Chapter 3


James Cameron, Chief Baker Charles Joughin, and the Mystery of the "Third




New Years Day, 2006: The documents that follow began to develop in the midst of

a major forensic archaeological investigation in the mid-east - which became an

ironic expedition intrusion, because the field given birth by Sara Bisel of

Herculaneum in 1980 actually entered into adolescence at the Titanic, in 1985

and 1986. During the decade-and-a-half that followed, from the Titanic to Egypt

and Iraq, from the Titanic to Vesuvius and Ground Zero New York, forensic

archaeology became adult.


On 6 December, 2005, a team of deep-ocean researchers announced that they had

discovered two hithertofore unknown pieces of the Titanic's keel lying on the

floor of the Atlantic. The team leader's initial interpretation suggested that

the Titanic had gone under more rapidly than traditionally believed, and that

previously unsuspected physical effects might have been involved. The news

reports reaching me in the desert appeared to be garbled, quoting naval

architect Roger Long as saying that the Titanic's stern sank "faster" than most

people thought, about five minutes after breaking away from the bow section.

According to the 1912 testimony of Chief Baker Charles Joughin, and according to

later discussions memorialized by historian Walter Lord, the stern went under

about three minutes after the break-away from the bow. Reports said that the

"new" hull sections, located about a third of a mile from the stern of the

wreck, contradicted previous researchers who believed the ship broke into only

two major pieces - "which was how the the sinking was depicted in the 1997 film

version of the catastrophe."


An accurate interpretation of history - or at approaching as close as possible

to truth - requires going to firsthand eyewitness participants. Reproduced here

in enough pages to fill a a major scientific monograph is a first-hand

discussion of the break-up of Titanic as revealed by the evidence of the debris

field, illuminated by the accounts of survivors. The relevance of an exercise in

Titanic physics touches on fields ranging from ocean engineering, to human

psychology, to a potentially life-saving understanding of collapse

column-downblast-surge cloud formation during volcanic eruptions.


Not all agree, however. As an example of how opinions may vary, Titanic explorer

Robert Ballard announced that he was unimpressed with the 2005 discoveries, or

with any scientific discussions arising from them. Borrowing a quote from a T

shirt once given to James Cameron (I believe, by restaurateur-historian Lewis

Abernathy [who played the big guy with the beard in the film, Titanic]), Ballard

commented: "They found a fragment. Big deal. Am I surprised? No. When you go

down there, there's stuff all over the place. It hit an iceberg and it sank. Get

over it."


I've often characterized the mysterious magnetic pull this single tragedy has on

humanity as being next of kin to a Greek tragedy written by god with

Shakespeare as his muse. It's an unsinkable subject - and, with all due respect

to Dr. Ballard, the last word will never be written or said, so long as our

civilization exists.


Charles Pellegrino

New York, N.Y. January 2006









Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2005 13:27:38 -0800

To: Charles Pellegrino

From: James Cameron''

Subject: Re: Titanic





I've pasted below a huge email I just sent to the new documentary guy.' It

represents all our current thinking jammed into about two dozen pages of

discussion.' Add to the mix now, if you can, this stuff is being served to the

public soon, baked or half-baked.


Good to hear the new dig is going well.' Tell [name withheld] I'm strapped

trying to get this script done.' Doubt I'll be able to get there (boo hoo).' Do

it [the desert archaeology] right -- there's only one shot at this.


Jim out


To: Kirk

From: James Cameron

Subject: Re: double bottom discussion

Cc: Ken Marschall [Titanic explorer, artist]

Bcc: Parks "Sparks" Stevenson [Titanic explorer, pioneering forensic





I am happy to be involved in the discussion, though after a while you may be

less than happy to have me involved.' I tend to be pretty opinionated, and long

winded about those opinions, when it comes to the Titanic wreck.' However, the

new finds are exciting, the more so because they seem to have brought together a

lot of experts who really want to get to some final answers.


I've studied this wreck, up close and personal, inside and out, on 33 dives and

more than a dozen ROV penetrations over 10 years.' For me, the events of the

sinking are very clear, especially after the two major sections of the ship

leave the surface and through bottom impact and subsequent decay.' The murkiest

area is from the time the lights went out to the time the two major sections

left the surface.' The new bottom sections can shed a fair bit of light on these

few mysterious minutes.


I have pasted below a series of emails which are my answers to some of the

questions and dialogue which have arisen in the last few days. 'I have done a

little editing for clarity, and to spare the feelings of some I really disagree



Make of it what you will.' You are welcome to use any of my analysis as you see

fit.' As you will see I do not agree with some of Roger's conclusions. 'However,

a healthy debate is welcome, and hopefully what emerges will be a robust model,

vetted by all who have expertise in this area, of the sinking of Titanic.


I don't believe the ship sank exactly as we showed it in the film.' Two things

--- first, even in the movie the special effects guys didn't do exactly what I

wanted -- they made the break too clean and simple, with no large-area

deformation -- it was too much like a pencil breaking. I've always seen it as

more a fresh baguette, bending before it tears in two. Also, since then, we have

learned a lot more about the wreck, both inside and out, and I have worked with

the historians to cull the testimony for clues to what has been found, and so

there is a much clearer picture overall.


It is impossible to explain the many features of the bow section of the wreck

without accepting that it moved very rapidly through the water for a relatively

short time with its longitudinal axis very close to the velocity vector.' The

simplest, most elegant (and therefore by Occam's Razor, the most likely)

explanation for this is that the bow fell straight down for a short time.' I

believe this happened as it left the surface, and I believe it happened because

the negative, almost fully flooded bow hinged down from the buoyant stern before

breaking away.'' It either hinged down then broke, or started this process and

broke in the middle of it and then went vertical because of the remaining

buoyancy in unflooded air spaces aft (a righting-moment effect).' In either

case, the break-up did not take place with the ship's back breaking in the

opposite direction as Roger has concluded from looking only at the narrow scope

of evidence represented by the new bottom sections.' I believe the tension and

compression artifacts evident in these sections are explained in other ways, and

the overwhelming body of evidence supporting the hinging model mitigates in

favor of these alternate explanations.


I am of course intrigued by the possibility of greater clarity which may ensue

from analysis of the new pieces.' However I caution everyone to take advantage

of twenty years of analysis of the wreck which has taken place already.' I

believe a robust and comprehensive model already exists for the sinking,

breakup, descent and impact.' The new finds do not contradict this model,

although they do add to it.' Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.


Having said that, if I had to animate the sinking today, in the light of this

current discussion's re-examination of testimony and the evidence of the new

pieces, as well as our June /July '05 survey and analysis of the bow section,

and some image-based forensic work done by myself, Parks [Stevenson] and Ken

[Marschall] using my prior imaging and the NOAA '04 stills -- I would modify my

previous animations in the following way:


1--I would show the stern cantilevered out of the water at a maximum angle of 30

degrees, but not less than 25 degrees, just prior to breakup.


2--I would show the ship listed to port at this point about 15 degrees.


3-- I would show the two forward funnels toppling to port sequentially (1 then


2) when their bases are' under water by about 20', then sinking but staying

attached to the ship by the remaining unbroken stays, probably dangling upside

down along the side of the hull.


4-- prior to breakup, as the stern is lifting to maximum height out of the

water, I would show the bottom in compression, but not failing in compression,

and the decks and shell plating above in tension, longitudinally.


5--at break-up I would show a failure in tension of the hull, starting at the

point of maximum stress just below the aft expansion joint, and propagating

step-wise down to the double bottom.' The crack would start under the starboard

expansion joint, followed a moment later by a crack on the port side, similar



6-- at breakup I would incorporate Roger's concept of the side shell plating

separating from the double bottom in tension ( greenstick fracture effect).


7-- there would be less fall-back of the stern during breakup (less dramatic

angle change), but this effect should still be present.' Possibly dropping from

30 degrees to 15 degrees.


8--as the breakup progresses, I would show any deformation of the double bottom

due to compression being "pulled out" under subsequent tension as the flooded

bow hangs from the stern just by the bottom sections, moments prior to



9--I would show separation of bow taking place before the stern rotates again to

a more steeply angled position (as opposed to the weight of the bow inducing

this rotation)... the bottom sections pull away when the two major sections are

at their greatest angle to each other.


10--subject to Parks and possibly Bill Saunders' input, I would show the

emergency lights glowing weakly for some moments after the break-up starts, then

flickering and going out.


11--I would have the bottom rip across from starboard to port, and the weight of

the bow imparting a strong roll moment to the stern, increasing its port list to

30 degrees.


12--I would show the bow (possibly) not quite hanging vertical-down at

separation, but continuing to rotate an additional 10 or 15 degrees to a

vertical position as it descends the first couple of hundred feet, due to

rotational inertia from the breakup and also due to internal righting moment

(trapped air aft).' The mast should collapse aft and the funnels (dangling from

stays) tear off in an aft direction, taking the davits, in the first 500' of



13--I would show the stern overall lower in the water after separation, and

changing angle more due to forward flooding than due to the negative bow pulling

it down as we described it in the movie.


14--as the stern section floods and sinks lower, angling down forward, I would

show the roll moment imparted by the detaching bow causing a cross-coupled

effect which swings the stern' around counterclockwise 45 degrees.


15-I would show the stern not as vertical in its final moments before sinking

(possibly not above 45 degrees), only achieving full vertical' just after the

moment of submergence--- say 100' below the surface.


16-- I would incorporate the idea, which Roger mentions in his email to me, of

the bottom sections staying attached to the stern briefly as it descends,

causing additional prying and the unseating/ejection of the boilers.' I like the

idea that it flapped under, hitting the underside of the hull.


17--the 2 bottom sections should stay attached to each other but should separate

from the stern in the upper water column (depth around 2000') when the stern

completes its rotation from vertical to 30 degrees stern-down.


18--stern describes a long spiral as it descends, rotating 1.5 times on the

horizontal plane, landing on the bottom almost under where it left the surface.'

Boilers and engine parts hit bottom before stern, directly under where the ship

broke up.


19--bow descends vertically but changes attitude by 2000' of depth, then

descending with a 30 degree bow down attitude (this hasn't changed since our

older scenarios).' It planes forward as it descends, on a 1:6 glide ratio -- 1

forward to 6 down.


20--two bottom sections separate from each other deep in the water column,

possibly only 1000' above the bottom, after plaining away.' Possibly they spiral

as they fall, and flap relative to each other, like a falling book.


You will see a lot of discussion of the above ideas in the following endless

exchanges, of interest really only to major rivet-counting geeks like me, Parks

[Stevenson], Ken [Marschall] and Charlie Pellegrino.' Which is why I've

synopsized it above.' Follow my easy 20-step plan and the spirit of Thomas

Andrews will smile upon your efforts.


I stand poised for further discussion.' You may share any of my commentary below

as you see fit.


I am not currently working on any Titanic related documentary projects, so my

comments are just for the benefit of the community.' I share all my Titanic

analysis, as I have for years, with Parks Stevenson, Ken Marschall, and Charlie

Pellegrino ("Sam Katz" in my cc's).



Jim out









To: Ken Marschall

From: Jim Cameron

Subject: Re: Titanic's Breakup

Cc: C. Pellegrino

Bcc: "Sparks" Stevenson





This will be debated until the sun goes out.


The two new pieces will indeed shed light on the final moments at the surface.'

I will look at the photos and your renderings carefully to see what speaks to



At first glance I see nothing which shouts out inconsistency with how I've

always seen the break-up.


Unfortunately there's not much of a story for a new documentary unless they come

up with some brand new discovery, so people will bend the facts to fit the new



I think this new concept of the bow somehow remaining buoyant enough to create

an upward bending moment is absurd.' It flies in the face of all physics and

mechanics.' There is no way the bow can create uplift when it is 20,000 to

30,000 tons negative.


I assume the author of this concept is trying to explain some observed evidence

of failure in tension of the double bottom as well as some prying and folding of

the shell plating which would indicate tearing away in a counter-intuitive

upward direction.' However, these indicators are completely consistent with the

way we have shown the hull failing (more on that below).


The one idea which I do like is that as the hull began to split, it allowed some

down-filling of the machinery spaces at those frames, well aft of where the

forward down-filling was taking place.' I believe it's possible the hull might

have opened to let some water in moments before failing entirely.' And that's an

intriguing thought.' But it would have been minutes, possibly only seconds at

most.' And it would have had zero impact on the overall pattern of the breakup.


In any failure, the stresses build until the yield strength of the material is

exceeded,' and a crack begins.' Once that crack starts, the crack will

"propagate" like lightning, moving at rates of hundreds of feet per second,

until the stresses are reduced.


So it is more logical to assume that the bending loads on the hull, as the stern

was lifted, increased until the first cracks in the shell plating appeared, at

which point it was a matter of seconds before those cracks separated the plates

with the highest stresses (the ones highest on the hull, nearest the expansion

joint) either from each other at rivet joins, or by cracking them in two... then

the next plates farther down would bear all the weight, and they would crack,

and so on... this reaction propagating through the shell plating in seconds,

leaving the aft hull unsupported.


The unsupported stern third of the ship would then fall, due to gravity, toward

the surface of the ocean.' Simultaneously the bow two-thirds of the ship, which

had also been supported by an equal force on the forward side of the fulcrum

created by the center of buoyancy, would also begin to fall.' It would fall more

slowly than the stern, due to hydrodynamic drag, but it would still fall.


'I believe it fell to 90 degrees, probably even past 90, because of momentum and

the way that its mass was supported by the double bottom.


It is impossible for me to imagine any other configuration than this, assuming

that the ship broke at the surface.' I have always believed, and logic utterly

dictates, that the hull broke during or just before it reached the moment of

maximum stress.'' I have always utterly rejected the idea [put forth by Haas and

Eaton, 1996] that the Titanic arbitrarily chose to fall apart during descent

after surviving having its stern jacked up out of the water, with 20,000 tons of

steel cantilevered at a high angle. This is just not possible.'' The ship broke

at the surface, as observed by many witnesses, because that is where the forces

were the greatest.'


We must conclude that the ship broke at the surface -- it is the only logical

conclusion based on materials science and stress analysis, to say nothing of

many witnesses who actually saw it happen and described it in detail,

accurately, even down to the exact point of break-up between 3rd and 4th

funnels-- and many more who heard it, but may have misinterpreted what they

heard as the shifting of machinery inside the hull.


With the starting assumption that the ship broke at the surface, then it must

have behaved as I describe above, with the bow angling down to vertical, or even

past vertical, and the stern falling back close to level.' Many observed the

stern "right itself" and there are a number of reports of a powerful wave which

propagated all the way out to the lifeboats 500 or more yards away, threatening

to swamp some of the overfilled ones-- this is consistent with the energy of the

stern falling suddenly into the sea dissipating as wave energy.


Bear in mind the moment of breakup is a complex, dynamic situation, with the

ship flooding rapidly as it breaks, its two dis-articulated sections changing

attitude separately, and flooding rapidly, with the center of buoyancy shifting

rapidly aft.


So the question is:' did the buoyant stern remain attached to the bow long

enough for the bow to reach vertical, and if so, for how much longer did it

remain attached?


Here's what careful observation of the bow section, over my 33 dives, reveals:


--The officer's quarters longitudinal outer walls are "flayed" outward,

progressively, from forward near the bridge to aft.' This is consistent with a

very powerful flow of water moving over the ship from fore to aft, almost

parallel to the longitudinal axis.' This flow entered at the shattered bridge

and pushed the walls outward, laying them across the deck.' The effect

progressed aft as the top of the wall separated from the roof of the deck house.'

The position of the walls when the wreck was found is also consistent with that

flow of water stopping at some point, because although the splitting and

"flensing" of the walls is highly symmetrical, it stops after ten meters or so

aft of the bridge, when there is no structure there which particularly would

have stopped it.' So it is more logical to infer that it was a progressive

process which was stopped by other factors-- stopping of the destructive flow.'

And this is very consistent with the ship plunging vertically, and then slowly

"falling through" as pilots say, into a more horizontal attitude.' We know the

ship hit bottom in a more horizontal attitude -- all of the impact and downblast

effects, which are minutely documented, support this.' I can calculate the

impact attitude, from observations of the stem's interaction with sediments etc.

as around 30 degrees bow down.' It may have been ten degrees more or less, but

it was certainly not vertical.' It is therefore inescapable that the ship went

from a vertical initial plunge to a subsequent attitude closer to horizontal.'

The force to do this was applied by the V shaped flair of the bow, as you look

at its vertical section in the forward frames.' This would have acted like'

diving planes, to bring the bow up as it plunged vertically through the water.'

