Titanic anniversary: the talk is all about the rivets

It is as clear as the waters of the North Atlantic were the Titanic sank 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland:  what sank the “unsinkable”  Titanic is  rivet failure.  Recovered rivets from  the 12,000 foot deep wreck  show that the ones in place where the iceberg struck were not of pure steel but of either a substandard grade steel  or a mixture of iron and steel.  Due to the large number of rivets  required ( in the millions)  for both the Titanic and  its sister ship the Olympic,  foundries were in short supply of steel rivets.

This video shows the Titanic’s rivets and tests  simulating rivet failure:


Marine forensics investigators use maps of the wreck field to come up with hypotheses; then they  spend months proving or disproving each theory. Amazingly, or maybe not, eye witness testimony provides some of the most important data. Titanic survivors who reported seeing the iceberg, validated what might  has been studied by scientists for years without proof.  As in Andrea Doria survivor,  I was astonished to hear marine forensic scientists admit to this– even after interviewing many survivors for my book,  Alive on the Andrea Doria.  Because of my respect for science and technology,  I assumed that the iceberg theory  would be a no-brainer to validate.  Not true at all!  I will continue to interview Doria survivors to piece together all the missing links.

The following video discusses the challenges posed to marine forensic  researchers:


As I continue to work with the steering committee planning the first international marine forensic symposium of 2012 ( to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the Titanic),  I am deeply committed to  perpetuating safety on  our seas.  Historic shipwrecks can provide valuable clues of future  ocean transportation.

Posted in Andrea Doria, Serving our Seas, Survivor Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Response to Titanic anniversary: the talk is all about the rivets

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