More than a hundred years after sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic, the wreckage of the Titanic is still there, but a bacterium capable of withstanding the pressure of the depths and the darkness is devouring it. The wreck could totally disappear in less than 20 years.
At the dawn of its maiden voyage in April 1912, no one could foresee what would happen to the liner the Titanic then nicknamed the unsinkable. A transatlantic journey that will never see New York, its sinking costing the lives of some 1,500 people. More than a century after the disaster, the wreckage of the Titanic still lies at the bottom of the Atlantic at a depth of 3,800 meters off Newfoundland, but perhaps not for very long.
It was in 1985 that the wreck of the liner was discovered by Robert Ballard, an oceanographer at the University of Rhode Island. At the time of this discovery, the ship was remarkably preserved. At 3.8 km below the surface of the water, the absence of light and the intense pressures make the region inhospitable to most life forms, considerably slowing corrosion. We are thirty years later and the situation has changed, the hull rusts at full speed because of a bacterium » metal chewer and some researchers give it only 14 years before it totally disappears.
As the BBC explains, in 1991, scientists from the University of Dalhousie (Canada) took a sample of rust and found after analysis the presence of life in the sample. But it wasn’t until 2010 that a different team of scientists from the same university decided to identify what kind of life it was. After isolating a bacterium, they discovered that it was a new species for science called Halomonas titanicae, a name taken from the famous ocean liner. This bacterium attacks the hull of the boat, resists the crushing pressure of the waters as well as the darkness which reigns there.
For scientists it is certain, the wreck of the Titanic and all the other wrecks present in this area will end up being eaten away by 2030, whether by this bacterium or by the corrosion of sea water. iron from this 47,000 ton ship will end up in the ocean and part of it will be absorbed by marine plants or animals. » The Titanic will have been recycled writes the BBC.