Once the attitude changed, the flow of water over the superstructure from fore

to aft would have stopped completely, to be replaced by large turbulent vortices

of water boiling upward around the edges of the boat deck, in the wake of the

hull, as it descended.


--the foremast is collapsed aft with a force sufficient to snap shackles and

stays which are rated to many tons of loading.' The force required to do this

can only have come from hydrodynamic loading of the leading edge of the mast.'

Since the mast is a narrow, cylindrical object without a great deal of sail

area, the current required to do this must have been a) quite fast and b)

orthogonal to the long axis of the mast, in an aft direction.' This is

completely consistent with an initial vertical plunge.


-- The wheel house is completely gone, and the heavier debris from the

wheel-house (telegraphs, ship's wheel) were found very near what we assume to be

the surface-zero epicenter of the break-up -- meaning they did not get slowly

and randomly picked off the ship throughout its descent, but were cleaned off in

one event, close to the surface.' This is very consistent with the ship

experiencing an initial very high velocity flow along its longitudinal axis,

fore to aft, which again agrees with the model of vertical initial descent.


--All davits except the two forward-most davits are ripped off the ship.' Davit

2 is bent strongly aft.' Davit 8 is collapsed in an aft direction.' This

strongly indicates that powerful currents sweeping fore to aft ripped the davits

in an aft direction.' 7 davits are clustered together in a tangle in the debris

field, probably created by an entanglement of falls which have since rotted away


-- these are most likely the 7 stbd davits (minus the forward Boat 1 davit-- vs.

the port side where four complete davits remain -- one upright, one lying down

aft at Boat 8, two more lying tangled near the bridge) -- and this agrees well

since there seem to be 6 complete davits in the cluster, and one separated davit

arm in the pile (the separated arm being from the Boat 7 davit base, still on

the wreck).' This cluster is a little north of the surface-zero epicenter of

debris -- suggesting that it traveled a short way with the descending wreck as

it planed north, probably due to entanglement, and then fell free.' This is

again, overall, consistent with the idea that the davits were ripped off the

ship by strong hydrodynamic forces near the surface -- which again supports the

surface break-up/vertical plunge model.


Only the vertical plunge model can account for all the effects of powerful

currents sweeping aft almost parallel to the longitudinal axis of the ship.


I could go on and on.' Anyone who has studied the wreck in detail cannot come to

any other conclusion than the model of surface break-up, vertical plunge of the

bow, and the vertical or near-vertical plunge of the stern.'' The way in which

the poop deck is bent double over itself so obviously supports a vertical plunge

of the stern, that it is incontrovertible.' This could only have happened near

the surface, because eventually the stern hit bottom rudder first -- we know

this by the way the wing props are jammed upward by the force of impact by

almost 15 feet, while the double bottom under the engines is sitting on or above

the sediment, having swung down moments later with much less force.' If the

stern arrived after a 2.5 mile fall in that attitude, we can assume it fell most

of the way in that attitude (once the air inside it was compressed, which would

have happened in the first 1000 feet, the hull's descent angle was determined by

its shape, hydrodynamic drag, and gravity -- none of which were changing for the

last 11,000 feet of descent.)' So the poop deck got bent backward as it left the

surface, and it did so because the descent was vertical, caused by the heavy

engines pulling the still-buoyant stern down in a vertical attitude --

descending straight down as it flooded.


So you've got a bow which departed the surface vertically downward.

You've got a stern which went from 30-40 degrees tilted, to almost horizontal

and then to almost vertical for its plunge from the surface.


Any understanding of the new hull pieces must fit within these parameters.

And nothing I'm seeing is inconsistent with this.


What's fascinating is the possibility that we can now better understand exactly

how the break-up happened.' I need to study your drawings carefully.


It was impossible, by logical deduction, for both sides off the hull to give way

simultaneously, down to the microsecond.' So one side gave first, and the other

followed almost immediately.' But this would have given a slight twist, or

turning moment, to the collapsing stern.' Logically the starboard side, being

somewhat higher due to the port list, should have given way first, all things

being equal (it would have had the least support from the water below) -- but

with variations in manufacture, quality control of riveting etc., I think either

side could have failed.


In any case, there would have been a twist imparted as the stern fell back.'

Joughin does describe it rolling quite severely (according to Charlie P: See

Walter Lord/C. Pellegrino Files; see also Joughin Testimony, 1912 Inquiries into

the Loss of the Titanic).


Equally obvious, the bottom must have torn away from one side to the other --

when it bent to nearly 90 degrees and then experienced the strong tensile force

of the entire forward 2/3 of the ship hanging from it, it must have failed on

one side before the other -- the cracks would have shot across transversely, but

they had to start somewhere.'' So this in turn could have added an even greater

turning moment to the stern section, which would manifest as roll.


It is also possible [though, according to Pellegrino, not likely], that the

double-hulled bottom - the actual keel - held together through the fall of the

stern, and through the subsequent pulling of the bow as it angled down, so that

the weight of the bow brought the stern upright.' The bottom may have failed

anytime between the fall of the stern and the end of the subsequent rise of the



Eyewitness testimony of the stern "standing motionless" for what seemed like

several minutes cannot be accounted for by a normal sinking process.' I have

studied lots of sinking ship footage.' They almost always wind up vertical as

they leave the surface, with either the prow or the stern disappearing out of

sight.' What's different about all of these ships ( allied transports, warships,

and some contemporary cargo and passenger ships) from Titanic is that they all

sank in one piece -- and what you always see is an accelerating rate.' The rate

of sinking accelerates toward the end, AND the attitude change accelerates...

they go vertical only seconds before disappearing, some are even reaching

vertical just as they are going under -- they never hang vertical and linger for

a minute or two with a hundred or so feet of their length exposed.'' That is

because the overall buoyancy is diminishing progressively as the ship floods,

and as the flooded section swings downward and is subjected to greater pressure,

which compresses any trapped air at a rapid rate.' By the end it's going pretty



To understand the observed occurrence of Titanic standing "like a tower" we need

to assume that the buoyancy somehow became close to neutral for a moment,' after

having gone progressively negative for hours.' This can only be accounted for by

the shedding of mass -- such as the loss of the bow section.' This is a unique

shipwreck -- possibly unique in history -- it has its own rules.

Losing the bow at exactly this moment accounts for the sudden "equipoise"

described by witnesses.


What could be debated is that the bow held on long enough to pull the stern

upright.' It may have detached right away, as the bow swung down, as the bending

forces weakened the bottom plates, and separated the upper bottom plating in

tension while compressing the lower plates (a levering effect).' In which case

the stern then became the equivalent of a separate 300' ship, sinking due to

massive flooding forward.' This still gets you a vertical stern, but it would

have to follow the Liberty ship model, of the stern reaching vertical just as it

disappears from sight -- and this is not precisely what was described.


Another factor caused by the bottom plates separating sequentially from side to

side is that, because of the rapidly increasing angle between bow and stern on

the long axis of the ship, this would have imparted a strong rolling moment to

the stern.' This was observed (See Jack Thayer account, and Lord-Pellegrino

analysis) by people who said the ship turned away from them, hiding the people

clinging to the decks from view before the final plunge.' The roll would have

been induced as the bow tore away from one side to the other, and would have

produced a "coupled effect" as the stern tilted more vertical in the water,

inducing both a toppling effect as well as continued roll, rotation around the

longitudinal axis, which is now becoming more vertical.' Thus the ship's decks

"turned their face away" as Thayer said.' This could also be accounted for by

Thayer's movement relative to the stern in swirling surface currents, so perhaps

it is not wise to read too much into this observation, although Thayer was very

precise in his details, as only a young mind can be.


Given all of these possibilities, in all of their possible combinations, I am

not surprised to see that some of the bottom plating is ripped upward at the

break, while across the beam on the same side of the same bottom section, some

is ripped downward -- suggesting a strong twisting action at the moment of



There may actually have been a moment where the bottom of Titanic literally had

three discrete bends, with straight sections in between.' This could be

accounted for if the negative bow, pulling down in extreme tension at a sharp

angle to the buoyant stern, actually peeled the bottom off the ship in a series

of breaks as its weight hung under the stern.' Pop, pop, pop.


There is probably some interaction with the bulkheads which comes into play

here.' The bulkheads seem to run down the center of the two transverse sections,

which presumably means the bulkheads gave them strength and forced the bending

of the bottom and its subsequent failure to happen midway between the bulkheads

(which is where it seems to be).' This is logical.


This new find needs more study.


Jim out


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


To: James Cameron

From: Charles Pellegrino

Subject: RE Titanic's Break-up


Dear Jim: The best on-film analogy for how the Titanic buckled and broke

(telescoping inward, double-bottom hull and all) is the Fairfield footage - from

the Trinity Church photographer - right below, in the shadow of the north-east

corner of the South Tower (near the corner of Church and Vessey: one of those

rare duck's-eye'views of a shotgun blast).


During those first three seconds leading up to the formation of a Vesuvius-ike

collapse column, the two sections of the skyscraper behaved, at the sever, much

as you have described for the Titanic at the sever (and somewhat as we see with

the twisting and bending of Titanic's bow-end, at impact with the bed of the

sea). I'm sure the twenty-story sections of frame that traveled westward across

West Street (as caught by video cameras a quarter kilometer northwest of the

first collapse column) - will be framed-up by some historian of the future as a

"missing third piece."


Interestingly, much as you have observed and proposed for the Titanic, The South

Tower's upper section reached its terminal velocity of about 120 mph in one

body-length (of approximately thirty stories). The North Tower upper section

reached the same terminal velocity in approximately two body lengths (some

twenty stories).


Similarly (referring back to the Fairfield footage), we see, along the east face

of the South Tower, not just a single clean break but instead a buckling leading

momentarily to at least three horizontal (perpendicular to compression) lines of

breakage - preceding fluid-like disintegration - following extreme twisting of

steel box-beams (and steel corner support systems) along a height of three

stories. The similarity to the supporting structure of Titanic's outer hull is

emphasized, in this case, by the fact that the chief architect of the Twin

Towers was afraid of heights, and in an attempt to make the extreme views more

comfortable for others like him, he wanted the windows to be braced by

supporting structures at intervals no wider than a man's shoulders. A result of

this was that the Towers were designed like the supporting structures of bamboo

- with a net of interconnected vertical support on the outside. While this

system of support created some problems with the central core during the fires

of September (in accordance with a common FDNY phrase, "Don't trust the truss"),

the bamboo skeleton approach ultimately allowed the Towers to stand longer,

against impossible punishment - which is somewhat reminiscent of how the Titanic

stayed afloat nearly an hour longer than Thomas Andrews had predicted (they

built her right - it was the abuses of people, that sank a good design).


By the way: The survival of Fairfield and his footage owes much to the fact

that, though located in what might be called the hypocenter, he happened to be

standing behind the same Building 5 airbag that saved St. Paul's Chapel (more as

a matter of shadow-shielding, 1/10 kilometer behind Mr. Fairfield, than a matter

of actual shock-cocooning). We have no surviving footage southward down

Washington Street and West Street - where the surge cloud emerging from the

South Tower collapse column and downblast started out at 120mph and maintained

velocities above 80mph for several blocks - giving dust mixed with air a

tsunami-like force, in a league right alongside the collapse column that stamped

Titanic's stern flat. Once the surge cloud touched West Street and Washington

Street at tsunami velocities, no camera equipment (and few people) came out of

those areas. The power of an air-and-dust composite, like the power of moving

water, is in its mass.


See you later,

- - Charlie P.





To: Parks Stevenson

From: James Cameron

Subject: RE Titanic's breakup

Cc: Ken Marschall, Charles Pellegrino




A slightly better article was run in the Boston Globe - - Parks



Dear Parks,


Much adieu about nothing.' This article is complete [bull feathers].' I've never

believed Titanic's stern stayed afloat for 20 minutes after it broke up.' That's

ridiculous.' Nobody ever said that. [Pellegrino: "This contradicts the accounts

of every survivor who watched the stern go down - every one of them.]


There are so many crackpots in this arena.


Yes, the ship sank rapidly after its hull failed at the surface.' Yes the stern

sank within 5 minutes.' What's new about that?' I never said the ship broke into

two pieces -- we've always known that a good 150 feet of the ship has been

missing, broken into pieces, with only one 30-40 foot bottom section found.' Now

[two of] the missing pieces have been found.' We knew they were down there

somewhere -- none of this changes anything that was previously known.


If you look carefully at our CG sinking animation, done in '95, you'll see two

large pieces of the bottom tearing away like the peel of an orange as the bow

separates from the stern.' I was fully aware when we designed that animation

that a substantial section of the bottom tore away, probably in several pieces.'



What is new and interesting is why the two pieces were found near each other

500m from the epicenter of the breakup.'


They must have stayed loosely attached for a while as they planed far away, then

separated close to the bottom.' This indicates that a strip of Titanic's bottom

80' long was pulled off together, with some articulation but some substantial

attachment between the two sections.' This is very consistent with the ship

breaking up at the surface, and the very negative bow pulling down from the

buoyant stern as it fell back toward the surface -- yanking a strip off the

bottom as the two separated.' This would explain the bulkheads and side shell

plating separating from the bottom in tension... it's basically a greenstick

fracture, with the two halves of the breaking bone separating from a thin strip

of bending bone.


This would strongly indicate that the bow separated just before or just as the

stern was starting to sink, after the stern fell into a more horizontal position

-- in other words at the point when the tension force of the bow pulling down

was most orthogonal to the stern's longitudinal axis -- so that the bottom was

torn away, downward, from the stern.' This is consistent with their animation

model which shows the side shell plating and bulkheads pulling away from the

bottom, but is accounted for in a completely different way than their bogus

"floating bow" configuration.' Turn their entire animation on its side and bend

it 90 degrees, and you've got the truth.


Jim out





To: Parks "Sparks" Stevenson

From: James Cameron

Subject: Re: Titanic's breakup

Cc: Ken Marschall, Charles Pellegrino




[COPY - From Parks Stevenson]: Jim,


We haven't even settled on a theory yet, that's why this media attention was

particularly galling. [The team] inviting a reporter to our working-level

discussion (and not warning us of his presence) was a horribly bad idea.'

REPLY: Sparks, The biggest revelation that I am taking from this new find (aside

from the fact that over 60 feet of keel and double-bottom structure was suddenly

wrenched from the hull girder so completely that it separated the boilers from

their foundations) is that the "plunge" or "wave" reported by [survivor Charles]

Lightoller, [Colonel Archibald] Gracie and others must mark in time the start of

the breakup.'' The ship gave every indication of steady progressive flooding up

to that point, then in an instant moved so suddenly and [so] violently that

everyone from the collapsibles to the Grand staircase [was] washed off the deck.


[As for the strange new ideas reported in the press, they - again - contradict

most of the physical evidence. Especially contradictory is the idea that the

ship, as it shifted into the final plunge, began lurching forward as if starting

up again under its own power. - C. Pellegrino]


I think that is not a valid conclusion.' Unlike you I have stood on a very high

fidelity simulation of Titanic's deck as it went under water.' The shallow angle

of incidence of the deck relative to the surface of the water causes the water

to rush up the deck very rapidly with only a couple of feet of vertical change,

once that deck begins to submerge.'' The water ships over the outboard side of

the boat deck and creates a diagonal wave as it moves aft and inboard.' We were

not able to sink the set as rapidly as I believe Titanic was really sinking, but

the effect was very dramatic.' We sank our set at about 6-8" per second --

Titanic may have been going closer to 1' per second.' At this rate, you can

appreciate that the water is moving aft on the shallow-angled deck at 6 or 7

feet per second (depending on the exact angle of the ship at that point) ... in

other words it would have reached the first class entrance in about 10 seconds

after it shipped over the forward rail and boiled up out of the prom deck



To people who had not experienced a drop of water throughout the slow and steady

sinking process to suddenly see and hear and feel (cold slap against the legs--

literally a dose of cold water) this flood coming rapidly toward them, it would

have felt like they were being hit by a wave at the beach, even though by

comparison to that it was relatively small (only a foot or so).


This idea that the ship lurched forward is a sensory illusion caused by the

water moving across the deck, in a fore to aft direction.' Since the water is

the only reference point for movement, it feels while you're standing on deck

that the ship is moving forward.'' We saw several similar "reference frame"

illusions while making the movie, including an incredibly compelling illusion

that the dining room was flat and the water angled at 10 degrees -- which

freaked us all out when we looked down to the end of the room.' The eye and

brain adapt to whatever reference frame makes the most sense in the moment.' We

learned from experience that after a few minutes, the straight lines of the

architecture of the ship become a horizontal reference frame, even if the ship

is tilted 6 degrees -- so that everything is perceived relative to that frame.'

People on deck were probably mostly unaware of the bow down angle.' Some were

aware of the port list because it was effecting the launch of the boats.


