Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Review: Rusticle Formation on the RMS Titanic and the Potential Influence of Oceanography

  • Original Paper
  • Published:
Journal of Maritime Archaeology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Meter length iron-rich rusticles on the RMS Titanic contain bacteria that reportedly mobilize iron from the ship structure at a rate that will reduce the wreck to rust in decades. Other sunken ships, such as the World War II shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) are also similarly covered. However, at the GOM sites, rusticles are only centimeters in length. Minimal differences in water temperature (a few °C) between the two sites and comparable exposure times from wreckage to discovery cannot rationalize the extreme differences in rusticle length. One possible explanation for the observed difference in rusticle size is the differing amounts of dissolved or colloidal iron at the two locations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others

References

Download references

Acknowledgements

Efforts funded through NRL Base Program, Program Element 0601153N. NRL publication number NRL/JA/7305-15-2675. The authors would like to thank Dr. Alan Shiller of the University of Southern Mississippi, Marine Science Department for his insightful commentary and Ms. Stephanie Anderson of the Naval Research Laboratory, Oceanography Division for her help with MATLAB in creating the world coastline plot.

Author Contributions

Paper was co-authored by Maxsimo Salazar, LCDR U.S. Navy, and Brenda Little, Naval Research Laboratory. LCDR Salazar contributed sections related to oceanography and environmental sources of dissolved and particulate iron at the Titanic wreck site. LCDR Salazar prepared the figure included in the paper. Dr. Little contributed sections on mechanisms for accumulating environmental iron.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Maxsimo Salazar.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Salazar, M., Little, B. Review: Rusticle Formation on the RMS Titanic and the Potential Influence of Oceanography. J Mari Arch 12, 25–32 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11457-016-9168-1

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11457-016-9168-1

Keywords

Navigation