Scientists are probing the origins of the iceberg that sank the Titanic, believing it came from a small glacier cluster in southwest Greenland with snow falling up to 100,000 years ago.
Earth system science professor Grant Bigg of Sheffield University combined observations obtained from 1912 — the year of the Titanic's sinking during its maiden voyage — and modern data on ocean currents and winds. He will be presenting his findings at the Cambridge Science Festival, which started Mar. 7.
According to Bigg, they have a computer model to calculate the icebergs' paths in any given year.
"We take what we know about ocean currents, then add in meteorological readings for that year to calculate the prevailing winds," he says in a Sunday Times report. He revealed that applying those methods to 1912 points to the iceberg emerging from around Qassimiut on the southwest Greenland coast.
The iceberg that sank the Titanic on Apr. 14, 1912, which killed at least 1,517 individuals, was estimated to be 400 feet in length and 100 feet above the ocean surface, giving it 1.5 metric tons in estimated size.
The iceberg, however, had been melting into the water for months prior to the incident. Bigg estimated that it was likely significantly bigger, or around 1,700 feet long and 75 metric tons in weight.
Theory has it that the said icebergs broke away from a glacier back in 1908, when a warmer-temperature winter prompted enhanced ice melting. Others believe that high tides, sunspots, as well as a supermoon that occurred in that fateful year probably dislodged the iceberg.
1912, too, was also speculated to be a dangerous year at sea. In his new book "Icebergs," Bigg wrote that extensive ice, which traveled much farther south than expected, was widely documented around the time of the Titanic's misfortune.
Among the most striking images of the disaster was of the iceberg on the morning of the sinking, taken by the liner Prinze Adelbert's chief steward. The iceberg was situated off the coast of Newfoundland, with newspaper reports saying that the iceberg section above the waterline was up to 100 feet high and up to 400 feet long.
The man reportedly saw a line of red paint along the bottom of the iceberg, believed to be where it touched the Titanic,as confirmed by the iceberg marks, the location, and eyewitness accounts. At that time, he was unaware that it had been the culprit behind the tragedy.