Given this reference frame, it may have been surprising to see the water rushing

toward them "like a wave" and may have induced a compelling illusion that the

ship was moving forward.


It is impossible [as the new "theory" would have it] for the breakup to have

begun at this point for one simple reason -- if the structural integrity of the

hull had been compromised, the mass of the sinking forward portion of the ship

would not have continued to raise the stern out of the water.' The two sections

would merely have flexed relative to each other, and the stern would not have

risen.' So the structure of the ship must have been intact, except for flexion

due to increasing strain, but the cracks had not yet begun to propagate downward

from at or near the aft expansion joint.'' Many witnesses saw the stern high in

the night sky -- possibly as high as 45 degrees as Ken paints it, but certainly

at least 30.' This has never been disputed.' And for that to happen the hull

integrity must have persisted far beyond the Gracie's so-called lurch.


As far as the quote is concerned...lesson learned, at my expense.' I didn't even

know that we were in an interview.

Welcome to the world of media.


SPARKS Reply: Jim, it's ironic, too, because I was constantly referring to your

set as the only attempt at re-creating that portion of the sinking (flooding of

Boat Deck) on a 1:1 scale.


JIM C. REPLY: Sparks, our sinking animation from the movie is relatively

accurate, even now.' It is missing one crucial ingredient, which is that Titanic

overall -- if you could see it from a distance, and with the water column

stripped away -- would have been flexing like a bow from end to end prior to the

hull failing.


We show this in the "Titanic Live" animation (summer 2005), although we don't

draw attention to it.


If you look carefully at the '97 animation, you will see a large piece of bottom

remaining attached between the bow section and stern for a few frames of film as

the two major sections separate. (It's also in Pellegrino's original drawings,

dating back as far as 1986).


Jim out




To: "Roger Long"

From: James Cameron

Subject: now you've pulled my Chatty Cathy string


Bcc: Parks Stevenson

Atta: Ken Marschall, Charles Pellegrino




Thanks for the email.' It's a pleasure to be able to discuss these things with a

qualified engineer.' So much of so-called Titanic science has been conducted by

vociferous lay-men without much engineering background -- yet the public treats

them as vaunted experts.


I don't profess to be a marine engineer, but I am very familiar with basic

engineering principles and have made 33 dives to the wreck.' I am extremely

familiar with the minute physical details of the bow section, both exterior and

interior, and believe that I have seen and imaged more of that specific part of

the wreck than anyone.' I am much less familiar with the stern section, having

made only two dives there, and my direct knowledge of the debris field is very

limited, although I have studied all the published data in detail.' I am also

not a historian, but I have over the past ten years worked with the best

historians of Titanic, and continue to do so.


I approach my analysis of the wreck (as I did with Bismarck) by weighing the

testimony of the steel against the testimony of survivors, and looking for

explanations which can account for both.' The steel doesn't lie or misremember.'

So it has the final say.'' However, with 705 survivors, Titanic's story can be

filled in using their testimony cross-referenced with the wreck.' There is so

much the steel can't tell, us about how it got exactly where it is.


Also, as a story teller, I think a lot about the subjective experience of the

witnesses.' I also think about what conscious or unconscious agendas they might

have, which might influence their testimony.' Lightoller must be taken with many

grains of salt, since he was a company man... etc.


I think that all testimony regarding the final minutes of the ship's life must

not be given too much individual weight.' About one third of those interviewed

believed they saw the ship break up.' Two thirds did not see it, or had no

recollection.' Several things must be remembered here:


1) the only light available at the moment was starlight.' While the ship's

lights had provided plenty of illumination for the scene right up to the

break-up, they were extinguished minutes, possibly only seconds before the

massive structural failure.' Individuals distribute widely along a curve of

low-light response.' My wife can read comfortably at a level of illumination in

which I can barely see her, let alone what she's reading.' And yet I've always

believed my night vision was about normal.' Depending on witnesses' individual

thresholds of low-light sensitivity, they may have seen absolutely nothing until

their eyes adapted minutes later, by which time the ship was gone.' So while

there are only a minority (although a significant minority) of people who

remember the ship breaking up, there is NOT a majority who specifically remember

it NOT breaking up.' The absence of a negative does not equal a positive.


2) History is written by the victors.' In this case, Lightoller as the senior

surviving officer, and the whitewash British board of inquiry, recorded that the

ship did not break up, and this became "history" until Ballard found the wreck

in two pieces.' But this should not have been a surprise... there was lots of

testimony by witnesses saying they saw the ship break at the surface.


3) As you quite correctly point out, angles are usually, if not always

misreported.' I learned this first hand while making the movie, Titanic.' We

recreated the entire poop deck in 1:1 scale on a tilting platform which allowed

us to go from 0 to 90 degrees of tilt, using large hydraulic rams.' Most people,

myself included, believed the deck was tilted to 45 degrees when in fact it was

at 25.' Consistently, 25 degrees was reported to be 45.' In fact, beyond 25

degrees of tilt it was impossible to move around on the deck without having two

solid hand-holds and a lot of upper body strength... and to be without a solid

grip was to be sliding down the deck out of control.' For shots above 25 degrees

all personnel on the set were secured with full safety harnesses.


HOWEVER -- I also observed a reverse corollary to this.' When we were working on

other sets, such as the full scale set of the ship, and the full scale set of

D-Deck reception/dining saloon, both of which were built at a 6 degree tilt --

we noticed that after a very few minutes the rectilinear shapes and lines of the

architecture were cues which told our brains that the set was level, over-riding

cues from the neurovestibular system.' This is because the brain knows that

architecture is "always" level.' This was so powerful that when we looked at the

water's surface at the down-hill end of the dining room when we were flooding

it, it appeared to all of us as if the water was sloped, like the base of a

hill.' It was a very strong and disturbing illusion, and one I've never

encountered before or since.


So if there is time to acclimate, it may have seemed to people on board the ship

that the list or pitch angles were actually significantly LESS than what they

really were at any given point, in the absence of a horizontal reference (like a

horizon line on a starless night).


So an understanding of the effect of reference frame on the subjective response

of witnesses is critical to gleaning meaningful conclusions from their



Based on my tilting poop deck set experience, I believe the final angle of the

uplifted stern was probably closer to 30 degrees than 45.' Given that some

observers were astern of the ship, this angle may have appeared much steeper,

due to foreshortening.' If one were relatively close to the ship, in the dark,

and almost directly astern along the longitudinal axis, the stern section may

have appeared quite tall and almost perfectly vertical.


It seems likely to me now that the stern was never as vertical nor as high out

of the water in its final minutes post-break-up as we depicted it in the film.''

It likely collapsed back to some angle less than its peak cantilevered angle

when the structural failure happened, not necessarily level but some value in

between, then as it flooded and sank, it again took on a steep angle but much,

much lower in the water.' As I said in my lengthy reply to Ken Marschall, if the

bow was still attached, the stern might have been pulled to a steeper angle.' If

it were not, then the stern would have obeyed the pattern of most sinking ships

and approached a vertical angle only as it actually fully submerged, due to the

increasing vertical righting moment.


Witnesses such as Thayer describe people sliding and tumbling down the aft

decks, so it is likely the angle of the stern exceeded 25 degrees prior to

break-up.' Thayer is describing the scene with the lights still on, which

clearly precedes the break-up, so I think it is safe to say that the ship

reached 25 degrees as a minimum prior to structural failure. What happened after

that, when the lights went out and things got loud, is subject to much debate

and conjecture, due to sketchy and incongruent reporting.


To really understand what's going on here, I recommend using the testimony of

the steel itself, but a wider view of it, not just the stern and bottom

sections.' There are many features of the bow section which can only be

explained by very high hydrodynamic loading along a vector parallel to the

longitudinal axis of the ship.' I have a long list of these, and they are well

documented, and I believe we have successfully distinguished them from the

effects of bottom impact.


These effects can only be explained by the bow section traveling through the

water like a torpedo, with its velocity vector normal to its long axis, for some

(presumably short) distance, and this is I think best explained by it detaching

and dropping straight down from the buoyant stern.' The forward part of the bow

was fully flooded.' There may have been some trapped air forward, but these

airspaces would be well compressed (under Boyles Law), to some small fraction of

their volume before the ship reached the angle responsible for massive

structural failure.' So the bow was highly negative prior to breakup.' When the

structural failure took place, the bow would have been unsupported and would

have tended to descend in an arc around a hinge point (or region) at the area of

failure.' How many degrees of descent would be determined by the amount of time

it stayed attached.' It would have required only seconds to reach vertical, and

the bending of the bottom would have greatly increased its likelihood of total

failure during that time.


When the bow separated, even if it were not completely vertical at that point,

it probably went vertical within seconds as a result of its own internal

righting moment.' Aft (on the bow section), near the break, there would still be

a lot of trapped air -- forward, where the flooding had been going on for hours

and where the angle of the ship had put those spaces deeper in the water, the

airspaces were gone or highly compressed.' Buoyancy aft would tend to bring the

bow into a vertical position as it descended.' By 1000' of depth, any buoyancy

effects would be negligible and the bow would have reached terminal velocity.'

By this point the planing effects of the hull shape forward would already be

"lifting the nose" and the bow section would be swallowing out its dive.


Occam's razor says the simplest explanation is the most likely.' The bow is

lying almost due north of the center of the debris field and pointing almost due

north.' The simplest explanation is that it planed there in more or less a

straight line.' The very high degree of symmetry in the bow section wreck would

tend to support this, and it appears to have landed with very little list and

some significant bow down trim, but certainly far less than vertical.' So it

must have changed attitude during descent, and it is most likely this happened

within the first couple of thousand feet of fall.' The impact effects are

complex and amazing, but not really that germane to the current discussion --

except that they must be understood in order to be eliminated, so that what is

left are the effects of the break-up and the initial plunge.' By understanding

the initial plunge of the bow section, it sheds much light on the break-up.


I'm happy to continue this discussion.


There are a couple of additional comments interlineated below.




Jim out


Welcome to our [analysis] group.' It's great to have you part of this.


Ken asked that I send this directly to you.' I'll also be forwarding my more

formal analysis.


Roger Long Marine Architecture, Inc.'''''


----- Original Message -----

From: Roger Long

To: History Channel Team, Deep Sea Detectives Program Series

Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2005 7:40 AM

Subject: Reply to Jim


(I'm going to avoid the last name from here on since email does occasionally turn

up in odd places.)


Ken, please forward.


Jim in black. Myself in red, [where possible: Some of the early entries, here,

occur as random snippets]:




He's wrong on this as well.


Possibly. It's Bill Lang, however. He was on Ballard's original mapping

expeditions and made his presentation in front of a chart he prepared showing

every ARGO, ALVIN, and MIR track ever made over the site. He can call up any

image from any point. I doubt anyone knows the debris field better from a

mapping standpoint.


------------Bill's a smart guy.' I rely on the WHOI maps for my understanding of

the debris field.' However, it is not logical to me that the breakup happened

above two pieces with such large area to mass, and not above the clustered heavy



I believe this indicates strongly, as Ken [Marschall] has said, that the two

pieces descended most of the way to the bottom attached to each other, and through flapping and flexing motions,

eventually separated before impact.


I'm convinced of this as well. I think the connection was primarily at the

corner which accounts for the significant twisting and other deformation that is

out of character with the rest.


------------ I thought I saw this in Ken's drawing, but didn't want to jump to

conclusions.' Connected together, these pieces could have flapped and spiraled

all over the place, quite far from their origin point at/near the surface.


The boilers fell out at the surface:


I see the two double bottom sections structurally broken but still attached to

the stern after bow and stern separation. The Britannic has shown that the

boiler foundation connections were fairly robust.


The connection of the double bottom sections at this point was primarily through

engine bed plates and the engines themselves with some remaining tank top tabs.


As the stern began to pick up speed, the double bottom sections were bent back

by the flow.


This is very logical, if they remained attached to the stern rather than bow.'

The poop deck is bent double by the initial vertical plunge of the stern, so I

can imagine a similar effect with the double bottom sections, if attached.' Then

the hydrodynamic loads would have been very strong on the boilers, and

orthoganol to the mounts -- this coupled with some shocks from the bottom

flapping and banging against the hull would have ripped them loose.


This would have been instrumental in turning the stern around.


---------------- the stern definitely turned 180.' The question is whether it' turned 540.


The boilers were dislodged during this event which would have been in the upper

part of the water column.


---------------seems very likely.' I like your analysis on this.


I understand that these boilers were unused at the time. If dry, they would have

been fairly light.


------------I'm not sure I understand this.' Are you saying they're light

because no coal is inside?


'Being absolutely uniform in their weight, shape, and piping connections, they

could have drifted a fair distance and still remained closely clustered.


----------------I agree they would behave similarly, because of uniform shape

and weight, and that this accounts for their clustering, rather than that they

were ejected lower in the water column.


I always assumed boilers were fairly heavy relative to surface area/drag

coefficient, and so would have had less lateral dispersion than other debris,

except for very dense castings like engines, generators, pumps etc.


I actually think it is coincidence the stern section wound up so close, and at

one point in the water column during descent it was actually farther away.


Excellent point and one I'm embarrassed to say we did not consider. We plotted

the water surface and scale paper cut out of the ship on the ceiling to make a

3D model (on its side) above Bill's debris field plot. It really puts things in

perspective. The cone is much tighter than you would think when you look at the

plot alone. You know the bar game where you drop identical quarters into a big

jar of water trying to land one on a small platform? The scatter cone in this

case is about the same angle with we have current and objects of radically

different size and weight. I began to think it was amazing that stuff ended up

as close as it did.


-------------I don't know if this is relevant but Titanic lies on the boundary

between the Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream, and due to this frontal zone,

the mid-water currents tend to be confused.' Typically you will have a current

in the upper water column, down to about 4000' going one direction, then a

second deeper current going just as fast in the opposite direction or

orthogonal, then a third much milder current in the bottom 1000', which

typically is SE to NW.


This concept is supported by the way the stern section's back is broken,..


The displacement of the props requires the fracture of the massive spectacle

boss casting. Hard to imagine when you look at construction photos of it.

Amazing forces.


------------I probably wasn't clear in my description, since I assumed Ken

[Marschall] already knew the effect I was talking about.' To give you a little

more detail:' The stern section is bent in the middle about 15 or 20 degrees,

not vertically, like the bow, but horizontally.' Probably it broke in the middle

the same way the bow section did when it impacted the bottom at an angle, but

then as the far end settled --- unlike the bow section whose far end (aft end)

slammed straight down --- the stern section's far end (forward end) seemed to

slam down with a strong lateral component.' This is best explained by the idea

that it was still rotating on the horizontal plane when it hit bottom.' The

wreck appears deformed, warped in the direction of this rotation, as well as

being bent off at an angle.' It appears to my eye like the rudder imbedded

deeply, and once that area of the keel was dug in, the stern twisted as it came

down.' I'm sure this was a complex, coupled motion, with vertical bending at the

moment of impact, which broke it's back, then the rotational component

deflecting the forward end of the stern section before it hit bottom.


This is only relevant because if the stern was rotating in the horizontal plane

during its entire descent, it would have described a long spiral down through

the water column, due to its planing angle.' This accounts for why it did not

plane far from the breakup point like the bow did... the bow had a stable

heading and the stern did not.' This spiral would put the stern landing right

under the breakup point, within an dispersion radius equal to the radius of the

spiral.' And this seems to agree well with it landing near the boilers and other

heavy chunks, but in the wrong direction.


No. The boilers fell out at the break up.


The fact of Brittanic's boilers remaining in place at a 90 degree angle makes me

think more force was required but separation was most likely very near the



---------- granted.' But there was a lot of torquing, twisting and shock loading

going on when those double bottom sections popped loose from the side shell

plating --- pretty different from Britannic, where they were contained within an

intact hull.


Still I like your image of the bottom doubling back as the stern dove, and the

boilers ripping off in the upper water column.' For the same reason that I think

the most powerful forces acting on the bow prior to bottom impact were in the

first few seconds of its departure from the surface, before it changed from a

vertical to more horizontal attitude, I think the stern experienced high flow

rates and hydrodynamic loads in the first 500 or 1000' of travel, which would

have lessened as it also "fell through" into its stable descent attitude, which

judging from impact was probably 20-30 degrees tail down.


It has also been suggested that the stern was subject to implosion at some

depth, probably around 500 feet -- this concussion may have helped break the

mounts as well.' Certainly the stern overall is much more collapsed than the bow

section, though they would have had similar terminal velocities prior to bottom



It came off when the bow and stern separated from each other, seconds or minutes

before the stern sank.


"Minutes" sounds good to me.


