The iceberg that sank the Titanic was sent on its deadly path by the closest approach of the moon to the Earth in 1,400 years, say astronomers.
A once-in-a-lifetime lunar event created an super-high tide on January 12, 1912 – setting loose a deadly fleet of icebergs, three months before Titanic sank on April 14, 1912 with the loss of approximately 1,500 lives.
The tide dislodged icebergs from shallow waters off the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland, filling shipping lanes with icebergs.
The ice field in the area the Titanic sank was so thick with icebergs responding rescue ships were forced to slow down.
‘The event January 4 was the closest approach of the Moon to the Earth in more than 1,400 years, and it maximized the Moon’s tide-raising forces on Earth’s oceans. That’s remarkable,’ said Texas State physics faculty member Donald Olson.
The ‘once-in-many-lifetimes’ event brought together the Moon’s closest approach to the Earth for 1,400 years, a near encounter between the Earth and the Sun, and a spring tide.
All these factors contributed to abnormally high sea levels which helped dislodge grounded icebergs and send them into the shipping lanes of the North Atlantic, it is claimed.
Normally, icebergs remain in place and cannot resume moving southward until they’ve melted enough to refloat or a high enough tide frees them.