Analysis by Rossella Lorenzi
Mon Apr 2, 2012 08:41 AM ET
A perfect storm of fateful events conspired to cause the tragic sinking of the Titanic nearly a century ago, according to a study looking at the math and physics behind the tragedy.
Bound from Southampton to New York, the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, 1912, on her unfortunate maiden voyage. Within three hours, she sank to a depth of about 13,000 feet and more than two-thirds of the 2,224 passengers and crew perished at sea.
Had the "unsinkable" luxury liner stayed afloat longer, the tragic loss of life could have been mitigated by rescue ships getting to the disaster scene.
"This is the real question of the Titanic mystery: How could a 46,000-ton ship sink so quickly?" science writer Richard Corfield wrote in the current issue of Physics World.
Taking an in-depth look at the structural deficiencies of the ship and the events of April 14, 1912, Corfield concluded that "no one thing conspired to send Titanic to the bottom of the Atlantic."
"It was a classic 'event cascade,'" Corfield told Discovery News.