Lonely Planet Writer

New research discovers Titanic iceberg was 100,000 years old

The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 was caused by a 100,000-year-old iceberg, scientists now believe.

Iceberg which sank the titanic was a monster, originally 1,700ft long and weighing
The iceberg which sank the Titanic on its maiden crossing to New York in April 2012 was “a monster”, originally 1,700ft long and weighing about 75 million tonnes
Image by Sterling College / CC BY 2.0

The discovery was made after researchers studying the origins of the floating glacier cross-checked information on ocean currents and 104-year-old witness descriptions. Having carefully retraced the journey of the iceberg, experts say it originated in snow that formed glaciers in Greenland 100,000 years ago.

According to the South African Sunday Times, when the Titanic was struck during its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, the iceberg it collided with was 400ft long and rose to about 100ft above water. The research team believe that the massive glacier drifted down from the Qassimiut region of Southwest Greenland. Its collision with the ship caused the death of 1,517 passengers on 14 April 1912 and lead to criticism about the lack of safety precautions on the vessel.

Professor Grant Bigg of Sheffield University used computer modelling to work out where the iceberg had originated.  The Daily Mirror reports that the glacier weighed an estimated 75 million tonnes, after starting out at 1,700ft in length. The findings were disclosed at the Cambridge Science Festival, where it was explained how researchers had taken observations from 1912 and added modern data. Prof Bigg said that by applying those techniques, they discovered that the iceberg was “a monster.”