And answering a later mail from Parks:


I think that is not a valid conclusion. Unlike you I have stood on a very high

fidelity simulation of Titanic's deck.


This idea that the ship lurched forward is a sensory illusion caused by the

water moving across the deck, in a fore to aft direction.


This was exactly my belief. I'm glad to learn that it was confirmed by your

rather elaborate "experiment".


After our experiences with the full scale set, I have discounted the statements

about the ship "lurching forward."


While the illusion would account for the many reports of a wave, my

understanding of the lurch described by Lightholler is not of a forward motion.

He would have mostly had his head and attention down working on freeing the boat

and the lurch would have been something he felt rather than saw.


---------- lots of stuff was going on right then.' If he was far enough from the

longitudinal centerline, a sudden roll would displace him vertically several

feet, and this might be indistinguishable from a sensation of' the whole ship

suddenly going down.' A roll is easier for me to believe than the entire ship

displacing downward suddenly enough for the human vestibular system to be able

to sense it.'' Baker Joughin, while crossing the aft well deck, said a sudden

roll to port knocked people off their feet.' I've always assumed that happened

somewhat later, but it might have been the same event.


A failing bulkhead would cause the longitudinal center of buoyancy of the ship

to shift rapidly aft, and would accelerate the bow-down angle change.' There

might be an accompanying thump or shudder through the ship.' This could also

account for Lightoller's "lurch."


It is impossible for the breakup to have begun at this point for one simple

reason -- if the structural integrity of the hull had been compromised, the mass

of the sinking forward portion of the ship would not have continued to raise the

stern out of the water.




Many witnesses saw the stern high in the night sky -- possibly as high as 45

degrees as Ken paints it, but certainly at least 30. This has never been

disputed. And for that to happen the hull integrity must have persisted far

beyond the Colonel Gracie's so called lurch.


This is the essential conundrum of the whole current affair. The story the steel

is telling us is at odds with the story told by the survivors. My job is to

interpret the story of the steel although that requires reasonable'

incorporation of other sources.


'- - - -


Jim C. (Continued): The steel can't lie.' But I don't see what the steel is

telling us as at odds overall -- only with some of the testimony.' Some will be

vindicated, others debunked.


My experience with other post accident analysis makes me very skeptical of the

recollections of people who have been in life threatening situations where

reference frames are unfamiliar. You saw this effect on your sets when there was

no danger and plenty of time for calm reflection.


One consistent effect I have noticed is a tendency to overestimate all angles by

about 100%. I have read and heard many reports of sailing vessels being flat in

the water when it is evident that the crew were standing on deck or I had

stability data that proved the vessel would not have recovered. During stability

tests, by necessity very calm and quiet events, I often have the crew exclaim,

"I can't believe that little weight is heeling her five degrees!". At the

measuring instrument, I can see that it is only half that.


When I was working for the British government as expert and witness in a wreck

inquiry, the captain of the USCG Barque Eagle, a fairly experienced seaman one

would think, testified that the ship heeled 55 degrees and her yard ends were in

the water during a squall. The sailing master, one of the most level headed

people I've ever met, later took me out on deck and pointed to a fitting. "The

water came right to there, I was watching.", he said.


I was then able, with complete stability and hydrostatic information in hand, to

determine the exact heel angle. It was 25 degrees and the yard ends were many

feet above the water. When you consider that the captain had an inclinometer

right in front of him in the pilot house, you should be able to understand my

jaundiced view of accounts given much later under the stress of hearings.


People also tend to fix vivid visual memories much better than they do their

time or context in other events. A person working hard to save their life by

launching a boat, adapting to the reference plane around them, suddenly having

their attention drawn aft by a noise and motion, then suddenly presented with

the unfamiliar sight of the stern against the sky, could well believe that the

stern just rose up. Most people in my experience would then dramatically

overestimate the angle. A later image of the stern very steep in the final

moments could easily get mixed up with this.


It is my experience that these kinds of memory distortions happen more often

than they do not under conditions of stress. I still believe that the accounts

are a valuable resource and must be incorporated in our analysis but these

effects have to be considered.


(NOTE, C. Pellegrino: Jim is right about the convergence and jumbling of the

order in which events were experienced in times of extreme stress. For example,

we were at the Titanic in 2001 when the 9/11 attacks occurred. I was in the

communications shack at the time, and learned during the day that two family

members were missing [one was found, the other was lost]. Though events over the

next 48 hours were vividly remembered, had I not been keeping an expedition log

I'd have remembered them in a sequence of wrong order - an inaccurate sequence

that in retrospect appears to have evolved to connect the events together in a

logical, more meaningful order. For example, I vividly recall Anatoly coming

into the Com Shack with a Fax from Moscow, and with tears running down his

cheek, an hour after the attacks began. In reality, this occurred the next day.

My log, and the ship's dive log, show that I completely misremembered this, and

other event sequences.)


Jim Cameron: Taking an average of the accounts is valuable.' Assigning weight to

individual moments of individual accounts is risky.' But it's always cool to

find some forensic evidence which supports testimony, even if only one person

claims to have seen it.


Jack Thayer said he saw a dark shape come up near him, and this led to a

drawing, published in papers, which showed the ship sinking with its back broken

and a buoyant bow poking up as well as a buoyant stern.' When we sank our

interior set, the grand-staircase broke loose, due to tons of lift from the

wood, and floated up through the middle of the set, almost pinning two stunt

people to the ceiling.' Thayer probably saw a huge section of staircase surface

near him, and in the dark was unable to judge scale through distance, so might

have thought it was the bow.



Roger Long''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Roger Long Marine Architecture, Inc.'''''

Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA 04107'''''''''




To: Parks E Stephenson

From: Jim Cameron

Subject: Re: "Third Piece"

Cc: Ken Marschall

Bcc: Charles Pellegrino



[From "Sparks"]: Jim,


Another unfortunate aspect of the news article is that our group was not

categorizing the new find as a "third piece" in our discussions.' We did

look at the new debris field (which included the 2 double-bottom pieces and

a chunk of debris that Ken is tentatively identifying as the remains of the

structures at the base of the #3 funnel) as a third major debris field that

might help us categorize the sequence of the break-up.' This somehow got

translated into a "third piece," which we all know is a gross

trivialization of the facts.


There are debris fields all over the place, but solely for purposes of what

we're trying to do, we're looking at:


'1) the bow section and the bow-related

debris that streamed southward from the hull;


2) the stern section and the

stern-related debris that followed the large hull piece down and settled

around it; and


3) the new find, which is east of the other two fields and

consists right now of the three major pieces of debris.'


Bill (I forget his last name...Ken would know it [Bill Lang]) from WHOI claims

that what we call the third debris field has a NE-SW orientation and that more debris relating to this area

might be found farther to the NE.' He also claims that the breakup happened

almost directly above the location of the new find.' I don't see enough evidence

to accept either of those conclusions without reservations.


- - "Sparks"


James Cameron comments: Sparks, [As I've said,] he's wrong on this as well.'

Forgetting about which objects are near the two major wreck sections, you can see

a pattern in the debris overall and it goes like this:' the heaviest objects,

like boilers, engines and heavy castings, form a central area.' Steel structures

with more sail area relative to mass are distributed over a larger radius.' And

lighter debris such as coal and china is spread even wider.' This is the very

general pattern and there are lots of exceptions, probably created by the major

entrained flow around the stern, which sank relatively near this epicenter.


I call the area of the debris field with the heaviest objects "surface zero",

meaning it is zero displacement from the point on the surface 2.5 miles above

it, where the ship broke up.' Like ground zero as a term of art in nuclear

air-bursts.' This can also be called (using nuclear nomenclature) the

hypocenter.' Meaning the point below the center.


The new find is far from the hypocenter but the two pieces are separate and near

each other.' I believe this indicates strongly, as Ken has said, that the two

pieces descended most of the way to the bottom attached to each other, and

through flapping and flexing motions, eventually separated before impact.' They

have a very large sail area, and might have planed much farther than they did.'

They would have acted like wings in the water, possibly descending in a large

spiral.' Had they descended from the surface separately, they would have been

widely separated in the debris field.


Earlier quote: "One of the most intriguing things about the debris field pattern

are the 5 single-ended boilers lying in a loose group relatively close to the stern

section, while their foundations are still attached to the aft double

bottom piece hundreds of meters away."


The boilers fell out at the surface and because they did not have shapes

conducive to planing,' fell in a group at the hypocenter.' This is where the

ship broke up.' Their bedding structures were attached to bottom sections which

acted like 747 wings in the water column, and that's why they wound up so far



I actually think it is coincidence the stern section wound up so close to the

hypocenter.' It would have descended through the water at an angle sufficient to

have planed it as far from the hypocenter as the bow is, given its impact angle

(20-30 degrees stern-down).' So it is likely it actually fell in a spiral to

that place, and at one point in the water column during descent it was actually

farther away.' This concept is supported by the way the stern section's back is

broken, about midway along its length, and deflected a good 15 degrees

laterally.' It appears to me that the stern hit on the rudder, dug in deep, but

its rotational moment was strong enough that it continued to try to rotate,

which causes this strong deflection.' I can't remember without pulling out the

old drawings from '01 (Charlie Pellegrino might remember) but I think we

concluded it was rotating clockwise when it hit.


- - Jim C.


Dear Jim: This would seem to indicate that the

boilers stayed within the ship for a bit after the bottom and foundations

beneath them detached. - - Parks


Dear Sparks: -- no.' The boilers fell out at the break up.' The stern sank

separately.' It is coincidence, [as] they are near each other.' The clustering

of the boilers, after falling independently through 2.5 miles of water, is the

clue to this conclusion.' They had almost no planing tendency because of their

cylindrical shape.' They represent the surface position of the breakup.' I

believe the engine components are near them as well.


--the two bottom pieces were peeled violently from the ship by the tension

forces of the bow pulling down while the stern rotated, falling back toward the

surface, after the hull failed.' At this point the boilers fell out and started

their descent.' The stern stayed on the surface for another couple of minutes. -

- Jim


Dear Jim: Having seen the double-ended boilers still sitting

snug in their foundations inside the Britannic wreck, I am wondering how

the double bottom in Titanic's BR#1 managed to rip away without taking the

boilers with it.' Were the boilers held momentarily in place by trapped air

and the service pipe connections?' If so, wouldn't this indicate that the

double-bottom piece separated early in the break-up process? - - Sparks


Dear Sparks: It came off when the bow and stern separated from each other,

seconds or minutes before the stern sank. - - Jim


Dear Jim: At any rate, that's the background behind what the AP reporter called

the "third piece."' I was confused too.' I thought they had found two completely new pieces, making

a total of three, because we'd already seen one large piece.' Ken clarified that

the previously seen piece is one of the so-called "new" pieces.

[RE: Marschall, Pellegrino notes, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst.]


Parks Stephenson

Principal Systems Engineer

Raytheon Company

San Diego, CA 92130




To: Parks Stephenson

From: James Cameron

Subject: Re: Titanic's Breakup

Cc: Charles Pellegrino

Bcc: Ken Marschall



"The shallow angle of incidence of the deck relative to the surface of the water

causes the water to rush up the deck very rapidly with only a couple of feet of

vertical change, once that deck begins to submerge."




Point taken about the shallow trim angle.' Why was 6 degrees chosen to tilt the

ship...was that dictated by the physical set-up, or did you select that angle

for a particular reason?


Parks: -------------based on preproduction' tests with models it represented a

compromise angle which could serve a number of scenes throughout the sinking --

since we had no way of continuously varying the angle of the set for early and

later scenes.' By counter-tilting the camera in scenes earlier in the sinking,

we could suggest the ship was at 3 or 4 degrees of bow-down pitch.' And the same

in reverse for later scenes.' I think the forward boat deck probably submerged

at an angle of 8 degrees, plus or minus a degree.' By the time the dome over the

grand-staircase goes under, you're looking at between 12 and 15 degrees.' Within

a matter of a minute or two after the boat deck started to submerge, the ship

was angling through 15 degrees as the water rushed aft along the boat deck past

the gym.' At somewhere aft of the gym, possibly around the compass platform, the

aft flow would have stopped as the ship's angle increased too much relative to

its rate of submergence, and in fact the water may have locally flowed back the

other way for a moment.' We were unable to continuously change angle on the set

as we lowered it, it was lowered straight down.


Dear Jim: I ask, because I am using Lightoller's report of swimming to the

crow's nest after being ejected from the vent grating as a benchmark for my

animation and am trying to decide what the exact angle would be at that point

(estimating 8 degrees).


Sparks: -----------I believe he swam toward the crow's nest when he first

entered the water.' Please check that.' In any case, I find Lightoller's account

to be impossible to reconcile with ship's geography.



--he describes diving off the deck house, swimming toward the crow's nest before

realizing it is (duh!) sinking too... then later being held down by

down-flooding at the stokehold vent.' He describes freeing himself and then

subsequently being trapped again -- in a very vivid description he says he

imagines that the grating will fail and he will fall to his death deep within

the ship.' The head of pressure against the grate would need to have been a few

feet to start his entrapment, and would have continued to progress at about 1

foot per second as that part of the ship descended.' Assuming that what felt

like minutes to him as he struggled was in reality ten seconds, he would have

gone from say 5 feet to 15 feet of depth before being ejected by a blast of air.''

It may have taken him even deeper, say twenty feet.' He then describes surfacing

and swimming away from the wreck, fetching up against collapsible B and being at

that point when the funnel falls and nearly hits the boat.


Dear Sparks:

--Here's what's wrong with that.' If he is 15 or 20 feet underwater when the

blast of air frees him, at the very base of the funnel, he needs to swim to the

surface, get oriented, and swim toward the boat, and reach it before the funnel

falls.' But if he starts this move when the base of the funnel (same level as

the vent) is 20 feet under water, and going down continuously at 1' /sec, and he

completes the move OUTSIDE THE RADIUS of the falling funnel (80' or more) --

then the funnel would have been almost completely submerged by then and could

not have fallen.' He's swimming up 20' and horizontally 80' to arrive outside

the radius-of-fall of a 75' funnel -- and even a strong swimmer, not pausing for

a second to catch his breath or look around for something to swim to, would have

required at least 40 seconds to do that.' He's in ice water, fully dressed, in

boots and sweater, out of breath from being dragged down -- a swim to outside

the radius of funnel fall would have taken at least a minute, and that's

assuming it was a highly motivated swim with a defined target.' At 1'/sec sink

rate, the standing funnel is completely submerged by that point (given that its

base is 20' submerged when he starts the move).' So it can't fall.' It's upright

and underwater -- can't fall.


Now, I believe the things he describes did happen to Lightoller.' He's a

whitewasher, and probably hid some facts to benefit the company and his career,

but I don't think he's a liar, and his account is quite vivid.


I think what happened is that he got held down by inrushing water at the vent

fwd of funnel 1.' When the funnel base was crushed by 20' of hydrostatic head,

it tore free of the inner casing, which allowed tons of water to rush down the

uptakes.' The sudden pressurization of the uptake spaces counteracted the inflow

of water at the relatively small orifice of the stokehold vent and blew him

free.' It could not have been a boiler explosion, because the boilers below were

all flooded by this time.' This is the only logical place for an uprush of

pressurized air to be coming from -- the failure of the funnel at its base.' So

Lightoller is beginning his swim to the surface and to Coll B JUST AS the funnel

is failing and falling.' He doesn't see it at all.' When he surfaces he thinks

he's near funnel 1, but really it's already gone, under water -- he missed it --

he's really seeing funnel 2.' In the darkness, confusion, cold etc. he doesn't

count the funnels aft -- his brain connects the dots -- a funnel was there when

he went under, and it's still there.' But it's a different funnel.'' He gets to

B, and the funnel falls -- but it's funnel 2.


It would have felt like they were being hit by a wave at the beach, even though

by comparison to that it was relatively small (only a foot or so).


As you know (please bear with me whenever I summarize testimony with which you

are already familiar...I do it in order to organize my thoughts), Gracie was

standing near the angle in the Officers' Quarters where the Marconigram tubes

turn downward to C Deck.' He claims that when he saw the water coming, both he

and Clinch Smith tried to jump up and grab the railing on top of the deckhouse,

but both jumps fell short.' As Gracie came down, the water hit him and he

decided to jump again with the rising water, rising "as if on the crest of a

wave at the seashore."' Thanks to the water lifting him up, he was able to grab

the rail on this second attempt and lift himself up onto the roof.' Before he

could regain his feet, though, the water closed over him and he was dragged down

with the ship, still clinging to the railing. - - Jim


Dear Jim: all that is correct.' At 1'/sec sink rate, the 9' deckhouse would have

fully submerged in 9 seconds.'


