location is off by 13 miles. Even with the Britannic, the information was off, but not by that much.

Don't forget that the resources we take for granted for finding wrecks in deep water in the here and now for the most part didn't exist in the there and then.
Thats very true. Its a big ocean out there. But even wrecks right off the coast in shallow water can be very hard to find. There are still 4 ships out of the 12 of the Lost Fleet of 1715 off the Florida's coast that haven't been found yet and they've been searching for them for well over 50 years.
 
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Mike Spooner

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It certainly does not help when 4th officer Boxhall gave the wrong position of the wreck!
Robert Ballard was not the only one looking for Titanic. If you read THE DISCOVERY OF THE TITANIC book it tells you all amount it. Ballard came close of not finding the ship too!
The cost of these operation are huge with a tight time table.
 
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Dan Kappes

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I can't imagine how different history would be if the Titanic was discovered either before or after 1985. Arthur C. Clarke's novel Imperial Earth speculated that it wouldn't be found until 2276, but according to this illustration from National Geographic magazine published in 2012, the Titanic's wreck would be so deteriorated by then that the ship would be almost gone, so it's a good thing we found it in 1985 before it was completely gone!:D
projections.jpg
 
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SmileyGirl

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Yes it was just as well! Is it true that all the people going down to the wreck have contributed to the deterioration or is that rubbish? Apologies if this has been discussed many times before ;)
 

Kurt Urbain

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Visitors have done plenty of damage. The French expedition in ‘87 destroyed the crows nest for example. The debris field is picked over. Submersible landings have damaged the decks.
 
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SmileyGirl

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That’s terrible. I thought I read about James Cameron damaging a deck. But I didn’t want to believe it :(
 

Dan Kappes

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Visitors have done plenty of damage. The French expedition in ‘87 destroyed the crows nest for example. The debris field is picked over. Submersible landings have damaged the decks.
How did the French expedition destroy the crows nest? Did it bump into it?

I also remember in National Geographic's 2012 Titanic magazine that there's a photo of a plastic cup on the wreck dropped from a passing modern cruise ship, so there's probably some litter on the wreck now.
 
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Kurt Urbain

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They were trying to snatch the bell from the mast and knocked it down into the cargo hatch.
 
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SmileyGirl

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How did the French expedition destroy the crows nest? Did it bump into it?

I also remember in National Geographic's 2012 Titanic magazine that there's a photo of a plastic cup on the wreck dropped from a passing modern cruise ship, so there's probably some litter on the wreck now.
I’m only surprised there wasn’t more litter when they found her in 1985.
 

Kurt Urbain

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I think I read that article once and forgot all about it. I guess I’ve read Ballards book so many times it’s just burned into my brain. It falling off to deterioration makes sense, or maybe it got bumped. The mast sags so badly now it wouldn’t have lasted anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if the mast itself is gone before long.
 
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CM1971

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True, sadly one of the most important parts of the Titanic's story will probably not even be there the next time we dive down.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Visitors have done plenty of damage. The French expedition in ‘87 destroyed the crows nest for example. The debris field is picked over. Submersible landings have damaged the decks.
The crows nest was already on the verge of falling off and no verified evidence has EVER come to light which proves that the crows nest was damaged and knocked off, either accidentally or deliberately.

See http://www.paullee.com/titanic/crowsnest.html
 
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Thats a good article. Thanks. Hopefully if the 2019 expedition does happen they can get some higher resolution photo's and maybe clear this up.
 
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IF the expedition happens, which I hope it does, but I've seen lots of promises over the past 20 years which were followed by disappointment. As it stands, the matter itself essentially IS cleared up. The asserting that the crows nest was knocked off just doesn't hold up under close scrutiny.

The claims about submersibles damaging the wreck are over blown too. The craft are operated on the very razors edge of being JUST within the realm of negative buoyancy so there is very little impact by their weight bearing down on anything.

It's not non-existant but it's way over rated.
 
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