The Titanic’s wreck was discovered on the ocean floor in 1985 and has been studied closely ever since. To mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking, James Cameron, the director of the famous film Titanic, gathered a team of experts to examine the shipwreck again. They used 3D modelling and state-of-the-art technology to find out how the Titanic sank.
When the Titanic hit the iceberg, there was a big hole in its hull and water began filling the lower parts of the ship. But James Cameron says that the ship could have sunk more slowly, allowing a greater number of people to survive. Many of the ship’s portholes were found open. Experts think passengers opened these windows to air their rooms and then never closed them. So the ship took on water faster. The same thing happened in one of the grand halls, where a large door was found open. The ship’s second officer had ordered to open it during the evacuation and it stayed open — letting water quickly fill the ship’s lower half. ‘The door was twice the size of the hole caused by the iceberg,’ James says. ‘That sped up the sinking of the ship.’
As the Titanic took on water, the nose of the ship sank below the surface. This caused the back to lift into the air. Soon the stress was too great and the ship broke in half. ‘It’s as if someone held the ends of a banana and broke it in two,’ says James Cameron.
But the Titanic didn’t sink exactly the way he described it in the film. ‘There was probably a moment where it was standing up in the water, but it wasn’t as dramatic and static as we showed in the film. It probably wasn’t straight up, it was probably at an angle.’
In its final resting place 4,6 kilometres underwater, the front part looks surprisingly intact. But the back looks like a bomb destroyed it. That’s because the nose was filled with water when it sank, so the pressure was the same on the inside as the outside. The back part, however, sank with lots of air inside. It exploded because of the pressure,’ James says.
‘We have a very good picture of what happened,’ James says. ‘But there will always be mysteries.’