The Titanic is slowly but surely disappearing - here's what the wreck looks like now
- The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, after it hit an iceberg during its maiden voyage from England to New York. The accident killed 1,517 people.
- The steam liner sank to a depth of more than 12,000 feet. Its remains were located on September 1, 1985.
- Since then, dozens of manned and unmanned submersibles have visited and photographed the Titanic's disintegrating body on the sea floor.
- In August, divers visited the wreckage for the first time in 14 years. Their photos reveal that the ship has significantly deteriorated due to deep-sea currents and metal-eating bacteria.
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In the early hours of April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic slipped more than 12,000 feet beneath the waves, killing 1,517 people.The ship had been on its maiden voyage to New York City, but hit an iceberg about 400 miles from Newfoundland.Advertisement
The wreckage sat undisturbed for more than 70 years until the US Navy discovered it during what was later revealed to be a secret Cold War mission on September 1, 1985. Since then, dozens of manned and unmanned submersibles have visited the Titanic's underwater remains.
The expedition captured ultra high-definition 4K footage, which could help researchers create 3D models of the ship, assess the Titanic's current condition, and make projections about its future.Because the Titanic isn't timeless.In fact, scientists think the entire shipwreck could vanish by 2030 due to bacteria that's eating away at the metal. The following photographs reveal the Titanic's deteriorating conditions.Advertisement
"Yes, like all things, eventually, Titanic will vanish entirely. It will take a long time before the ship completely disappears, but the decomposition of the wreck is to be expected and is a natural process," Patrick Laney, president and co-founder of Triton Submarines, told Business Insider.
Since Laney had never visited the wreck before, he couldn't gauge wreck's condition based on personal observations. But many experts agree that the ship looks very different than it did during previous expeditions.Advertisement
Deep-sea currents, salt corrosion, and metal-eating bacteria are whittling away the wreckage, which lies more than 2 miles under the ocean surface.
Microbial biologist Lori Johnston told USA Today that much of the deterioration comes from a group of bacteria, named Halomonas titanicae after the ship, which are "working symbiotically to eat, if you will, the iron and the sulfur."Advertisement
Henrietta Mann, the scientist who co-discovered these bacteria in 2010, told Time that based on this new expedition footage, the Titanic has only 30 years left before it disappears.
The speed of the Titanic's deterioration increases as the ship's upper levels crumble, Mann said.Advertisement
One such collapse demolished one of the wreck's most famous sections: Captain Edward Smith's quarters.
Now, the room and the bathtub can no longer be seen — they're lost in the inaccessible depths of the wreck.Advertisement
The recent Triton submarine footage will be used in an upcoming documentary film by Atlantic Productions.
It won't be the first high-tech reconstruction of the Titanic wreckage — this 360-degree panorama went on display in Leipzig, Germany two years ago. But given the rate of the ship's erosion, the panorama is no longer accurate.Advertisement
For his part, Laney said there was nothing surprising about the condition of the Titanic.
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