Dear Sparks: Assuming that when Gracie fell back after his first [attempted]

jumps, the water hitting him was about 18" deep (based on a combined aft-moving

wave and inboard-moving wave, which is what we saw happening), it would have

taken a subsequent 7.5 seconds for the water to lift him above the roof.' Small

to medium swells at the beach probably have a vertical rate about two or three

times this fast, but with a physical reference point right next to him (the

wall) he would have felt lifted quite rapidly.' He's not talking about getting

slammed by a ten foot wave... he's talking about the lifting effect of water,

which people normally only experience at the shore.' It's a metaphor.


This idea that the ship lurched forward is a sensory illusion caused by the

water moving across the deck, in a fore- to-aft direction.


Dear Jim: Point taken.


Dear Sparks: After our experiences with the full scale set, I have discounted

the statements about the ship "lurching forward."' The rising rate of flooding

may have caused a sudden acceleration downward at right about this time, as

flooding on A-deck gave access for the water to down-fill into the grand



Dear Jim: I understand what you're saying about the perspective from the people

on Boat Deck.' Lightoller tells us about a "slight but definite plunge" that he

felt atop the Officers' Quarters roof, and he watched the people on the deck

below become engulfed by the water. Lightoller thought a bulkhead had given way.'

I'm not convinced that any bulkhead gave way, save a portion of the fire-damaged

Bulkhead E. If I understand you correctly, you attribute Lightoller's plunge to

downfilling of the Grand Staircase?


Dear Sparks: Correct.' The rate of sinking is speeding up rapidly at this point.'

While the boat deck is going under, the grand staircase is down-shipping water

from the prom decks, which are probably fully equalized.


Dear Jim: I doubted the notion of the ship lurching forward.' If anything, I was

thinking along the lines of your next point:


If the break-up had begun at this point, in fact the downward arcing of the bow

would have accelerated, and the deck would be moving aft relative to a fixed

point on the surface.


But then your next point caused me to back away from that:


It is impossible for the breakup to have begun at this point for one simple

reason -- if the structural integrity of the hull had been compromised, the mass

of the sinking forward portion of the ship would not have continued to raise the

stern out of the water.


Dear Sparks: Our sinking animation from the movie is relatively accurate, even

now.' It is missing one crucial ingredient, which is that Titanic overall -- if

you could see it from a distance, and with the water column stripped away --

would have been flexing [somewhat] like an archery] bow from end to end prior to

the hull failing.


There is one suggestion that I will make to build upon it...that of making the

port list more significant in the later stages of the sinking.' Joughin tells us

that just as he reached the after well deck, the ship "gave a great list over to

port and threw everybody in a bunch except myself...I clambered on the

[starboard] side when she chucked them."' He also mentioned that during this

movement to port, the starboard side "was not going up, but the [port] side was

going down."


A lot depends on where Joughin was at this point in time.' He may have been

experiencing the tearing away of the bow section, which I've always assumed

imparted some kind of roll moment to the stern.''' It's logical that with the

port list, all other things being equal, the bow would have torn away from the

lowest point last, meaning the port side of the bottom.' This would have yanked

the stern hard down to port as the bottom tore across from stbd to port, and

then released it... which might account for the lurch.


The problem with this is that Joughin rode the starboard rail of the poop deck,

aft of the docking bridge, down into the sea.' So he doesn't have time to get

there, in this scenario.

So, either the lurch happened when he was already on the poop deck


He didn't get off at the poop deck

OR it's not the tearing away of the bow section [that he's describing].


I think, even drunk, Joughin knows where he is.' So let's eliminate the second

scenario.' We can check his account to see exactly where he is when the lurch

happens.' If it is on the well deck, then it's probably not the end of the

breakup.' So what else can it be?' With the ship listed to port, the release of

a funnel falling might impart enough of a roll moment to knock people down.'

It's a significant mass, hanging out on a 75' moment arm, suddenly becoming

uncoupled from the ship.


There is the possibility that a drunk baker, in the pandemonium, is actually

able to get across the well deck, past all the stumbling people, up the

choke-point of the well deck stairs, and 80' aft to the curved rail, in the

space of time it takes the stern section to sink.'' If this were the case, it

lends support to observers who saw the stern "right itself"... meaning come back

closer to a level attitude -- which would have happened when the hull failed.'

Only with the stern near level could he have made that move.' The well deck

stairs are so steep that even a 20 degree bow-down pitch of the ship would

render them vertical, or even past vertical.' It was difficult climbing the aft

stairs even at the 6 degree angle of the set.' So if the lurch was the breakup,

and Joughin made tracks aft while the stern was settled level and before it's

immediate flooding pulled it into a steep angle, he might have made it.' He

might also not have made it as far aft as I've always thought from his account.'

Charlie Pellegrino thinks he got off the side of the poop deck, maybe even

forward of the docking bridge.' If the ship was rolled significantly to port,

this might still have been the last part of the rail to go under. - - Jim


Dear Jim: RE your note, "If you look carefully at the '97 animation, you will

see two large pieces of bottom remaining attached between the bow section and

stern for a few frames of film as the two major sections separate."


I'm going to watch it again as soon as I can have the TV to myself. The DVD/CD

drive on my computer developed a fault recently and won't recognize DVDs.


Thank you for your detailed replies...your experience is well appreciated.




- - - - - - - -


To:Jim Cameron, Parks Stevenson

From: Charles Pellegrino

Subject: Titanic's Break-up


Dear Jim, Parks: Lightoller swam toward the crow's nest directly from the roof

of the bridge - and he clearly stated that the roof and the crow's nest (with

the nest about to dunk under) were almost level with the water at that time. He

was very certain of this. In the British Inquiry - 14054 - Lightoller walked

into the water from the roof of the officers' quarters: "Well, I was swimming

out towards the head of the ship, the crow's nest. I could see the crow's nest."


He then wondered [as he spoke to the examiners] whether or not he had a thought

of pulling himself out of the water, into the crow's nest.


In his 1935 published memoir ("Titanic and Other Ships), Lightoller wrote:

"Turning to the forepart of the bridge, I took a header... Ahead of me the

lookout cage [the crow's nest] on the foremast was visible just above the

water... I struck out blindly for this, but only for a while." The various

Lightoller descriptions all have the crow's nest about to reach the water when

the water reaches the roof of the bridge - - a basis for, under consultation

with Walter Lord, the angles given in the illustration sequence for "Ghosts of

the Titanic," and for the less detailed sequence (1987) for "Her Name, Titanic."


On the subject of lights seen after the stern broke away: Lightoller was clear

in his 1936 audio account (see posting from Walter Lord File, under "Crew," that all the lights went out at once, when he thought he

heard the boilers break away. Lightoller (in the water at that time - and for

two periods of many seconds actually under the water) appears, from his

accounts, not to have seen very well in the dark - - whereas others, equipped

with "owl eyes," saw a red flagstaff kerosene lantern (Joughin) and other dim

objects, including the ship's figure seen under starlight, and star-lit shapes

nearby. We also have rare but pervasive accounts of the brief flickering back on

of the lights (Joughin and White are examples of this), followed by almost

instant dousing, followed by a dull but persistent red glow seen through some of

the windows along the tilting and submerging decks - after the stern broke away

from the bow. The red glow was, accordingly, extinguished as the windows,

one-by-one, reached the water. The electric lights were down to a brown-out red

glow, near the end, just before the break; and I have often suspected that

accounts of post-break reddish electric lights somehow burning impossibly might

actually have been small and possibly spreading fires ignited near the smoking

lounge fireplace and elsewhere when she tilted, broke, and accomplished such

mischief as spilling burning coals from a fireplace - forward and across

carpeting. Sparks from an anvil chorus (or, rather, from a brief symphony) of

cracking and self-hammering steel, would have provided literally thousands of

simultaneous ignition points, each one looking for kindling. The mysterious

lights behind the windows might be corroboration of this effect.


See you later,

- - Charlie P.




To: Parks Stephenson

From: Jim Cameron

Subject: Re: More on Titanic's breakup

Cc: Ken Marschall

Bcc: Charles Pellegrino



Dear Jim: You may have noticed this during one of your many dives, but during my

time on the wreck, I was surprised to see when we "flew" just a few feet over

the forward starboard fidley [described vividly in Charles Lightoller's survival

account] - - it was bowed upward (outward) in the middle.' I knew from imagery

looking down on the grate that it had been deformed, but didn't realize until I

was actually looking at it that some force from within the fidley trunk had

pushed the bars of the grate upward and apart.' The companion grate to port lies

flat and relatively undamaged.' Could this be corroboration for Lightoller's

account?' Maybe. - - Sparks



Dear Parks: I don't think his account necessarily needs corroboration on this

point-- it seems a very odd thing to claim, or even to imagine, if it didn't

happen --but you're right -- we made a close examination of that grate with the

Xbot, and its definitely pushed out.'' I visualize some object broken loose

below and flung upward by escaping air, whacking into the grate from below.' But

equally possible, something flying around outside the ship, like the end of a

broken shackle, could have gotten wedged in the grate and then put under outside

tension, pulling it out.


Dear Jim:

One more observation about Collapsible B.' I have always assumed that B landed

upside-down on the Boat Deck after being shoved off the roof of the Officers'

Quarters.' However, when I was collecting personal accounts recently to try and

flesh out the nature of the "wave," I could not find any direct observation

about B landing upside-down.' On the contrary, Bride states directly -- and

Lightoller implies indirectly -- that the boat was ready for launching but was

swept from the deck.' Bride thought about getting in when the wave hit and hung

onto an oarlock (which would have been difficult for him to do if the boat were

upside-down on the deck) as both he and the boat were swept overboard.' I

speculate that the boat turned turtle at that point, with Bride underneath.' If

so, this might also mean that the same force that washed the boat overboard and

turned it turtle (Collapsible A on the other side was momentarily attached to

Titanic by her bow lines and the force of the "wave" upset the boat and threw

out Steward Brown) also pushed the boat aft, more toward the #2 funnel.


I asked Don Lynch if he knew of any account that specifically stated that B

landed upside-down on the deck and he could not immediately think of any.' I

didn't, however, ask him to make a dedicated study of this. - - Parks


Dear Sparks: I've never read an account specifically saying the boat reached the

deck upright and was prepared for launch in that position.' However, the image

of it flipping off the roof in "Night to Remember" is so indelible that I have

always assumed this was common knowledge.' Now that you mention it, it's

probably wise for us to confirm it happened this way, if it did.


I believe Bride went to the roof to help with the lowering -- in that position

the boat was still upright.' Later, he was washed off the ship and wound up,

surprisingly, under the boat.' I always thought this was an effect of suction,

turbulence and the confused currents over the sinking ship, that he randomly

came up under what turned out to be the upturned collapsible.' However, I'd like

confirmation of this.


I don't believe that the boilers exploded.' Beauchamp makes it clear that the

fires were fully drawn in BR#6.' There was no time to draw the fires in

Britannic and the boilers in her BR#6 show little evidence of explosion, if any.'

The only detail that gives me pause are two of the single-ended boilers imaged

by NOAA last year...both boilers had cracked furnace fronts, two of which were

forced outward.' Now, the testimony doesn't indicate that the boilers in BR#1

were ever lit for speed, but I can imagine Chief Engineer Bell lighting the

boilers in BR#1 after the collision and loss of BR#5 and #6 (and water rising in

BR#4) in order to maintain service steam [to keep the electric generators

running] for as long as possible.' The boilers wouldn't have been completely

online by the time the ship sank, but that doesn't rule out the possibility that

earlier on the engineers wouldn't have tried.


They knew the flooding was progressing fore to aft, and it was logical that the

engineers would have known that BR 1 would have provided emergency steam

longer/later than the forward rooms.' 6 and 5 were already shut down, 4 had

flooding and I'm sure they could see the pattern.' Toward the end, some steam

was still being made somewhere, to turn the dynamos.' I vote BR 2, but probably

they brought BR 1 on line as a backup.


Now, as for Charles Joughin and the behavior of a dying ship:


Joughin's account [From the British Inquiry] places him at the well deck when

the ship "gave a great list to port."' He also states that it would have been

impossible to reach the poop, except from outside the railing.


6039. Then, after having thrown these deck chairs overboard, did you go up to

the boat deck again? - I went to the deck pantry.

6040. Tell us what happened? - I went to the deck pantry, and while I was in

there I thought I would take a drink of water, and while I was getting the drink

of water I heard a kind of a crash as if something had buckled, as if part of

the ship had buckled, and then I heard a rush overhead.

6042. Is the deck pantry on A deck? - Yes.

6045. People running - yes? - When I got up on top I could then see them

clambering down from those decks. Of course, I was in the tail end of the rush.

6047. (The Solicitor-General.) They had run along as far aft as they could on

the boat deck? - Yes.

6048. Did you see them clambering down to get on to the A deck so as to get

further aft? - Their idea was to get on to the poop.

6049. You say that you heard this sound of buckling or crackling. Was it loud;

could anybody in the ship hear it? - You could have heard it, but you did not

really know what it was. It was not an explosion or anything like that. It was

like as if the iron was parting.


-- -----------looks like Joughin was hearing the first stages of the break-up.'

He was not far from the greatest concentration of stress.


6051. Was it immediately after that sound that you heard this rushing of people

and saw them climbing up? - Yes.

6052. What did you do? - I kept out of the crush as much as I possibly could,

and I followed down - followed down getting towards the well of the deck, and

just as I got down towards the well she gave a great list over to port and threw

everybody in a bunch except myself. I did not see anybody else besides myself

out of the bunch.


-------------- seems a little far fetched that the drunk guy was the only one

NOT thrown off his feet.


6053. That was when you were in the well, was it? - I was not exactly in the

well, I was on the side, practically on the side then. She threw them over. At

last I clambered on the side when she chucked them.

6054. You mean the starboard side? - The starboard side.

6055. The starboard was going up and she took a lurch to port? - It was not

going up, but the other side was going down.


------ his perception was of a powerful list, the ship rolling to port.' This

could be the moment of the bow tearing away, if it detached from the port side,

which would have pulled it down significantly prior to detaching.


6056. It is very difficult to say how many, I daresay, but could you give me

some idea, of how many people there were in this crush? - I have no idea, Sir; I

know they were piled up.

6057. What do you mean when you say, "No idea." Were there hundreds? - Yes,

there were more than that - many hundreds, I should say.

6058. (The Solicitor-General.) You said this vessel took a lurch to port and

threw them in a heap. Did she come back; did she right herself at all? - No,



---------- interesting comment, because it would appear to eliminate any major

longitudinal axis change.


6059. She took a lurch and she did not return? - She did not return.

6060. Can you tell us what happened to you? - Yes, I eventually got on to the

starboard side of the poop.

6063. (The Solicitor-General.) What you said, I think, was that you got to the

starboard side of the poop? - Yes, on the side of the ship.

6066. (The Commissioner.) "I got on the side of the ship by the poop"? - Yes.

6068. You got hold of the rail. Let Mr. Wilding turn the model up till you say

how far you think it had gone. (Mr. Wilding turned the model.)? - I should say

about that, but then the forward part is sloping. (Showing on model.)


------------- too bad they don't have photos or descriptions of where he is



6069. The forward part is down by the head? - Yes.

6072. Were you holding the rail so that you were inside the ship, or were you

holding the rail so that you were on the outside of the ship? - On the outside.


---------- imagine how far over the ship must have rolled to make this position

possible.' He's standing here, stable enough to be checking his watch and

transferring stuff from pocket to pocket -- so he's holding on with one hand --

but he's outside the ship's rail -- it would seem the list would have to have

been 20 degrees or so at this point.


6073. So that the rail was between you and the deck? - Yes.

6074. Then what happened? - Well, I was just wondering what next to do. I had

tightened my belt and I had transferred some things out of this pocket into my

stern pocket. I was just wondering what next to do when she went.


--------- he's in a relatively stable position, not holding on for dear life,

when his position on the ship reaches the water.


6075. And did you find yourself in the water? - Yes.

6076. Did you feel that you were dragged under or did you keep on the top of the

water? - I do not believe my head went under the water at all. It may have been

wetted, but no more.


6201. They would have to go up two or three staircases. As a matter of fact,

when you came across to the boat deck, did you see some of the people on this

poop deck? - Very few on the poop deck.

6202. Where were the people whom you saw? - In the well deck.

6203. All in the well deck? - Yes.


------------ I've always imagined they clustered as far astern as possible,

meaning the poop deck.


6204. And they would get from the well deck to the boat deck? - This was at the

finish I saw the people. I never saw them in that quarter of the boat till the



6251. When you were on the poop did you see anybody attempting to come up on to

the poop after you - following you up? - It was an impossibility for them to get

on to the poop.

