Today in History: April 14, 1912

104 years ago today in the year 1912 at 11:40 PM local time the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and slowly sank in frigid waters.  The horrific lose of life caused one of the largest investigations in maritime history and resulted in major safety improvements in ocean going vessels.  To this day, the United States monitors iceberg activity and warns ships of bergs in their path.  Today, as with previous years, a US Coast Guard airplane will drop a wreath on the approximate site of the wreck to honor the passengers who died.

Some trivia:

  • The Titanic was almost 100 feet longer than a typical World War 2 aircraft carrier and had more than twice the displacement.
  • She was powered by the largest steam engine ever built.
  • The gigantic iceberg is one of a relatively small number of mega-bergs that have escaped into the North Atlantic.
  • The iceberg drifted for almost a year before entering the sea lane.
  • The dirt once contained in the iceberg is scattered around the wreck because it finished melting only a short time after the sinking.
  • Survivors were greeted by the presence of the large paint streaked iceberg when sun rose the next morning.  Both the life rafts and the berg were drifting together in the same current and stayed together throughout the night.

My belief is that the Titanic’s crew was unable to see the iceberg due to the effect of a cold water mirage.  This explains many of the strange things described by survivors and also explains why the other ship within sight of the Titanic reported that they saw, not the Titanic, but a much smaller ship in distress.

Titanic Grand Staircase

Titanic Grand Staircase

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