Titanic mystery SOLVED: Strange ‘blip’ detected in 1996 was caused by ‘abyssal ecosystem’


When divers received a mysterious “sonar blip” while diving the remains of the Titanic in 1996, they were puzzled.

At the time, they thought the sonar transmission in the North Atlantic Ocean was caused by a second shipwreck, a geological feature, or something else.

Now, 24 years later, researchers have found that the blip was caused by a rich underwater ecosystem teeming with sponges, corals, lobsters and fish.

Video footage shows the “impressive” environment that has been discovered, more than 9,500 feet (2,900 meters) deep off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

During the 2022 Titanic Expedition, a rich and dense ecosystem was discovered over 9,500 feet (2,900 meters) deep near the wreck of the Titanic.

The ecosystem contains sponges, bamboo corals, other cold water corals, chunky lobsters and fish

The ecosystem contains sponges, bamboo corals, other cold water corals, chunky lobsters and fish

WHAT IS SONAR?

Sonar, short for Sound Navigation and Ranging, is the use of sound waves to “see” underwater.

Sonar is used to explore and map the ocean because sound waves travel further in water than radar and light waves.

Experts use sonar to develop nautical charts, locate underwater navigational hazards, search and map objects on the seabed such as shipwrecks, and map the seabed itself.

Source: NOAA

The mystery has been solved thanks to a new expedition led this summer by OceanGate Expeditions on the remains of the luxury liner.

The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, after colliding with an iceberg, and what is left of it lies on the seabed about 350 nautical miles off Newfoundland.

OceanGate Expeditions said the sonar transmission in 1996 was “uncannily similar” to that of the Titanic, but instead of a sinking, it came from the ecosystem of a previously unknown basalt formation.

The ecosystem, discovered on July 23 this year, is about 25 miles from the famous wreck.

“This discovery will improve the way we think about the biodiversity of the abyss,” said Dr. Steve W Ross, chief scientist of OceanGate Expeditions.

“We are amazed at the diversity and density of sponges, bamboo corals, other cold water corals, stocky lobsters and fish that thrive at 2,900 meters depth in the North Atlantic Ocean.

“The discovery of this previously unknown ecosystem also offers the opportunity to make a comparison with the marine biology on and around the Titanic.”

OceanGate Expeditions said the sonar transmission in 1996 was

OceanGate Expeditions said the sonar transmission in 1996 was “uncannily similar” to that of the Titanic

The Titanic, which sank on April 15, 1912 after colliding with an iceberg, lies on the seabed about 350 nautical miles off Newfoundland, Canada.

The Titanic, which sank on April 15, 1912 after colliding with an iceberg, lies on the seabed about 350 nautical miles off Newfoundland, Canada.

The green lines seen in the video are part of the laser imaging system used aboard the Titan submersible

The green lines seen in the video are part of the laser imaging system used aboard the Titan submersible

A bamboo coral grows slowly, just a few millimeters each year.  The stony branches of a bamboo coral contain thousands of tiny polyps that live and work together

A bamboo coral grows slowly, just a few millimeters each year. The stony branches of a bamboo coral contain thousands of tiny polyps living and working together

DNA analysis of the water samples taken will be analyzed and shared at a later date, the researchers said.

DNA analysis of the water samples taken will be analyzed and shared at a later date, the researchers said.

WW1 U-BOAT WRECK FOUND

The wreck of a long-lost WWI German submarine that sank a century ago has been discovered by a detective diver off the coast of Virginia.

SM U-111 was a 235ft vessel that sank three Allied merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean during her time with the Imperial German Navy.

It sank on August 31, 1922 in waters the US Navy says were 1,600 feet deep, but 100 years later it was found by a remotely operated vehicle.

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This summer’s expedition took place in a submersible called Titan, equipped with cameras that capture ultra-high resolution images to determine the rate of decomposition of the wreck.

In 1996, Paul Henry Nargeolet, a diver who has visited the wreck site in the North Atlantic more than 30 times, discovered the blip.

Nargeolet, who was part of the expedition that returned to the area this summer, said his team didn’t know what they would find.

“On sonar it could have been any number of things, including the possibility of another shipwreck,” he said.

“I was looking for the chance to explore this large object that appeared on sonar so long ago.

“It was amazing to explore this area and discover this fascinating volcanic formation that is teeming with so much life.”

DNA analysis of collected water samples will be analyzed and shared at a later date, the researchers said.

OceanGate Expeditions’ research work around Titanic and the surrounding area will also continue through 2023.

View of the bow of the <a class=RMS Titanic photographed in June 2004 by the ROV Hercules during a return expedition to the wreck of the Titanic” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

View of the bow of the RMS Titanic photographed in June 2004 by the ROV Hercules during a return expedition to the wreck of the Titanic

Built by Belfast-based shipbuilders Harland and Wolff between 1909 and 1912, RMS Titanic was the largest afloat ship of her time.

Owned and operated by the White Star Line, the passenger ship set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 10, 1912.

The liner made two short stops en route to its planned Atlantic crossing – one at the French port of Cherbourg, the other at Cork Harbour, Ireland, where smaller vessels carried passengers aboard and aboard of the Titanic.

Nearly five days into its voyage, the Titanic struck an iceberg at approximately 11:40 p.m. local time, resulting in six narrow openings in the starboard hull of the ship, which are believed to have occurred as a result of the rivets of the shell.

Around 1,500 people are believed to have been lost in the tragedy, including around 815 passengers on the liner.

DISASTER IN THE ATLANTIC: HOW MORE THAN 1,500 PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES WHEN THE TITANIC SANK

The RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912, after colliding with an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

More than 1,500 people died when the ship, which was carrying 2,224 passengers and crew, sank under the command of Captain Edward Smith.

Some of the world’s richest people were on board, including real estate magnate John Jacob Astor IV, great-grandson of John Jacob Astor, founder of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Built by Belfast-based shipbuilders Harland and Wolff between 1909 and 1912, RMS Titanic was the largest afloat ship of her time.

Built by Belfast-based shipbuilders Harland and Wolff between 1909 and 1912, RMS Titanic was the largest afloat ship of her time.

Millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim, heir to his family’s mining business, also perished, as did Isidor Straus, the German-born co-owner of Macy’s department store.

The ship was the largest afloat at the time and was designed in such a way that it was supposed to be ‘unsinkable’.

There was an onboard gym, libraries, a swimming pool, and several first-class restaurants and luxury cabins.

There were not enough lifeboats on board for all passengers due to outdated maritime safety regulations.

After leaving Southampton on April 10, 1912, the Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown in Ireland before heading to New York.

On April 14, 1912, four days into the voyage, she struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. ship’s time.

James Moody was on the night shift when the collision happened and took the caretaker’s call, asking “What do you see?” The man replied, “Iceberg, straight ahead.”

At 2:20 a.m., with hundreds of people still on board, the ship plunged beneath the waves, taking many people with it, including Moody.

Despite repeated distress calls and flares launched from the decks, the first rescue ship, RMS Carpathia, arrived nearly two hours later, pulling more than 700 people from the water.

It was not until 1985 that the wreckage of the ship was discovered in two pieces on the ocean floor.

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