How did the Titanic sink?
New research indicates the ship foundered after suffering six narrow gashes, not one large one, as thought. Computer calculations, help reveal the detailed stages:
When the Titanic struck the iceberg, six of its 16 watertight compartments were damaged. The ship started taking on water in the bow through openings about 20 feet below the water line.
As the liner nosed down, water flooded compartments one after another and the ship's stern began rising out of the water.
As the stern rose ever higher, the stress amidships was more than the vessel could bear. It broke apart just forward of the third funnel. The bow began to sink.
With the bow gone, the stern temporarily settled back to nearly level. The stern then rapidly flooded and rose out of the water, pivoting on the surface. It held that vertical position about a minute and then slowly slipped beneath the surface.
The bow section sank gently and plowed into the mud. The stern's impact was more traumatic: when it hit bottom, it buried itself some 50 feet, crumpling the steel hull.
Times art by Cristina Martinez
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St. Petersburg Times.
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