Moon might have been the cause of Titanic disaster
A new study has suggested that gravitational forces caused by an alignment of the Moon and Sun may have pushed icebergs into the path of Titanic.
Texas State University researchers investigated a previous research by the late oceanographer Fergus Wood which indicated that an unusually close approach by the moon in January 1912 may have produced high tides which helped icebergs separate from Greenland and float into shipping lanes.
"The lunar connection may explain how an unusually large number of icebergs got into the path of the Titanic," said lead researcher Donald Olson.
Results showed that several factors were involved in the formation of such strong gravitational fields including the alignment of the moon and sun on January 4, 1912, the moon's closest approach to Earth in the same month and Earth's closest approach to the sun in a year that had happened just the previous day.
"This configuration maximized the moon's tide-raising forces on the Earth's oceans," Olson said.
Findings also show that the iceberg that the Titanic struck must have broken off from Greenland in January 1912 to reach the shipping lanes by mid-April.
“The high tide caused by the bizarre combination of astronomical events would have been enough to dislodge icebergs and give them enough buoyancy to reach the shipping lanes by April,” Olson added.
Titanic was an Olympic-class passenger liner, which struck an iceberg during her maiden voyage from England to New York in 1912, bringing death to more than 1,500 people.
The research will appear in the April issue of the magazine Sky & Telescope.