Where Did The Titanic Sink?

Updated on March 19, 2018
melbel profile image

Melanie has a BS in Physical Science from Purdue Northwest and has an interest in computational research in protein folding.

The last known photo of RMS Titanic taken on its maiden voyage April 12, 1912. Only three days later, the ship would collide with an iceberg, with over 1,500 passengers (including the captain) perishing.
The last known photo of RMS Titanic taken on its maiden voyage April 12, 1912. Only three days later, the ship would collide with an iceberg, with over 1,500 passengers (including the captain) perishing.

Where the Titanic sank

The Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean roughly 400 miles (that's 640 km) southeast of the coast of Newfoundland. The bow of the ship was found at 41°43'57" N, 49°56'49" W and the stern was located at 41°43'35" N, 49°56'54" W.

It's well-known that the Titanic sank as a result of a collision with an iceberg1, but what you might not know is where it sank. Where did it sink in relation to her last port of call? What was her last port of call? Where was the Titanic headed? How far from her destination was the Titanic?

The Titanic slipped under the icy waters (roughly 28° F) of the Northern Atlantic ocean in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. It took researchers years to find the Titanic wreckage. She was not seen again until September of 1985 when researchers on the vessel Knorr were able to identify debris of the boiler.2 Research teams had been hindered by the fact that the Titanic's final resting place was nowhere near the location of her final distress call. After searching for the wrecked vessel, Dr. Robert Ballard found the first remnants of the ship located 13 miles southeast of the location of the last distress call.3

Photos of icebergs found on April 15, 1912, close to where the Titanic sank. A red streak of paint scraped along the base of one, serves as an indication that it had collided with a vessel within the previous 12 hours.
Photos of icebergs found on April 15, 1912, close to where the Titanic sank. A red streak of paint scraped along the base of one, serves as an indication that it had collided with a vessel within the previous 12 hours.

Where the Titanic is Located

As the Titanic was sinking, the bow and stern separated due to the structural stress placed on the ship. This caused the contents of the ship to be strewn across the ocean floor in a debris field spanning roughly 2000 feet.

The bow of the Titanic, which is the larger section of the wreckage, was found at 41°43'57" N, 49°56'49" W. The ship's stern was located at 41°43'35" N, 49°56'54" W. The final resting place for the ship's boilers is at 41°43'32" N, 49°56'49" W.

The Titanic made her final distress call from 41°46'N, 50° 14'.

These coordinates show there is a fairly wide sprawl of the wreckage.

A photograph of Titanic's bow taken in June 2004
A photograph of Titanic's bow taken in June 2004

Where Was the Titanic Going?

The Titanic started her journey in Southampton, England and headed toward Cherbourg, France. From Cherbourg, the Titanic sailed to Queenstown/Cobh, Ireland.

After leaving her final port of call of Cobh, Ireland, the Titanic made her maiden voyage across the Atlantic set to arrive in New York.

The Titanic had already covered more than half of her journey from Cobh and was set to dock at Pier 59 in New York on April 17, 1912.4

The ill-fated voyage across the icy waters ended approximately 1000 miles from New York. However, the Titanic was only within hours of the Lightship Ambrose and only about 375 miles due south of Newfoundland when she had her fateful rendezvous with drifting ice.

The Titanic embarking on her maiden voyage. Photo taken April 10, 1912.
The Titanic embarking on her maiden voyage. Photo taken April 10, 1912.

Where the Titanic traveled

show route and directions
A markerTitanic Wreckage -
get directions

B markerCobh, ireland -
Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland
get directions

C markerSouthampton, UK -
Southampton, UK
get directions

D markerCherbourg, France -
get directions

How Deep is the Titanic Wreckage?

The Titanic currently rests in mud and sediment on the ocean floor, approximately 12,415 feet (2.35 miles) below the waves. That's really deep! The pressure at this depth, paired with the frigid temperatures, makes any exploration and excavation very difficult, not to mention expensive!

Preserving the Titanic

While freezing cold temperatures have, to some extent, helped preserve the Titanic, she is starting to decay and fall apart. Roofs have started to cave-in, decks are becoming weaker, and the stern may even collapse. Because of this, many deep-sea expedition teams are doing what they can to preserve the ship.

Currently, the ship is undergoing sonar mapping which will be used to form a 3D replica of the wreckage. This replica will be used by scientists in order to better study the ship.

