Icebergs are massive bodies of ice, with most of their mass underwater. The iceberg that sank the Titanic was undoubtedly strong enough to bring down an entire ship. But is the iceberg still around?
No, the iceberg that sank the Titanic probably melted sometime around 1910–1911. Icebergs don’t have a long lifespan, and it’s a wonder how the Titanic iceberg traveled so far ahead of the South before melting.
Keep reading below as we discuss this in more detail and answer other common questions about the Titanic iceberg.
Is the Titanic Iceberg Still Around?
The iceberg didn’t last long before it melted. Since the Titanic went down in the North Atlantic rather than the Arctic, currents must have carried it well south of where it originally broke off. It likely made its way from Baffin Bay on Greenland’s coast through Davis Strait, the Labrador Sea, and finally the Atlantic Ocean.
When it comes to icebergs, the one that sank the Titanic was one of the lucky ones because most of them melt well before they get that far south. Only one percent of the 15,000–30,000 icebergs that the Greenland glaciers calve each year actually make it all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, according to estimates. The iceberg was located around 5,100 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle on April 15, 1912.
It was estimated that the water temperature on the night that the Titanic sank was approximately 28 degrees Fahrenheit, which is slightly below freezing. This was obviously fatally cold for the passengers, who had to swim out to safety from the sinking ship.
However, temperatures of this kind are much too high to allow icebergs to exist for any significant amount of time. The typical lifespan of an iceberg in the North Atlantic is a mere two to three years, from the time it is born until it melts away.
This indicates that it most likely separated from Greenland in the years 1910 or 1911 and that it melted into the ocean for good by the end of 1912 or some time in the year 1913. The iceberg that sank the Titanic probably melted before World War I broke out, becoming an inconsequential puddle of freshwater adrift in the North Atlantic.
Can Today’s Ships Survive the Iceberg that Sank the Titanic?
It is unlikely that modern ships would have been able to survive the Titanic iceberg. If, on a quiet, pitch-black night like the one the Titanic encountered, a cutting-edge cruise ship like an oasis-type liner, among the biggest and most extravagant in history, was traveling at full speed (similar to the Titanic) and suffered a technological failure that tapped out its radar and sonar, leaving them dependent on lookouts, it would be doomed for sure.
Turning modern ships of that size is considerably more difficult. In 2023, it is true that communication between the bridge and the engine room will be simplified for a variety of reasons, but you are still going to need to reverse the engines and move the ship away from the berg.
When you think about it, an iceberg is a lot like a mountain. Even a cutting-edge ship would be in danger on such a surface.
In contrast to the Titanic, modern liners are joined together using welding rather than riveting. However, the hull would still buckle if it made such a violent impact with an iceberg, and assuming she strikes and the bow receives a significant amount of damage, the ship will sink.
Take the case of the Costa Concordia as an example.
If a ship the size of an oasis-class liner, which is far larger than the Costa, had the same amount of damage as the Titanic did, she might sink at a slower rate. The ships’ upper decks are enormous in size. It has 15–20 stories. As a result, floods would be delayed. But it would definitely sink.
However, given the sophistication of today’s gadgets, it would take a lot to miss the iceberg. It is more likely that a large cruise ship would run into some kind of obstruction, such as rocks, capsize in a storm, etc.
How Come No One on the Titanic Noticed the Iceberg?
The captain and lookouts eventually did notice the iceberg, which is why the ship went down; specifically, it hit the ship’s side instead of the bow as they tried to steer clear of it and almost succeeded in doing so.
They hadn’t noticed it until then since it was a “black berg.” To clarify, icebergs are composed of freshwater ice that only melts at air temperatures over 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but as it moves southward, the higher temperature of the water forces the bottom to melt (in the case of the Titanic, the temperature of the water was 28 F, and freshwater ice breaks down in seawater over 19 F), whereas the freshwater ice above the water does not melt.
As a result, the iceberg becomes top-heavy and eventually capsizes, leaving behind just the “black ice” that was previously located on the bottom.
That’s why it’s sometimes referred to as a “black berg.”
There were no waves smashing into the base of the iceberg to show it up, which is what the lookouts had been looking for along with the white ice that other ships had noticed. Obviously, this is much more difficult to notice at night, particularly when there is no moon, especially on dead quiet seas. The Titanic did, in fact, head south in an effort to avoid the ice, a decision that ultimately proved fatal.
They attempted to steer away from it at the worst possible moment; nonetheless, a straight head-on impact would have been preferable to a side collision, which caused the ship to sink by leaving a 300-foot hole in the hull that extended over three of the largest watertight compartments.
In conclusion, the iceberg that sank the Titanic is no longer around but has melted into the ocean and is now an insignificant puddle of water. The remains of the ship, however, still remain on the ocean floor after it sank.