6252. Are there no ladders going on to the poop? - But the ship was like that.

(Showing.) The ladders would be astern. The people were all on the port side in

one bunch. There was nobody on the starboard side; in fact you could not see.


------- I'm not sure what this means.' There are ladders port and stbd.' I think

he's talking about the longitudinal angle... the difficulty of climbing the

ladders when the ladders have tipped past vertical.


6253. It has been stated that she turned practically perpendicular. I want to

ask your opinion about that, because I think it is very important. Did you see

the propellers come out of the water at all? - She was not far out of the water

at any stage that I saw.


--------- absence of a negative is not a positive.' He would have had very

little reference for the height of the ship looking down into dark water.' The

people in the boats could see this better.


6254. So that to say that she stood up like that - (Showing.) - would be wrong?

- It would be absolutely wrong.

6255. She simply glided away? - She went down that fashion (Showing.) It was a

glide. There was no great shock, or anything.


------ this is still interesting.' I would love to have seen the angles he's

showing with his hands.



6359. (The Solicitor-General - To the Witness.) There is one other thing. You

may be able to tell us about the electric light in the afterpart of the ship.

You have described how you heard the breaking of the metal, the rending of

metal, followed by this rush of people to the poop. At the time when you heard

the rending of metal, were the electric lights burning in the part of the ship

you saw? - The electric lights were burning right to the very last. I saw the

time by my watch at a quarter-past two.


------------ aren't the dynamos in the area of the break-up?' Doesn't it seem to

indicate the breakup happened very late relative to final submergence if the

lights are still on at 2:15?


6360. You looked at your watch? - Yes.

6361. You were carrying it? - Yes, I had it in this pocket. I was transferring

it from this pocket to my stern pocket.

6362. And you looked at it as you did it? - Yes.

6363. Were you holding on to the rail at the time? - No, I was getting towards

the rail. It was a quarter-past two then.


--------- so he doesn't go outside the rail before 2:15.



6364. And the electric light was burning then? - Yes.

6365. So that there was never a time when you were on that ship when there was

not electric light where you were? - Right to the very finish that I saw.

6366. (The Commissioner.) Your opinion is it was burning until the afterpart of

the ship went down. Do you mean that? - Yes, I saw it.


------------ this seems impossible.' Let's not forget the guy was drunk, and

even sober most people jumble the sequence and timing of events.' Things like

where he was, what he was touching -- these can be considered more accurate.'

But chronological sequences are notoriously unreliable in the best of witnesses.


I included this last part about the lights because I was also intrigued by what

Electrician Ranger had to say about the lights:


4109. You would have a particular interest in the lights? - The emergency light

engine was running as I passed it coming up the dummy funnel.

4110. Just above the electric store that was pointed out before. Now just tell

us about the lights. You saw the lights of the "Titanic" as you moved away. Did

you notice at all when the stern, the afterpart of the vessel, got on a level

keel whether there were any lights then? - The lights seemed to be going out



--------- this is more in keeping with the generally understood situation.


4111. Did you hear any explosion? - No, Sir.

4112. When you say "The lights seemed to be going out," will you explain to us

what you mean? You saw the vessel dive down? - Yes.

4113. The fore part of her? - Yes.

4114. When you say the forward end seemed to break off, and the afterpart came

back on a level keel, and then you say the lights were going out. When she came

back like that on a level keel were there any lights? - Right aft. The lights

were right aft what were burning, on the afterend what was floating.


---------------- this agrees with Joughin.' But where is the power coming from

for this if the breakup is already well in progress?' The dynamo rooms should be



4115. You mean the afterpart of the aft end? - Yes.

4116. Where, the taffrail, or where? Did you notice? - Along here. (Showing on


4117. Just about abeam of the dummy funnel, do you mean? - Yes.

4118. And did they continue burning then right away aft to the taffrail? - Yes,

right aft.

The Commissioner: I do not understand this.


------------ nor do I.


4119. (The Attorney-General.) How long did you see them burning? - The lights

gradually went out as the aft end of the ship went under.

The Commissioner: That is what I do not understand. I should have thought that

the lights would either remain all alight or all go out.

The Attorney-General: When the water gets over the dynamo it would stop them,

would not it?

The Commissioner: They were being worked, as I understand, at this time by the

emergency dynamo.

4120. (The Attorney-General.) Yes. That, if it were working, would be as he

describes, just about abreast of the dummy funnel, directly underneath it. As I

understand it, he says the lights were burning in the afterend. (To the

Witness.) I suppose that when the emergency dynamo got into the water the lights

would go out? - Yes, it stops the fuse.


----------- where exactly is the emergency dynamo?


- - Jim


Dear Jim:

Regarding our double-bottom piece (I will hereafter refer to the two pieces as

one, because I hold with Ken Marschall's speculation that that section of the

d-b structure was intact when it separated from the larger hull structure and

subsequently failed into two pieces on the way to the ocean floor), my intention

is to show the d-b piece separating from its forward end (frame 15 or

thereabouts) as the bow section tears away.' Although compromised as a section

as far back as frame 35, it remains attached to the stern section by the keel

member and therefore jutts forward of the engines.' As the stern falls through

the water, though, hydrodynamic pressure "folds" the section of d-b structure up

and back against the engines. - - Sparks


Dear Sparks: It's easier to imagine it flipping the other direction, outboard,

and slamming against the underside of the keel.' But remember the steel is quite

ductile, and 180 degree bends, if made slowly enough, don't break the steel

(witness the poop deck, bent double).' Also remember that the stern sinks nearly

vertical, probably achieves vertical due to buoyancy aft creating a strong

righting moment, and then later swings through about 120 degrees to descend in a

relatively stable position, about 30 degrees butt down.' After that swing

through, the bottom could have flapped back the other way and torn off at that

point, which would give you the bending seen at the torn edges. - - Jim


Dear Jim:

Before the hull separation, the keel member at around frame 35 was subjected to

compressive forces, now the hydrodynamic flow is impacting on the "sail area" of

our plated d-b structure, which now puts the keel member under tension.' This

reversal of stresses causes the keel member to fail from fatigue and the d-b

structure detaches completely from the wreck.' The keel member seen on the aft

edge of the after section shows that it failed while under tension, which is

part of the reason why Roger Long has the two major halves of the hull under

tension during the break. - - Sparks


Dear Sparks: What Roger describes is an impossible scenario in my mind.' The

tension failure is better explained by the bottom section hanging on and getting

ripped off later.' I believe this steel could bend in such a way that bulges and

folds caused by compression are later "pulled out" by subsequent tension, and

never see the light of day.


Witness the forward well deck --- I have believed for years' that there was a

point, a second or two after initial impact [with the seabed], that the bow

section was bent downward in the middle, the opposite of the way it now lies.'

Moments later, as the aft end slammed down, it put all the top surfaces of the

bow section in tension, collapsing the decks aft, opening the fwd expansion

joint, and bending the whole hull aft of the bridge by about 17 degrees relative

to the slope of the focs'le - which essentially brought the boat deck aft of the

bridge back almost level.' This bending action put the well deck under enough

tension to pull it out straight, like a drum head... it even pulls the base of

the forward bulkheads (aft walls of the C deck rooms under the focs'le) out at

the base, leaning them at about a 20 degree angle.' Whatever buckling from

compression the well deck experienced at the moment of impact was reversed and

smoothed out to the point that there is almost no clue.' The only clue is the

extreme tension, which is pulling out the base of those walls.


I think processes like these could be masking steps in the process of separation

of the new double bottom pieces.' We are only seeing the last thing which

happened to them, which may not have been the most significant to the story. - -



Dear Jim:

I am going to argue instead that it was only our d-b section that failed in that

manner.' Do you think that this is a reasonable assumption upon which to build

my animation?




- - - -

To: Parks (Sparks) Stevenson

From: James Cameron

Subject: Re: Emergency lighting system

Cc: Marschall, Pellegrino


Excerpts from the BOT report:




From Sparks:

Auxiliary Generating Sets. - In addition to the four main generating sets, there

were two 30 kilowatt engines and dynamos situated on a platform in the turbine

engine room casing on saloon deck level, 20 ft. above the water line. [D Deck,

just aft of the #4 funnel ventilation trunk and 2 decks below the Restaurant]

They were of the same general type as the main sets.

These auxiliary emergency sets were connected to the boilers by means of a

separate steam pipe running along the working passage above E deck, with

branches from three boiler rooms, Nos. 2, 3 and 5, so that, should the main sets

be temporarily out of action, the auxiliary sets could provide current for such

lights and power appliances as would be required in the event of emergency.


Emergency Circuit. - A separate and distinct installation was fitted in all

parts of the vessel, deriving current from the two 30 kilowatt sets above

mentioned, so that in the event of the current from the main dynamos being

unavailable an independent supply was obtainable. Connected to the emergency

circuit above were 500 incandescent lamps fitted throughout all passenger, crew

and machinery compartments, at the end of passages, and near stairways, also on

the Boat deck, to enable anyone to find their way from one part of the ship to

the other.

The following were also connected to the emergency circuit by means of

change-over switches: - Five arc lamps, seven cargo and gangway lanterns,

Marconi apparatus, mast, side and stern lights, and all lights on bridge,

including those for captainâ's, navigating and chart rooms, wheel house,

telegraphs and Morse signaling lanterns, and four electrically-driven boat

winches. These latter, situated on the Boat deck, were each capable of lifting a

load of 15 cwt. at a speed of 100 ft. per minute.


Auxiliary Steam Pipes. - The five single-ended boilers and those in boiler rooms

Nos. 2 and 4 had separate steam connections to the pipe supplying steam for

working the auxiliary machinery, and the five single-ended boilers and the two

port boilers in boiler room No. 2 had separate steam connections to the pipe

supplying steam for working the electric light engines. A cross connection was

also made between the main and auxiliary pipes in the reciprocating engine room,

so that the auxiliaries could be worked from any boiler in the ship. Steam pipes

also were led separately from three of the boiler rooms (Nos. 2, 3, 5) above the

watertight bulkheads and along the working passage to the emergency electric

light engines placed above the loadline in the turbine room. Pipes were also led

from this steam supply to the pumps in the engine room, which were connected to

the bilges throughout the ship.




Also, Titanic's lights ran off a single-wire system with the returns carried

back to various grounds attached to the ship's hull.' As long as the dynamos

were providing current, some sections of the emergency lighting circuit (which

is what I believe that both Joughin and Ranger saw) would still function as

others are lost.


- - Sparks


- - - - - - - - - -

Dear Sparks:

Sounds to me like the lights could have stayed on even if the hull began to open

up to the sea below the aft expansion joint.' Water would not have immediately

reached the emergency dynamos because of their height above water.' However, it

would have taken relatively little longitudinal stretching of the steam system

before lines parted and the dynamos lost pressure and ran down.' The dimming of

the lights to a ruddy glow described by many witnesses would seem to suggest

this is what happened.' The going out and coming back on briefly described by a

couple of witnesses could be human hands switching or bypassing blown fuses or

attempting to re-route power, unsuccessfully.


It seems hard to imagine the lights staying on through the actual breakup, since

the entire area of the dynamos, to say nothing of all the longitudinal wiring

runs, would have been coming apart.' I think Joughin is mistaken about the

lights staying on to the end.' Most witnesses describe the lights failing well

before Titanic went down.' I believe there was a kerosene light somewhere near

the stern -- at the taff rail or somewhere.' He may have been near that.' Or he

may just have the kind of jumbled recollection which is common in highly

stressful situations. (Note from C. Pellegrino: Joughin made specific reference

to the red kerosene lantern, near the flag on the very end of the stern - and to

the lantern being visible long after the electric lights had gone out.)


It's not clear from the description below if the single ended boilers fed the

emergency dynamos. It seems conflicting --- first paragraph says they got

pressure from BR's 2,3 and 5, but the last paragraph includes BR 1.


If the single ended boilers [from the aft-most boiler room, from Boiler Room #1]

show evidence of being on, as you have observed, it is very likely they were on

to supply auxiliary power.


- - Jim out


- - - - - - - - -


From: Charles Pellegrino

To: James Cameron


Dear Jim, Parks: I have mentioned the possibility that the lights Joughin,

White, Ranger and a few others saw after the stern broke away could have

included small fires merely mistaken for electric lights. Some might also have

been lights powered by emergency batteries located near the light room in the

stern (starboard of the turbine, I believe), much as the Marconi apparatus had

emergency battery power. Also, as a power source, how much steam pressure from

Boiler Room 1 could have been stored aft for the emergency dynamo?


On the break-away of the stern itself: The telescoping inward and aft, of the

down-bending forward portion of the bow section's double-hulled keel (just

forward of the bridge), has always led me to believe that the stern's keel

behaved similarly - not like the holding together of the hinge of a door, but as

an aft-penetrating ram, pushed by a center of rotation higher up. By analogy,

east (Church Street) footage of the east-tilting South Tower's top thirty

floors, on 9/11, reveal buckling and rapid disintegration as the steel frame of

the east face suddenly telescopes downward and eastward, indoors, against a

center of rotation located just west of the ram point. For about 1.5 seconds,

the initial crash is analogous to both the break-away of the stern and to the

on-impact-with-the-bottom bending of the bow section. I believe that the forces

at the surface of the Atlantic, that night, were such that the bending of

Titanic, too (like the meeting points of the WTC collapse), behaved almost as

fluid motion mechanics at the interface between bow and stern. I think the floor

of the #1 boiler room actually pushed the boilers into the reciprocating engine

room - for about a half second, maybe for two seconds - before the floors of

both rooms began disintegrating into large slabs.


Whether or not the keel held long enough to pull the stern down from the front

(doubtful), or whether the keel simply "liquefied" at the junction, does not

matter. The result for the stern would have been essentially identical in either

case. There were probably enough cracks extending even aft into the turbine room

(although the 23 September 2001 dive revealed a bulkhead separating the

reciprocating and turbine engine rooms to be still intact in its lowermost

portions - with the water-tight door closed [though whether it was closed at

break moment, or slammed down upon bottom impact, cannot yet be determined]) -

enough cracks, possibly, even into the turbine room to cause rapid flooding

forward in the stern section, so that after initially falling back toward the

propellers, the stern flooded forward and raised her propellers again (as

illustrated in the "Ghosts of the Titanic" sequence). I'm not sure, yet, that we

can really tell the difference - whether she held together at the keel for a few

seconds (though I am as to doubt this), or behaved more like the Towers at the

break point.


See you later,

- - Charlie P.




Subject: Re: Joughin's sobriety





Thank you for your responses to my last.' Because of the time crunch, I'm going

to construct an animation that captures everything we've discussed to date, to

the best of my fledging animating ability.' I'll send it to you for comment before

presenting it to Lone Wolf.


I have often wondered how impaired Joughin was by alcohol.' He certainly was

more productive, more observant, than others who had nothing at all to drink.'

According to his own account (and forgive me for running through a story that you already

know, but it helps me to arrive at a conclusion), upon hearing of the emergency,

he anticipated the need for provisions in the lifeboats and had his bakers

report topside with four loaves of bread apiece.' After retiring to his cabin for a bit

of whiskey, he went topside to report to his boat.' Finding that women were

reluctant to board, he went searching for them, hauling some up from the Promenade Deck by

force.' He was assigned to captain Boat #10, but saw that there were enough men

to safely handle the boat, so he helped to launch it instead.' It "would have

set a bad example" to go with it at that point.' After seeing his assigned

boat away, he went back down below for another drink.' Water started to come in,

so he made his way back to Boat Deck.' The boats were gone by now, but Joughin

still felt that there was something he could do to help people.' He started chucking

deck chairs through the promenade windows, about 50 in all.' This was hard work, so

Joughin went to the A Deck pantry for some water.' That's where I picked up in my last

message with his specific testimony.


It's impossible to know how impaired Joughin was by the drink he imbibed.' Some

handle their liquor better than others.' Extraordinary events can sober people

up to varying degrees.' Joughin seemed to grasp the situation better than most,

which may be the main reason for his survival.' Regardless, his is the only survivor

account to come from the ship aft of the well deck that I am aware of (as far as I know,

Abelseth was next closest, but he abandoned ship next to the #4 funnel).' I'm

going to ask Don [Lynch] if he knows of any more.' There is risk in accepting any

single eyewitness account without corroboration, so I'm looking at what we know forensically about

the movement of the stern while keeping Joughin's account in mind.' Conversely,

we might be able to use Joughin's observations to fill in gaps in our forensic

knowledge, as long as they don't conflict with the physical evidence.


