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Titanic Water - what happened to the iceberg that sunk the Titanic?


Titanic. 14th April 1912. Struck an iceberg. Terrible shipping disaster in which many people died. Tragic, especially as their deaths could have been avoided. More lifeboats, less full-steam-ahead, and other precautions, might have saved people. But in the end it happened and the ship is at the bottom of the sea. Anyone looking for souvenirs from the Titanic, that great ship now part of legend, may have a hard time.

It's a well known fact what happened to the Titanic and where the remains of the ship are, but what happened to the ICEBERG? Where is that legendary iceberg now, probably the most notorious iceberg in the history of the human imagination?

Well it melted, of course. It was an iceberg and it was made of ice, and the ice melted into the sea after a while and it became mixed evenly with all the water of the oceans of the earth. It was a long time ago, and water on earth is continually recycled in the oceans, evaporating into clouds, falling as rain, streaming into rivers, flowing into the sea. The melting of the iceberg which sunk the Titanic happened such a long time ago that it has become evenly mixed into the earth's ecosystem, in the style of the Caesar's Last Breath phenomenon. So, every drop of rain that falls, and every source of ground water and every splash of sea water contains a small amount of "Titanic Water" from that iceberg.

Is this true? Let's check it: The iceberg would probably have weighed about 300 thousand tons. Mixing that with the entire water of the Earth including oceans, clouds, etc, a total of 1.4x1021 (exp) litres, that gives a concentration of one part in 4.7 million million.

Now, take a glass of water, tap water will do. If it's about half a litre it contains 1.7x1025 molecules of water. If one in every 4.7 million million is from the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, it means that the number of molecules of "Titanic Water" in an average glass of drinking water is: 3.6x1012 or 3.6 million million.

The same kind of concentration also applies to a glass of 12 year old malt Scotch whisky because the water came from the same ecosystem. It is a sobering thought that ice cubes floating in whisky contain molecules which were once part of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, but it's a fact. If you wanted to have ice that didn't contain any "Titanic Water", you could achieve this by the curious irony of using ice from a modern iceberg! Any ice in icebergs now, for example from Greenland, has formed from snow which fell thousands of years ago. So, if you had a glass of old malt whisky with ice from an iceberg, the ice would contain no molecules from the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, whereas the whisky would do!


Special disclaimer: We do not advocate or condone the use of ICE in whisky, and it is merely used here for illustrative purposes. We also do not condone the sinking of ships, and acknowledge that the iceberg was not entirely to blame for the sinking of the Titanic.

Other notes:

A source of good whisky: Whisky Exchange


It's just one of those Infrequently Asked Questions, "What happened to the Iceberg?". Curiously, a great many people are looking at this page to find the shocking story of what happened to the Titanic. I have wondered about writing the story, even though I believe it is already told in great detail by many people. There's a movie, and that amazing atmospheric song by Celine Dion, and I would have thought the story of the sinking of the Titanic was so well-told now that it would not need me to tell it. However, I'm considering it.