by Jessica Reppert
For nearly 75 years, Titanic lay, undisturbed, in the icy depths of the sea. It wasn’t until 1985 that the ship’s final resting place was finally discovered by a team of scientists led by Dr. Robert Ballard.
On July 1, 1985, Ballard and his team embarked on a two part mission attempting to locate Titanic at the rumored area where the ship sank in the North Atlantic. Ballard and his team were on board a research vessel, Le Suroit, towing a “state-of-the-art side scan sonar system, which was capable of making 3,000 feet sweeps of the ocean floor in each pass,” (Titanic-titanic.com). Le Suroit spent ten days in the area of the sinking with the team of scientists studying what seemed like endless print-outs from the scanner, but still Titanic’s resting place was a mystery.
On Augst 7, Le Suroit was required elsewhere, so Ballard and many other scientists transferred to another research vessel, Knorr. This second vessel allowed scientists to continue their search when they arrived back at the area of Titanic’s sinking on August 22, 1985. Knorr was equipped with a different search technique, a “sled-like device called ‘Argo’, which was laden with TV cameras and towed just above the seabed, two-and-a-half miles below, looking for debris from the wreck, rather than the ship itself,” (Titanic-titanic.com). Images were sent back and viewed live from a small booth on the Knorr, which was watched endlessly by the alert scientists.
In the early morning hours of September 1, 1985, the scientists noticed the seabed began to look different than usual. “Instead of the usual curves and ripples of the never-ending mud and sand, unusual marks, coupled with small chunks of what were obviously man-made debris began to appear before the amazed scientists glued to the screens,” (Titanic-titanic.com).
Not long after, larger items came into view, including the massive boiler of a ship. “The Titanic, elusive for so long, and considered to be always a part of the past, was now a part of the present,” (Titanic-titanic.com).
Check out some of these awesome videos of Dr. Ballard’s discovery of the Titanic:
- NOAA Titanic Expedition 2004 – Wreck Footage
- “Return to Titanic” (2005 National Geographic Full-Length Special)
- “Last Mysteries of the Titanic” (2005 Discovery Channel Extended Edition Special)
- “Titanic: Death of a Dream” (1994 A&E Full-Length Special – Part 1)