Titanic eating bacteria
The R.M.S Titanic sank just over 98 years ago and sat relatively undisturbed for many years until it was discovered a little over 2 miles under the water's surface in 1985. Since that time, scientists have been working to discover the reason for its rapid destruction. In 1991, Canadian scientists extracted samples of rust formations known as rusticles because of their similarity to icicles. These scientists identified specific microbes from these rusty formations and aptly named them Halomonas titanicae.
The Titanic is Slowly Disintegrating
The Halomonas titanicae has never before been identified in water as deep as where the Titanic rests in the North Atlantic. Scientists now know these bacteria along with currents on the ocean floor are eating the remains of the Titanic at a rapid rate. Within 15 to 20 years, scientists believe the ocean liner made up of 50,000 tons of iron will be completely destroyed. Halomonas titanicae particularly likes to feed on iron, meaning the ship will eventually dissolve into a rusty powder at the bottom of the sea.
Saving The Titanic
Because the Titanic is so far beneath the water's surface, it is almost impossible to preserve the remaining portions of the ship. This titanic eating bacteria will be thoroughly researched in an effort to save other structures underneath the ocean which are also made from iron. Finding a way to slow down the disintegration of the Titanic is key to keeping bacteria from eating away other structures before they are completely studied. Trying to save the remaining portions of the Titanic, would be costly and would most likely prove to be futile.
While this titanic eating bacteria will most likely claim the remains of this iconic ship, much can be learned from its discovery. Scientists hope that as the ship disintegrates, other parts of the ship will become more visible and provide the information researchers have always wanted to discover. Researchers also hope to glean information from studying this bacteria, that will be helpful in creating new protective paints and coatings for ships in the future. While the Titanic is deteriorating more rapidly than scientists first suspected, it is important to note the many different ecosystems that exist beneath the ocean floor which will eventually cause all shipwrecks to decompose.