Perhaps someday, we will have the technology to bring both the bow and stern of the Titanic to the surface. Currently, many objects from the ship, including coal, metal, dishes, and items owned by the ship's passengers are being brought to the surface. Imagine being able to see the ship in its entirety!

References

  1. Official investigation report - the sinking of RMS Titanic (PDF) (1 ed.). London: The final board of inquiry. Retrieved 4 Feb 2018.

  2. Ballard, Robert D. (1987). The Discovery of the Titanic. New York: Warner Books.

  3. Ballard, Robert D.; Hively, Will (2002). The Eternal Darkness: A Personal History of Deep-Sea Exploration. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  4. "Titanic Ship Listing". Chris' Cunard Page. Retrieved 4 Feb 2018.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Melanie Shebel

    Comments

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      • Faybe Bay profile image

        Faye Constantino 5 years ago from Florida

        Very interesting article! There was a lot of information that I didn't know!

      • profile image

        Miss Kate000 6 years ago

        I love reading stuff about the Titanic, i don't know what it is about it, just has always fascinated me. Interesting article.

      • Curiad profile image

        Mark G Weller 6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

        This is a very interesting hub. As for the question of why the ship rests 13 miles from the last point of radio communication I think is because given the depth of the ocean there, 13000+ feet the parts of the ship would have drifted with the prevailing currents many miles on the way down to the bottom.

      • Global-Chica profile image

        Anna 6 years ago from New York, NY

        Very interesting hub! I thought I knew everything there is to know about the Titanic since I was actually one of those teens who saw the movie X amount of time at the movie theater (too embarrassed to disclose the number, lol!) and then I read books about it and my family and I happened to go on a cruise the following summer up north where one of the stops was in Halifax, so of course I explored the Titanic exhibition and went to the cemetery, amazed to have found a grave belonging to a Jack Dawson. I didn't know though that the ship made stops in France and Ireland before heading to NY. I recently heard that an exact replica of the Titanic is being built and will set sail in 2016!

      • Daisy Mariposa profile image

        Daisy Mariposa 6 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

        Melanie,

        Thanks for publishing another well-researched, well-written Hub. I've read other articles about the disaster, but I learned some new things from your Hub.

      • Teresa Coppens profile image

        Teresa Coppens 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        my family visited athe naval museum in Halifax where there is a rather extensive Titanic exhibit. it was amazing and extremely icompelling. One of the cemeteries in Halifax was the burial site for many of the victims including an unidentified infant who still receives mementoes laid by the gravesite. Interesting and timely hub Mel. They just had a hundred year memorial of the disaster in Halifax.

      • diogenes profile image

        diogenes 6 years ago from UK and Mexico

        Good treatment of this evergreen subject. Some friends just went to the site on a cruise and stopped above where she went down and held a service.

        Great movie, too.

        Bob

      • wowsite1234 profile image

        wowsite1234 6 years ago from Moncks Corner, SC

        Great Article. Can't wait to see the mechanics of the new Titanic.

      • RealHousewife profile image

        Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

        Awesome Mel! I love the Titanic - one of mu daughters is absolutely fascinated with it. She's read a lot about it and seen the movie several times. I wish they would have the exhibit at our Science Center again - I'd love to take her. I took her to see the exhibit for a Pirate ship exhibit and ship wreckage - it was pretty cool. She loved it!

        I am going to let her read your hub after school I know she will find it really neat! Thanks!

      • brittanytodd profile image

        Brittany Kennedy 6 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

        It's always been a dream of mine to visit the wreckage of some sunken ship in a submarine. Although the devastating events that caused the Titanic to sink are grim to think about, I really enjoyed reading your hub and dreaming about seeing the submerged remains of such a historical event. It saddens me to think that I would be damaging the ship by visiting it, so it's cool that you added such interesting photos to accompany this well-written hub.

        Excellent hub, Mel! Voted up, shared, etc.

      • stephhicks68 profile image

        Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

        Very cool Hub! Lots of great information on the Titanic's current location and why she remains at the bottom of the ocean. Rated up!

      • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

        ThoughtSandwiches 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

        hi melbel,

        Interesting information. I understand that quite a bit of the damage has been caused by site seers. Some of the structural damage was caused when a wedding couple got married on a submarine which landed on the deck (thus crushing it). There is a plan afoot to paint the ship with a special type of paint that will help preserve it.

        Great job,

        Thomas

        PS...did you hear about the rich-assed Australian dude who is building a Titanic II? He announced it today.

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