The same holds true for Joughin's observation about the lights.' I included

Ranger's testimony because his duties as an electrican (officially, he was a "Light

Room Greaser," whose job was to maintain and repair the fans, which I think

we would today consider an "electrician") and his vantage point (Boat

#4, 100 yds from Titanic) provide both added weight to his observations and some

corroboration to Joughin's.' I realise that others describe the lights

extinguishing for good just before the break and cannot reconcile the discrepancy between the

two versions.' Typical research conundrum...who do you believe?


I'm sending particulars about the emergency lighting system in a separate

e-mail, following this.


Joughin's climb outside the rail is also corroborated to a certain extent by

Jack Thayer's description of his friend Milton Long sliding down the starboard side

of the ship.' I take it from this that the ship had listed to port far enough to

make this means of escape appear somewhat viable.


This was supposed to be a short reply, but I can't stop thinking as I type.' I'm

wondering now about what effect the twisting to port had on the unsupported mass

of the stern.' If Joughin's account is correct, then the stern had a tendency to

port that was intensified when the bow started to tear away.' Would this be

because the starboard-side shell plating failed first?' If so, wouldn't this indicate

that because of the increasing port list that a good portion of the load of the

unsupported stern had transferred to the upper-starboard side of the hull girder and the

starboard' shell plating?' How would this affect the final observed condition of our

double-bottom piece?


- - Parks


Dear Parks:


Joughin's account is astounding on many levels.' I believe his observations are

valid up to a point, but I would not trust time sequences.' As for being drunk,

some people function best in that mode (like our good friend and walking

phenomenon, Lewis). 'You have energy, you don't feel cold or fear, and your mind

is working instinctively which for some is better than when they're sober.


I would not believe Joughin about the lights.' I'm sure he remembers the lights

when they were on, vividly...' He probably does not much remember the last few

minutes, or the impressions are jumbled.' The mere fact of the lights staying on

as long as they did was remarkable to all who witnessed it, and that idea may

have influenced the memory.


The only way to reconcile all the testimony, from all the witnesses, with the

physical facts of the breakup and the fact that a substantial minority of

witnesses remember seeing the ship break up at the surface after the lights went

out, is to accept the idea that the lights failed just before, during or just

after the start of the hull failure, and that the break up took place in the

dark, when most people's vision had not adjusted.' Only in this way can such a

momentous occurrence, described by some but not the majority, have happened

without being accurately described by all present.' Most remember the noise,

which was described like explosions, thunder or crashing machinery -- but

relatively few associated the noise with the physical destruction of the ship.


Thayer does describe the slide down the hull -- but the clinker-built boat hulls

had been scraping down the stbd side for some time, so this is not new at that

point.' However, to be sliding down the hull in a controlled way, rather than

scraping fast down the hull in a fall,' and to feel like that was a valid escape

plan -- you'd have to be listed more like 20 degrees.


I've lately been thinking that Lightoller had less time to deal with launching

his collapsible than Murdoch did because of the list -- the port boat deck was

going under before the stbd.' The port list would have been accelerating

throughout the final hour of the sinking --- Scotland Road was providing a main

artery aft for down-filling on the port side, the D-Deck port gangway door was

left open by the detail Lightoller sent below, and the list itself, once in

progress, would have opened higher windows (at C, B and A decks) which were left

open, to the sea earlier than stbd windows.


The port list might have been more than the quoted six degrees (where does that

come from anyway?) and more like 10-20.


With a substantial list to port at the moment of break-up, the mechanics of the

breakup get more complicated ------ the stress concentrations would presumably

be highest on the stbd hull just below the expansion joint, because the port

hull would be more supported, being lower in the water.' It would seem likely

the stbd side failed first, and it might follow that the port side of the bottom

was the last to separate -- if so this adequately explains the sudden lurch down

to port felt by Joughin, and that roll moment would have continued as the stern

flooded and went more vertical, which would explain Thayer seeing the ship

"turning its face away"... since Thayer left the ship to stbd, the stern would

have to turn to port to face the decks away from him.' This all seems to add up,

and supports Joughin's testimony of standing outside the rail on the stbd poop

deck -- standing on the side of the ship, stbd being the high side.


For the animation I would show the bow tearing away from stbd to port, inducing

a sudden roll of the stern to port.


This imparted roll is not exclusive of the idea of the stern falling back and

the bow descending straight down after separation.' I would not eliminate these

ideas.' The stern was seen to fall back level or to "right itself" by a number

of witnesses, and there is that wave which hit the boats 500m away, which could

only be explained by a large sudden displacement of water.' And the evidence for

the bow taking off toward the bottom at a near vertical angle is overwhelming.


Joughin's testimony is at odds with the stern falling back level and later going

vertical -- but who would you believe -- the guy who saw a car flip over twice

and roll down an embankment, or the guy who was in the car.' Joughin was riding

Titanic through its gyrations, in an all black field, with no reference frame.'

His recollection of the ship's attitude must be taken with much salt.' I believe

his relative values -- port lower than starboard -- but not his absolutes --

"ship was not at a high angle".


You might lessen the amount of the stern falling back from my two previous

animations, to account somewhat for Joughin's testimony.' And you might reduce

the height of the stern and the degree to which it goes vertical before it

sinks... maybe going vertical just as or just after it submerges.


But I strongly believe that Roger's idea that the bottom broke the opposite way,

failing with a downward bend in the middle, instead of bending down fore and aft

of the break, is impossible.' The bending and folding seen at the edges of the

two bottom sections must be explained in other ways, and there are mechanisms

which could account for what is observed -- such as the bottom staying attached

and bending in the flow as the stern plunged.


- - Jim out


- - - - - - - - - - - - -

To: James Cameron

From: Charles Pellegrino

Subject: Joughin's Sobriety


Dear Jim: Joughin's impression was that he had made it to the aft-most part of

the stern - - but it's equally possible that he was merely forward along the

starboard side (of the stern section) when the water, as he described it, gently

rose over his feet - allowing him to step off without even getting his hair

wet, before the acceleration to the final plunge had really begun.


Note also Harold Bride's description of the water coming into the Marconi Shack

(about two minutes before the bridge went under; perhaps five minutes before the

break began) - in his report to Jim Speers, of the N.Y. Times, Bride said the

water was rushing into the room as he and Philips fled. I believe that Speers

might have embellished a bit for drama, at this point. Even with a known list to

port that would have flooded the port side Marconi Shack while Murdoch's team

tried to push Boat A uphill and over the starboard edge, the pieces of the

Speers report on Harold Bride do not quite mesh together. Bride's report nine

days later, to Mr. Marconi himself, may be more accurate in its description of

the last moments in the Marconi Shack, the water level on the port side boat

deck near the end, and the launching of Boat B (which Bride certainly described

as having gone off the port side boat deck upside down, by the time he left it).


Bride to Marconi: "The noise of escaping steam directly over our cabin caused a

deal of trouble to Mr. Phillips in reading the replies to our distress call, and

this also I reported to Captain Smith who by some means managed to get it

abated. [C. Pellegrino Note: Stack venting shut down between Bride's visit to

the bridge and, at 12:45AM, Boat #7 becoming the first boat to leave the ship.

Bride was asked to enter and assist #7, but declined the offer of safety and

joined Phillips instead.] The 'Olympic' next answered but as far as I know Mr.

Phillips did not go to much trouble with her as we now realized the awful state

of affairs, the ship was listing heavily to the port and forward.


"The Captain [C. Pellegrino Note: at approximately 1:40 - 1:50AM] also came in

and told us, she was sinking fast and would not last longer than half an hour.

Mr Phillips then went outside to see how things were progressing and meanwhile I

established communication with the 'Baltic' [about 1:50AM], telling him we were

in urgent need of assistance. This I reported to Mr. Phillips on his return but

suggested M.B.C. was too far away to be of any use. Mr. Phillips told me the the

forward well deck was under water, and we got our life belts out, and tied them

on each other, after putting on additional clothing. [C. Pellegrino Note:

Quartermaster Rowe, in the American Inquiry, parag. 19687, reported that the

forward well deck had flooded between 1:45 and 2:00AM.] Again, Mr. Phillips

called CQD and SOS and for nearly five minutes got no reply, and then both the

Carpathia and the Frankfurt called. Just at this moment the captain came into

the cabin and said, 'You can do nothing more, look out for yourselves...'


"Leaving Mr. Phillips operating, I went to our sleeping cabin and got all our

money together, returning to find a Fireman or Coal Trimmer gently [untying and]

relieving Mr. Phillips of his lifebelt [with Phillips still at the controls, not

noticing]. There immediately followed a general scrimmage with the three of us.

I regret to say, we left too hurriedly in the end to take the man in question

with us, and without doubt he sank with the ship in the Marconi Cabin as we left

him. I had up to this time kept the P.V. entered up intending when we left the

ship to tear out the lot and each to take a copy, but now we could hear the

water rushing over the [port side] boat deck, and Mr. Phillips said, 'Come,

let's clear out.'


"We had nearly the whole time been in possession of full power from the ship's

Dynamo, though toward the end the lights sank [in brightness], and we were ready

to stand by with the emergency apparatus and candles, but there was no necessity

to use them.


"Leaving the cabin we climbed on top of the [deck] houses comprising the

officers' quarters, and our own [quarters], and here I saw the last of Phillips

for he disappeared walking aft.


"I now assisted pushing off a collapsible lifeboat, which was on the port side

of the forward funnel, onto the boat deck [from the roof]. Just as the boat

fell, I noticed Captain Smith dive from the Bridge into the sea. Then followed a

general scramble down to the boat deck but no sooner had we got there than the

sea washed over. I managed to catch hold of the boat we had previously forced up

and was swept overboard with her... As you have probably heard I got on the

collapsible boat a second time, which was as I had left it, upturned."


NOTE: Bride is clear about Boat B being upturned when he was swept off the deck

with her - though it is not entirely clear whether it was upturned from the

moment of being pushed off the roof - or whether it flipped over during the

moment of wash-off.


Hope this helps. See you later,

- - Charlie P.



To: Parks Stevenson

From: Jim Cameron

Subject: Re: Emergency lighting system


>"However, it would have taken relatively little longitudinal stretching of the steam system

before lines parted and the dynamos lost pressure and ran

down." - - Jim


Jim: I Concur.' That's why Ranger's and Joughin's description of the lights

jumped out at me as I read through their testimony looking for other things.' I

don't see how the dynamos could receive steam during or after the break. I

didn't immediately dismiss their observations, though, because we have one

apparently observant guy on the ship and a crewman knowledgeable in the workings

of the electrical system on a nearby lifeboat (who had just finished an

invigorating swim :-) ).' I also know, though, that there are mutually

corroborative descriptions of the lights blinking and then going out, like you

portrayed in the film.' So, I really don't know what to make of it.


The "kerosene lantern" came via Walter Lord from the observations of a lady

passenger (the name escapes me and my books are at home) who reported a

flickering light on the mast.' I spent some time a few years ago trying to find

such a light, but came up empty. 'A photograph reproduced in Lord's "The Night

Lives On," taken together with ship and rigging plans, proves that there was no

navigation lamp affixed to the mainmast.' There were two cargo lamps mounted

farther down, but those were electric, not kerosene.' Arc lamps could be

hoisted, but they of course were electric and would not be connected in any

event to the emergency lighting circuit.' Could the eyewitness's flickering

light actually have been an electric lamp running on unstable current?' Can't

tell.' Her account is another single, uncorroborated report.


I'll have a look at my plans later tonight and see if I can identify the steam

lines running up to the emergency dynamos.' It may just be a wasted exercise,

though, because a severed line is a severed line and the dynamos needed steam to

generate current.' Unless there were condensers somewhere that stored up and

continued to discharge current many seconds -- or even minutes -- after the

dynamos failed, I don't see how the lights could continue burning.' And I know

of no such system.


(Charles Pellegrino: There were indeed condensers, evidently in the turbine

room. On my archaeological map of the stern section [which we visited 10

September, 2001], the condenser from the starboard side of the turbine room is

shown lying just behind the hull eruption structure I have named "the crest."

This, along with a turbine room evaporator and fuse panel were ejected in a

westward direction during collapse column and downblast compression when the

stern and its trailing water column struck bottom, probably in the range of 40

knots. Note also: In the "Ghosts of the Titanic" map, opposite page 164, the

section of double-hulled keel from beneath the dowrward reciprocating steam

engines, just aft of the Boiler Room #1 boilers, is shown 150 meters [about 490

feet] north-east of the stern section. Bottom line, as regards the engine rooms

and condensers, there should have been power sources enabling the men who stayed

below to throw switches and attempt to keep the lights on, even after the

break-up began. This is just as the Alfred White account [via William MacQuitty]

tells us: That the electrician's friends fought to keep the power going and

continued to pull the right switches, right up to their last second of life. This

appears to be an engineer's tradition. 89 years later, Frank DeMartini and two

of his assistants who happened to be located below the impact zone in the North

Tower of the World Trade Center stayed in the danger, carrying out the work of

warning and rescue until it was all so clearly too late for them - - while far

below in an even safer zone, the electricians in the generator rooms stayed at

their posts and kept the power running for rescuers and evacuees. As with the

Titanic, almost none of them survived. Stairwell B shock cocoon survivor Richard

Picciotto, FDNY, told me that when the North Tower's lights and elevators came

back to life seconds after the collapse of the South Tower, he knew immediately

that six stories below street level, the engineers were still fighting to keep

their machines alive, despite having just survived a significant fraction of a

tactical nuke's power.)


So, I don't know what to make of the combination of Joughin's and Ranger's

testimony with regards to the lights.' Joughin could have compressed the

timeline in his memory because he was not privy to larger events, but Ranger

specifically stated that the afterpart righted itself after the break and the

lights continued to burn in the after section.' I can't understand how he could

be mistaken in that observation (his description of the ship breaking and the

stern settling back ran counter to the popular view at the time) or how what he

described could be physically possible.' I simply don't know how this

discrepancy can be resolved.


-------- how long can the dynamo run just on mechanical inertia?' It might take

a minute or so to run down, as the steam lines bled down and the kinetic energy

of the rotor was dissipated.' It would be producing power during that time.'

Maybe enough time for the lights to burn as the stern settled.


Certainly once the forward end of the stern flooded and was pulled under the

dynamos would cease sending power even if still turning.


- - Parks


-----Original Message-----

From: Jim Cameron

Sent: Dec 12, 2005 10:57 AM

To: "Sparks" Stevenson

Subject: Re: Emergency lighting system


Sounds to me like the lights could have stayed on

even if the hull began to open up to the sea

below the aft expansion joint.' Water would not

have immediately reached the emergency dynamos

because of their height above water.' However, it

would have taken relatively little longitudinal

stretching of the steam system before lines

parted and the dynamos lost pressure and ran

down.' The dimming of the lights to a ruddy glow

described by many witnesses would seem to suggest

this is what happened.' The going out and coming

back on briefly described by a couple of

witnesses could be human hands switching or

bypassing blown fuses or attempting to re-route

power, unsuccessfully.


It seems hard to imagine the lights staying on

through the actual breakup, since the entire area

of the dynamos, to say nothing of all the

longitudinal wiring runs, would have been coming

apart.' I think Joughin is mistaken about the

lights staying on to the end.' Most witnesses

describe the lights failing well before Titanic

went down.' I believe there was a kerosene light

somewhere near the stern -- at the taff rail or

somewhere.' He might have been near that.' Or he

might just have the kind of jumbled recollection

which is common in highly stressful situations.


It's not clear from the description below if the

single ended boilers fed the emergency dynamos.

It seems conflicting --- first paragraph says

they got pressure from BR's 2,3 and 5, but the

last paragraph includes BR 1.


If the single ended boilers show evidence of

being on, as you have observed, it is very likely

they were on to supply auxiliary power.


- - Jim



To: "Sparks" Stevenson

From: Jim Cameron

Subject: Re: Joughin's sobriety

Cc: Ken Marschall, Charles Pellegrino





>"This imparted roll is not exclusive of the idea of the stern falling

back and the bow descending straight down after separation.' I would

not eliminate these ideas."


Dear Sparks: No, certainly not.' However, the port roll that we have been

discussing gives the break a new character, from the standpoint of an animation.'

When the stern falls back again, it's not's got a significant list

that will have the section tending toward lying on its side, which creates a

corkscrew motion as the port roll turns into the severed end of the stern

turning downward and to port.' No hope for Jack and Rose.

- - Jim


-----------------Bummer. - - Sparks


Dear Sparks:' Speaking of which, though, from what I have read from Joughin, he

never reached the sternpost, but was rather on the starboard side of the poop

(probably even forward of the docking bridge - [as Charlie P. has suggested])

when the ship dropped out from underneath him.' I would pick a spot where I

think Joughin might have gotten to and make that the high point as the stern

section corkscrews down and counterclockwise (port).

