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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Wed, 14.04.21 13:00
ES Picture of the Day 14 2021
EPOD - a service of USRA

The Earth Science Picture of the Day (EPOD) highlights the diverse processes
and phenomena which shape our planet and our lives. EPOD will collect and
archive photos, imagery, graphics, and artwork with short explanatory
captions and links exemplifying features within the Earth system. The
community is invited to contribute digital imagery, short captions and
relevant links.

Ocean Eddies and the Titanic Disaster

April 14, 2021

MILA eddy2

Mila_MODIS_e11 (002)

Photographer: Mila Zinkova
Summary Author: Mila Zinkova

Eddies, or circular currents, play an important role in the
ocean's circulation. They can be meters in diameter, as shown above on
the top photo, or hundreds of kilometers across (bottom photo), a
satellite image that shows plankton blooming in the north Atlantic
Ocean, around the area where the Titanic sunk. Note that the plankton
outlines currents as well as tongues of water having different

Today is the 109^th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. Eddies were a
significant element in the Titanic's disaster. Not only were
eddies responsible for transporting the icebergs and sea ice to the
wreck site, but they could have played a decisive role in the inaction
of the California, a nearby steamer. Californian's second officer,
Herbert Stone, testified that the steamer he was watching was changing
her bearing and eventually steamed away. During the Titanic inquiry,
Stone stated: "A steamer that is in distress does not steam away from
you, my Lord."

On the other hand, the fourth officer of the Titanic, Joseph Boxhall,
who was watching the Californian from the sinking Titanic, testified
that at first the Californian was approaching and later leaving the
stricken liner. For many years, authors writing about the Titanic and
Titanic disaster investigators have struggled to figure out how it was
possible for two stopped steamers to move towards and/or away from each
other. In 2018 I published an article, in which I suggested that
the Californian could have drifted in an eddy. In fact, both Titanic
and Californian could have drifted in different sets of currents and/or
different eddies. Eddies are very common in the area where the Titanic
went down, and it's possible they were present on that fateful night.
Here's a video to see the eddies in motion.

Another confirmation of an unusual drift comes from the position of the
Carpathia (the rescue ship). When the Californian's officers first saw
the Titanic she was located south-southeast of the Californian.
However, in the morning the Carpathia was located south of the
Californian. If the Californian, the Titanic and the Titanic's
lifeboats were drifting in the same set of currents, the Carpathia
should have been located south-southeast of Californian, just as the
Titanic was a few hours before.

Top photo taken on September 8, 2018. Bottom photo is a MODIS satellite
image taken on March 9, 2002.

* Titanic Disaster Coordinates: 41.72555, -49.94694

Related EPODs

Ocean Eddies and the Titanic Disaster SpaceX Test Flight
Lunar Meteorite NWA 7986 Refraction of Sound Waves Archive
- Expansion Cracks Encore - Snell's Window

Applied Sciences Links

* BBC: World Water Crisis
* Indoor Air Quality
* Mathematics in Nature
* A Mathematical Nature Walk
* NASA: Applied Earth Sciences
* Remote Sensing Tutorial

Earth Science Picture of the Day is a service of the Universities
Space Research Association.

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