Is the Wreck of the Titanic Being Properly Preserved?

When the wreck of the RMS Titanic was finally found at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean in 1985 -- about 2.3 miles (3.8 km) below the surface, after more than 70 years -- it was in pretty good shape, all things considered. Thirty years later, though, scientists discovered that the hull of the doomed luxury liner was being eaten by a species of bacteria now known as Halomonas titanicae. This newfound metal-eating species can survive in the harshest of conditions, such as the Titanic’s final resting place, amid crushing pressure and no sunlight. Scientists predict that the remains of the shipwreck may disappear completely in the next few decades.

The ocean's bottom feeders:

  • In 1991, scientists from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, collected icicle-like rust formations hanging from the ship. Analysis of the “rusticles” led to the discovery of this new form of bacterial life.

  • Oceanographer Robert Ballard discovered the Titanic by accident. He was working on a secret U.S. Navy project, searching for the wrecks of two nuclear submarines sunk during the Cold War.

  • Microbes colonize shipwrecks almost immediately after they come to rest. The microbes build sticky films called “biofilms” over every surface. These films are beneficial to corals, sponges and mollusks, which attract larger animals.

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More Info: BBC

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