Page 169 - British Inquiry into Loss of RMS Titanic Day 27 - 31
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Pilot," Part I., at page 12, and page 34. They say the Labrador Current is "very irregular in its action, but attains at times a velocity of from 20 to 30 miles a day; vessels therefore find no difficulty in working to the westward when anywhere northward of the Gulf Stream; and vessels crossing the Gulf Stream should be on the look-out for it." Then at page 34 you have this passage with regard to ice: "These icebergs are sometimes over 200 feet in height, and of considerable extent; they have been seen as far south as latitude 39 deg. N., to obtain which position they must have crossed the Gulf Stream, impelled by the cold Arctic Current underrunning the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. That this should happen is not to be wondered at when it is considered that the specific gravity of fresh water ice, of which these bergs are composed, is about seven-eighths that of sea water; so that however vast the berg may appear to the eye of the observer, he can in reality only see one-eighth of its bulk, the remaining seven-eighths being submerged and subject to the deep water currents of the ocean. The track of an iceberg is indeed directed mainly by current, so small a portion of its surface being exposed to the action of the winds that its course is but slightly retarded or deflected by moderate breezes." The wind at this time, what wind there was, had been, I think the evidence is, from the south-west; then it dropped in the afternoon of the Sunday. Any effect the wind had had would be to move it in a north-easterly direction; but that would be a negligible quantity, because the motion of the berg, as of field ice, is really determined by the currents. This berg, your Lordship remembers from the evidence, was some 60 or 70 feet high. If you take seven times that you get a good deal over 400 feet under water, which would take it down to the influence of the cold southerly stream. The Attorney-General: A little higher than that. Sir Robert Finlay: My friend says that the iceberg was higher than that. The Commissioner: The iceberg was higher because we know something fell on the deck; but I do not quite follow you when you say that a part of the iceberg would be seven times deeper in the water than the part which stood up above the water. Sir Robert Finlay: Yes. The Commissioner: That does not at all follow. Sir Robert Finlay: The bulk under water is seven times the bulk above water. The Commissioner: Yes, but that is quite a different thing. Sir Robert Finlay: It may be different; but one cannot enter into a very nice calculation. Where you have a berg which is larger, say 80 feet or 90 feet - The Attorney-General: Eighty feet. Sir Robert Finlay: I will take it at 80 feet - above the water. You have seven times that bulk below, and the chances are overwhelming that that reaches down to the Labrador Current and is operated upon in the manner suggested. The Commissioner: What depth is the Labrador Current? Sir Robert Finlay: I suppose about 50 fathoms - that is 300 feet. The Commissioner: That is a very great depth, you know. Sir Robert Finlay: But the bulk below water being seven times that above water, unless there is some great abnormality of shape, you get the lower part of the iceberg in the Labrador Current. The Commissioner: That may be so; that is all you can say. Sir Robert Finlay: I do not desire to be dogmatic about it, but one thing which is perfectly plain is that it either is or it is not. If it is, the iceberg will be taken by the Labrador Current in a Southerly direction, and making allowance for the influence exerted by the Gulf Stream on the upper part of the submerged portion, it will go in a South-Easterly direction. The Labrador Current will take it South, and the Gulf Stream would tend to take it East-North-East roughly; the resultant would be the course of the berg. If the berg does not reach below the Gulf Stream then it will go East-North-East with the Gulf Stream. And with regard to the field ice, that of
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