Where Did the Titanic Sink?

Updated on October 16, 2019
melbel profile image

Melanie has a BS in physical science and is in grad school for analytics & modeling.

On April 15th, 1912, "the ship of dreams" collided with an iceberg and sank. This resulted in over 1,500 crew and passenger deaths.
On April 15th, 1912, "the ship of dreams" collided with an iceberg and sank. This resulted in over 1,500 crew and passenger deaths. | Source

It's well-known that the Titanic sank as a result of a collision with an iceberg, but what you might not know is where it sank. Where exactly was the Titanic when she plunged below the ocean's surface? What was her last port of call? Where was she headed? How far was she from her final destination when she sank?

When Did the Titanic Sink?

The Titanic disembarked on her maiden voyage on April 10th, 1912. Mere days later, the ship collided with an iceberg. Sometime in the early morning hours of April 15th, she slipped under the icy waters (which were roughly 28° F) of the North Atlantic. Over 1,500 passengers and crew (including the captain) perished.

When Was the Wreckage Located?

It took researchers years to find the Titanic's wreckage. She was not seen again until September of 1985 when researchers on the vessel Knorr were able to identify debris from the ship's boilers.

This is the last known photo of RMS Titanic. It was taken on April 12th, 1912 during the vessel's maiden voyage.
This is the last known photo of RMS Titanic. It was taken on April 12th, 1912 during the vessel's maiden voyage.

Where Was the Titanic Found?

Research teams were initially hindered by the fact that the Titanic's final resting place was nowhere near the location of her last distress call. After searching for the wrecked vessel for some time, Dr. Robert Ballard found the first remnants 13 miles southeast of the location of the final distress call.

As it turns out, the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean roughly 400 miles (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.

A Mark on an Iceberg

An iceberg with a red streak of paint along its base was found on April 15th, 1912, close to where the Titanic sank some 12 hours earlier.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is a photo of an iceberg found on April 15th, 1912, close to where the Titanic sank.A streak of red paint left scraped along the base of one of the icebergs indicated that it had collided with a vessel within the previous 12 hours.
This is a photo of an iceberg found on April 15th, 1912, close to where the Titanic sank.
This is a photo of an iceberg found on April 15th, 1912, close to where the Titanic sank.
A streak of red paint left scraped along the base of one of the icebergs indicated that it had collided with a vessel within the previous 12 hours.
A streak of red paint left scraped along the base of one of the icebergs indicated that it had collided with a vessel within the previous 12 hours.

Where Is the Titanic's Wreckage?

As the Titanic was sinking, the bow and stern separated as a result of structural stresses on the ship. This caused the vessel's contents to be strewn across the ocean floor in a debris field spanning roughly 2000 feet.

The bow of the Titanic, which comprises the largest piece 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 of the ship's boilers was at 41°43'32" N, 49°56'49" W. The Titanic made her final distress call from 41°46' N, 50°14' W.

This is a photograph of Titanic's bow taken in June 2004
This is a photograph of Titanic's bow taken in June 2004

Where Was the Titanic Going?

The Titanic started her journey in Southampton, England headed toward Cherbourg, France. From Cherbourg, the Titanic sailed to Cobh (then known as Queenstown), Ireland. After leaving Cobh—her final port of call—the Titanic made her maiden voyage across the Atlantic bound for New York, USA.

How Far Was the Titanic From Her Destination When She Sank?

By the time she collided with the iceberg, 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 17th, 1912. The ill-fated voyage across the icy waters ended approximately 1000 miles from New York. The Titanic was within mere hours of the Lightship Ambrose and only about 375 miles due south of Newfoundland when she had her fateful rendezvous with the drifting chunk of ice that caused her demise.

This photo of the Titanic embarking on her maiden voyage was taken on April 10th, 1912.
This photo of the Titanic embarking on her maiden voyage was taken on April 10th, 1912.

How Deep Is the Titanic's Wreckage?

The Titanic currently rests in mud and sediment on the ocean floor approximately 12,415 feet (2.35 miles) below the surface. That's incredibly deep! The pressure and frigid temperature at this depth make exploration and excavation efforts extremely difficult, dangerous, and costly.

Map of the Titanic's Route

A
Southampton, UK:

get directions

B
Cherbourg, France:

get directions

C
Cobh, ireland:

get directions

D
The Titanic's Wreckage:

get directions

What Is Being Done to Preserve The Titanic's Remains?

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

The vessel is currently undergoing sonar mapping, which will later 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 recovered and brought to the surface. Imagine being able to see the ship in its entirety!

References

  • Official investigation report - the sinking of RMS Titanic (PDF) (1 ed.). London: The final board of inquiry. Retrieved 4 Feb 2018.
  • Ballard, Robert D. (1987). The Discovery of the Titanic. New York: Warner Books.
  • Ballard, Robert D.; Hively, Will (2002). The Eternal Darkness: A Personal History of Deep-Sea Exploration. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • "Titanic Ship Listing". Chris' Cunard Page. Retrieved 4 Feb 2018.

Questions & Answers

  • Where is the Titanic now?

    The Titanic is still at the bottom of the ocean, in its final resting place.

© 2012 Melanie Palen

Comments

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    • profile image

      SARAH REMMEL 

      6 months ago

      I know, all about-the, RMS Titanic. I read books, about it, & I own, lots of, Titanic DVDs, books, & I, own the, 1997 movie, on video, & DVD, I also, saw the, Titanic musical, way back in, the year 2000. I really liked, reading this, Titanic article. It is, very interesting, reading about, the RMS Titanic.

    • profile image

      Murray Leonard 

      7 months ago

      Nice informative article.

      @Shubb Baronsdale - Are you a Scot by any chance?

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 

      7 years ago from Florida

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

    • profile image

      Miss Kate000 

      7 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.

    • profile image

      Curiad 

      7 years ago

      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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 years ago from Moncks Corner, SC

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

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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 

      7 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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