- - Jim


Dear Jim:

The bow section, now, would tend back to a more natural state, thanks to more

complete flooding, laminar flow along the hull form and the stabilizing effect

from the surviving segments of bilge keel, after detaching from the stern.'

Maybe that's what started the break in the bow section lost its

remaining buoyancy, it tended to right itself, which would have fought against

the port-leaning weight of the steel not supported by the water.' The stresses

would have accumulated on the starboard side, resulting in fatigue. - - Sparks


Dear Parks:

How can the bow right itself?' It is most negative forward, least negative aft.'

The angle at which the bow is down in the water prior to the break puts the

forward compartments almost a hundred feet underwater -- Boyle's law would have'

remaining airspaces, if any, compressed to one third their prior volume.' The

ship is progressively negative from bow to midships.' The only thing holding the

bow UP is the weight of the stern pressing down on the aft side of the fulcrum

formed by the center of buoyancy.' One quarter to one third of the ship fully

cantilevered out of the water gives you an idea of how much downward force the

bow is exerting. Once that lever is broken, the bow would descend rapidly

through the water with a force equal to the force which lifted the stern out of

the water.'' Once the bow tore away from the stern, if it were not already

vertical, it would go vertical rather quickly as it descended -- since it would

now have its own independent internal righting moment created by the

uncompressed, un-imploded airspaces aft and the completely negative spaces



Any attempt by people to bend logic to get their minds around this idea of a

horizontal bow during or after the break up is crazy. - - Jim


Dear Jim:

You mentioned in an earlier e-mail that the stern was fractured to port.' Could

this have started on the surface and amplified when the stern impacted the



Speaking of which, the reel assemblies for the 2nd-class elevators are leaning

precipitously to port, as you may have seen on the wreck.' Could this be an

indicator of the severity of the port roll? - - Sparks


Dear Sparks:

No, I suspect this is an impact effect. - - Jim


Dear Jim:

Quote: "But I strongly believe that Roger's idea that the bottom broke the

opposite way, failing with a downward bend in the middle, instead of

bending down fore and aft of the break, is impossible."


The reason why I am doing an animation is to offer an alternate scenario to the

one that Roger has developed, and the main difference between the two is that

Roger's shows the upper decks in compression; mine, in tension.

- - Sparks


Dear Sparks:

It is impossible for the upper decks to be in tension.' That flies in the face

of all logic, and goes against everything observed by witnesses.' The stern was

lifted out of the water -- this was observed by the majority of the 703

survivors.' NOBODY contests this.' If the stern is lifted, it means the bow is

highly negative, and the center of buoyancy is acting as a fulcrum.' That puts

the upper decks in tension.' There is no other possibility.


Roger is basing this on examination of one piece of evidence, not ALL of the

forensic evidence, including the flow features found on the bow section, and not

on any knowledge of the witness testimony. You can't conclude too much from

looking at one piece of the ship, especially after it has been through a number

of processes post the initial break, including a possible descent [that includes]

flapping while still attached, possibly being bent 180 degrees the wrong way.'

Evidence of bottom compression, [during break-up,] could have been removed by

subsequent tension.' The bottom could literally have crumpled in compression,

and due to the same ductility of the steel which allows the poop deck to be bent

literally 180 degrees without breaking, it could have unbuckled and straightened

out when subjected to a tension load of the entire weight of the negative bow

section hanging briefly from it.


Roger discounts the negative weight of the bow, saying that as ships submerge

they do not weigh their entire displacement weight underwater, but only a little

more than neutral buoyancy.' This is exactly true --' if the ship stays in one

piece.' With Titanic the vast majority of the buoyancy is aft, and when the ship

breaks, the bow loses this flotation, and it is suddenly greatly negative, being

mostly flooded and equalized.' It would drop like a rock.'

I believe the bow went straight down in a stem-first vertical dive, and because

of its hydrodynamic shape before it planed out to a shallower angle, probably

reached 30 or even 40 knots, briefly.' By somewhere around 2000' down, it planed

out to an angle of more like 30 degrees, and slowed down to a stable terminal

velocity which persisted to impact (20 knots?)- - Jim



Dear Jim:

I don't know if one scenario will win out over another or if the show will

feature both as possible.' Roger is a respected naval architect and his

conclusions can be supported theoretically, but his scenario doesn't match the

eyewitness testimony; in effect, one would have to throw out all the

broke-in-half accounts AGAIN.' All I can do is make it clear what I think and

let the producers decide which will play best in the show.' However, this

discussion is personally invaluable because it's helping me to gain a better

understanding of what was truly going on, as best as we can calculate and

extrapolate. - - Parks



From Parks Stevenson:




>Quoting above: "Evidence of bottom

compression could have been removed by subsequent tension.' The

bottom could literally have crumpled in compression, and due to the

same ductility of the steel which allows the poop deck to be bent

literally 180 degrees without breaking, it could have unbuckled and

straightened out when subjected to a tension load of the entire

weight of the negative bow section hanging briefly from it."


This may tie into a puzzling observation...Ken Marschall has mated the two

double-bottom sections together almost perfectly, using the frames as reference

spacing.' The only problem is that it seems that we have an excess length of

keel bottom plate between the two pieces.' During the bow-and-stern tug-of-war,

this area would have been under compression and a weak spot may have formed

right around frame 25, where the floors raise to become the engine foundations

and just at the forward edge of the BR#1 boiler foundations.' Subsequent water

flow (after the break) against the sail area of the plated double-bottom piece

might have forced this area into tension, maybe alternating between compression

and tension.' We definitely see a reversal of stresses on the aft end of the

forward-piece keel bottom plate...first, it bends down (relative to the ship),

then straightens, then down again.' The excess length of the plate, though,

makes me wonder...did it stretch? - - Sparks



Dear Jim, Parks:

It could certainly have stretched. We saw this same effect on WTC [North Tower,

South Tower] exterior beams that turned out never to have had their crystal

structure deformed by heat: They bent and occasionally even stretched somewhat -

almost as if caught for one small part of a second in fluid motion. Initially,

an engineer had assumed that all twisted and stretched WTC steel had been

exposed to fires, and he believed it could never have stretched like taffy

without the application of great heat - "or it would have cracked." A revisit to

the condition of Titanic steel (including the twisted, 1 meter length of

"leaf" of hull studied with Roy Cullimore in 1996) - a revisit to the phenomenon

of inch-thick Titanic steel that had been twisted and pulled and bent like taffy

in freezing water, changed his mind. However, at Ground Zero, Manhattan, the

stretching was usually more akin to squashing, and did not add (to an individual

square beam if about 10 feet [3 meters] in length) more than a couple of inches.

I have to give this part more thought - but [your updated] description of the

bow section's odyssey to the bottom seems spot-on, in every detail. .. Except

that I think we are talking about a minimal terminal velocity in the

neighborhood of 24 knots even for the bow section - which gives water the

tremendous power of mass whose effects we see in the downblasted and

surge-clouded steel; we're talking about a downblast force alone adding up to a

substantial portion of a tactical nuclear weapon's energy, released relatively

slowly over the the course of about three seconds. In any case, bending and

twisting and even folding were common at both the Titanic and WTC; but

stretching was small scale (a few centimeters [or inches], perhaps), and a

relatively rare event - at least in the more easily accessible-for-study case of

Ground Zero steel samples. - - Charlie P.



Dear Sparks, Charlie:

Hard to imagine the metal stretching much before it tore in tension, or the

rivets broke.' More likely there is subtle buckling in the other areas, which

doesn't show up in the video or is hidden by rusticles, which is reducing length

-- and the area you are talking about was under enough tension to prevent or

remove this warpage, making it longer by comparison. - - Jim



Dear Jim:

This doesn't have anything to do with the History Channel show, but you

mentioned something about the mast collapsing as the bow abruptly swung downward

during the break.' I'm going to try and include that in the animation.

- - Sparks



Dear Sparks:

This is not when the mast collapses.' Not during the swing down.' It's moments

later, when the bow separates and falls.' The hydrodynamic forces suddenly go

from zero to their peak loading, with flow fore to aft, parallel to the

longitudinal center line.' The sail area of the mast itself and crow's nest

generate tons of force aft on the mast.' This load snaps the forward shackles

and the mast falls back, slamming into the bridge by the force of the currents.'

This shatters the face of the outer bridge, and the flow rips the outer bridge

and wheel house away, like a gas station roof in a hurricane.' Also at this time

the funnels, which were still attached to the ship by some of the stays, are

ripped forcefully aft (upward, because the ship is vertical) by the flow,

because of their large sail area relative to mass.' They are not as dense as the

ship, so will fall much more slowly through the water column -- this

differential rate causes them to act as drag parachutes.' The funnels, the

funnel stays, and the thousands of feet of thick rope of the davit falls, all

pull aft and tear off all the davits except the two forward-most at Boats 1 and

2.' This all happens in the first few seconds, as the downward speed reaches

terminal velocity (probably less than two lengths of the bow section -- less

than 1000').


This fast longitudinal flow also begins the process of peeling outward the side

walls of the deck house, in perfect symmetry.' The shattered bridge allows the

flow to enter at the chartroom door and the port corridor door, and the pressure

forces the walls away from the deckhouse roof, "flensing" them outward.' It is

the only point in the entire sinking process when this strange phenomenon could

have happened, and the perfect symmetry of the effect is the clue to what

happened here.


The mast is pinned to the forward end of the bridge by the flow until the bow

section planes into a more horizontal attitude.''' Debris from the focs'le area

["forecastle"], probably the remains of heavy mast-stay shackles still flapping

around on the ends of stays, flies backward in this hurricane flow and beats

against the front bulkheads of the superstructure, breaking most of the windows

on B deck, except for two protected by the fallen mast (you can check this out

for yourself).' It is possible the area-loading from the flow itself was strong

enough to fail these windows, without the debris component.' A calculation of

how many psi would be required to do this might answer the question of what peak

velocity the bow section reached.' The powerful flow enters B deck through these

broken windows and drives all the furniture and walls aft, completely clearing

the forward end of this deck (at least clearing out the cabins behind the broken

windows).' A-Deck windows are apparently protected from this effect by their

bronze center mullions, and this is why our ROV survey inside the forward A Deck

cabins did not show the same swept-clean look as the forward B Deck cabins.


The high speed fore-aft flow does not abate until the bow section changes

attitude, rotating upward due to the lift created by the wedge-shaped cross

section of the forward frames (forward of hatch one).' This cross section acts

like forward dive planes on a sub, lifting the nose out of the vertical dive.'

This' brings the hull into its final, stable, descent position -- probably about

30 degrees bow down, and descending on a 1:6 glide ratio -- one forward for six

down.' This is enough planing effect to displace the bow section almost half a

mile North from the surface-zero breakup spot.' The ship is probably in this

attitude' by 2000' of depth, about one minute into the descent.' Maybe 3000' at

the most.


After the first minute or so, and during the majority of the descent, the

fore-aft flow is replaced by an upward flow which vortexes around the edges of

the deck, forming a turbulent wake above the ship.' This confused flow does not

continue to separate the deck house walls from the roof, which explains why that

process was stopped about one third of the way back from the bridge.' The

vortices boiling up around the edges of the deck and over the top of the ship

(in the wake of the descending hull) probably cause the mast to bounce around up

on the bridge area, destroying the forward wall and balustrade across a broad

area as is seen.' This damaged wall is then blown forward and down by the

downblast flow at impact with the bottom (See C. Pellegrino) - which is why the

bridge wing enclosures are blasted out flat, forward and down. - - Jim




From Ken Marschall:


In a message dated 12/13/05 12:26:48 AM, James Cameron writes:


>You mentioned in an earlier e-mail that the stern was fractured to

>port.' Could this have started on the surface and amplified when the

>stern impacted the bottom?



I've been meaning to comment on this.' As I wrote in the 3-part Commutator

article, or maybe in my online "wreck report" (, while planning

our stern dives in '01 I remember Genya and perhaps Anatoly mentioning an

approx. 15-degree buckle of the stern section (I thought they said to

starboard).' I was stunned by this and have to say that, in all my years of

studying the wreck imagery, I've not noticed any such buckle.' I have not been

to the stern as often as Genya, obviously, and he appears to be an expert

witness/observer, so it certainly gives me pause.' But I have worked with an

awful lot of wreck video and stills and even created my own mosaic of much of

the stern section from 1986 Argo video grabs, many years ago.' The camera sled

tracked fore and aft over the entire length of the stern several times.' A

15-degree buckle in the middle of it would have been quite memorable.


So... I wonder what evidence there is for this other than a "sense" that the

pilots have gotten while down there.' Have you personally seen and been

convinced of this "buckle"? - - Ken



Dear Ken:

I confirmed Genya's finding on my second stern dive [23 September, 2001], after

he mentioned it at the dive brief.' You take a heading along the longitudinal

centerline from fore to aft.' Follow that heading and you track down the center

of the ship until about the elevator cupola -- then if you stay on the heading

you will pass over the stbd edge of the hatch opening in the well deck and wind

up off the ship, to stbd, by the time you reach the position of the docking

bridge (where that big piece of wreckage is hanging down over the side).'' To

stay along the centerline of the ship you have to alter your heading about 15-20

degrees to the right, as you go north.' Genya is right.' The stern is warped

strongly to port, aft.' These types of deformations cannot be seen in

down-looking video because the worm tracks of the camera sled are all over the

place in heading, and you are only seeing a small bit of the wreck at any one

time.' I liken it to mowing the lawn with a toenail clipper -- there's no big

picture.' When the mosaics are done each picture is hand fitted to the adjacent

ones, using the assumed overall layout of the ship as a guide.' This works in

archeology, because the foundations of ancient buildings are still where the

builders put them.' It doesn't work with Titanic because the whole thing got

torqued around like taffy.


That's why I have really wanted to do lidar scans of the bow and stern (though

the technology is still being developed), because it would strip away the water

column.' I'm sure we would all be surprised at just how warped the entire wreck

really is.


- - Jim out


Dear Jim, Ken: The forward port "slap" or "slap-and-smear" of the stern

section's hull, the ejection of evaporators and condensers from the starboard

side of the engine room (with starboard-side "cresting" instead of port side

"smearing" - although the past decade's vertical collapse of stern decks

reported by Genya complicates interpretation from 2001 onward), along with a

piece of double-hulled bottom pitched vertical and thrust outside the port side

hull along the "smear," have at least vaguely suggested a clockwise rotation as

the stern touched bottom, in addition to plowing action from the center spine

outward by impact and downblast - - Charlie P.





Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 13:04:54 -0800 (PST)

From: Charles Pellegrino

Subject: Re: "Third Piece"

To: Jim Cameron


Dear Jim, Parks: It seems perfectly likely that the "floor" separated as the

boilers broke free, falling with the other heavy pieces (including the cylinders

of the forward set of reciprocating engines) straight down from the break-up

point at the surface - and landing in a cluster. The twisting inertia of the

stern on impact with the bottom does appear to have been clockwise, and some of

the cast-off forward stern debris does to some degree suggest she pinwheeled in

this manner through much of the 2.5 mile plunge. Again, at least one of the

double-hulled bottom pieces (two, actually) appear on extensive Angus maps from

1985 and 86 WHOI recon of the Titanic and her surroundings. The third debris

field is consistent with mapping of coal distribution dating from those first

two expeditions. The observation of the two bottom hull pieces from Boiler Room

1 having stayed together for much of the trail through the water column makes

sense. I see no contradiction, in the boiler field, in the boilers having broken

away, at the surface, from a floor turned to shrapnel.

Jim: By the way -Having a fascinating time at Simcha sites. As you know,

yesterday we sort of made too much history.

See you later,

- - Charlie P.



(New Years Eve, 2005)


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Parkinson's Disease research (or, alternatively, to the Firefighter's Burn

Center [see home page].


The recommended minimum donation is $5.00; however, larger contributions are

more than welcome.


Checks marked, "In honor of Walter Lord," with a covering letter bearing these

same words, should be forwarded to:


The Michael J. Fox Foundation for

Parkinson's Research

Grand Central Station

P.O. Box 4777

New York, N.Y. 10163


OR by phone: (800) 708-7644


As an added incentive, everyone sending the minimum amount of $5.00 will be

entered automatically into a lottery, to be drawn every few months (TBD), for

one of thirty inscribed styrofoam coffee cups that (tied outside the MIR-2

submersible), dove to the Titanic with James Cameron and Charles Pellegrino (10

and 22 September, 2001) during the 3-D IMAX "Ghosts of the Abyss" expedition.

Created for the purpose of funding a cure, each of the coffee cups was reduced,

by 2.5 miles of overlaying water pressure, to the size of a shot glass.