Monday, 22 Apr 2024

Incredible 3D scan of Titanic reveals wreck as never seen before

A ‘digital twin’ of the Titanic has been created using 700,000 images of the famous wreck, providing an eerie never-before-seen view of the ship in its final resting place.

The ‘unsinkable’ Titanic, which sank on April 14, 1912, after striking an iceberg, lies 12,500ft beneath the waves in the north Atlantic. More than 1,500 people died – around 70% of the passengers and crew on board.

However, while survivor testimonials at the time provided evidence about the accident, there are still questions over what exactly happened on that fateful night – questions Titanic analyst Parks Stephenson hopes to be able to answer with the aid of the 3D digital scan.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Stephenson said the model was ‘one of the first major steps to driving the Titanic story towards evidence-based research – and not speculation’.

While numerous crews have explored the wreck since it was located, due to the murky gloom at the bottom of the ocean, only small sections of the ship have been visible at any one time.

But last summer, deep-sea mapping company Magellan Ltd and Atlantic Productions, which is making a documentary following the project, teamed up to create the incredible 3D reconstruction.

The team spent more than 200 hours surveying and capturing the wreck using submersibles, taking hundreds of thousands of images and piecing them together.

‘The depth of it, almost 4,000m, represents a challenge, and you have currents at the site, too – and we’re not allowed to touch anything so as not to damage the wreck,’ Magellan’s Gerhard Seiffert told the BBC.


‘And the other challenge is that you have to map every square centimetre – even uninteresting parts, like on the debris field you have to map mud, but you need this to fill in between all these interesting objects.’

Details discovered include unopened champagne bottles, shoes, and a serial number on one of the propellers.

The Titanic in numbers

3 years to build

882.75ft long

92.5ft wide

3 propellers

7 decks

20 lifeboats – only enough for a third of the passengers

735 first-class passenger capacity

674 second-class passenger capacity

1,026 crew capacity

1,503 losses, 815 passengers and 688 crew

‘It allows you to see the wreck as you can never see it from a submersible, and you can see the wreck in its entirety, you can see it in context and perspective,’ said Mr Stephenson. ‘And what it’s showing you now is the true state of the wreck.’

The Titanic lies on the seabed in two parts, about 2,600ft (800m) apart. The bow, or front of the ship, remains in remarkably good shape after plunging from the surface, but the stern, or back, did not fare so well.

In addition to damage on the night, Titanic is slowly disintegrating as ocean microbes break down the wreck.

However, the new scan will preserve Titanic in its 2023 state – and could answer once and for all the mysteries of the world’s most famous sinking.

Speaking to BBC Today on Radio 4, Mr Stephenson added: ‘I’m suspicious of the narrative we’ve become accustomed to over the past century, and I basically question whether or not the iceberg hit along the side as we’ve all come to accept.

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‘I’m seeing a growing amount of evidence in recent years that suggests Titanic actually grounded, running over a submerged ice shelf of the iceberg. That was actually the first scenario proposed in 1912, but was soon buried by this 300ft gash torn out of the bottom, and that turned into the bumping along the side [theory] we’ve all seen today.

‘There’s still much to learn from the wreck, which is essentially the last surviving eyewitness to the disaster.

‘She has stories to tell.’

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