Yesterday's Myths & Mysteries

Did Geomagnetic Storms Play A Role In the Titanic Tragedy?

There are more than a few unusual theories surrounding the events on the night of April 14-15, 1912, when the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic came to an untimely end in the North Atlantic Ocean.

While it’s clear the ship struck an iceberg, some believe there may have been, let’s say, unexpected contributing factors.

Was the ship cursed by an Egyptian mummy? Did a bad omen foretell tragedy before Titanic even left the dock at Southampton, England? Or was the whole thing brought down by an unending deluge of time traveling tourists?

Well, I don’t know about any of that, but meteorological researcher Mila Zinkova recently floated an idea that, while perhaps unusual, is a bit more likely. She believes a geomagnetic storm may have interfered with the ship’s instruments that night, contributing to its collision with the iceberg.

“The significant space weather event was in the form of a moderate to strong geomagnetic storm that observational evidence suggests was in effect in the North Atlantic at the time of the tragedy.”

The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, is linked to geomagnetic storms. Given that at least one account mentions the Northern Lights the night of the incident (by James Bisset, second officer of the RMS Carpathia), there’s a real possibility that such interference did occur, even if only in a small way.

Hakai Magazine has more details. Apparently, the solar storms could have also disrupted Titanic’s distress signals, causing SOS position errors. This may have affected the responses of nearby ships, such as the Carpathia.

Some are skeptical. According to Business Insider, data suggests that the geomagnetic energy that night “wasn’t big enough to qualify as a geomagnetic storm,” and likely happened after the Titanic struck the iceberg. So, while radio communications may have been affected, the storm causing the actual collision with the iceberg is thought to be less likely.

Whatever the case, the Titanic tragedy has always been a compelling one. There’s a reason we’ve seen countless movies, documentaries, and books on the subject.

It happened well before satellites and smartphones and all the other tech we take for granted today, so it’ll always exist in this murky area, despite being relatively modern. There will always be that veil of mystery surrounding it. We know what happened, but some details will forever remain speculation.

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Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. For nearly 10 years, he's managed Stranger Dimensions, providing a unique perspective on all matters involving time travel, parallel universes, and whether or not robots might one day take over the world.

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