Home News Titanic: an optical illusion could be at the origin of the sinking

Titanic: an optical illusion could be at the origin of the sinking


The sinking of the Titanic, on the night of April 14 to 15, 1912, could be due to a mirage, according to an investigation published last Wednesday by Météo-France.

In addition to human failures, the lack of lifeboats, the speed of the ship and the problems with the bulkhead which led to this tragedy, an article published by Météo-France came to bring another crucial element.

The agency was interested in the weather during this tragic night. A night during which the weather was “calm” and without fog,” she said. The poor perception of the obstacle would be due to an “optical phenomenon of mirage” which would thus have distorted the “horizon”.

The meteorological site wondered “how could the crew have been surprised by an iceberg 30 meters high when on the bridge the view extends to 15 km” with climatic conditions which seem ideal for sailing.

About 1,500 passengers lost their lives

According to the investigation, the iceberg could have been masked by higher mirages (also called cold mirages): “The light coming from an object on the surface curves and bounces on the layer of hot air located in height”, explained Météo-France.

The Titanic sank from April 14 to 15, 1912, after hitting an iceberg

The crew would have had the illusion that the horizon was elevated, “especially at night when the mirage band is darker and less distinguishable from the ocean,” the site added.

The liner sank after colliding with an iceberg off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. About 1,500 passengers, out of the 2,200, lost their lives as a result of the sinking.