London, Mar 7 (ANI): The iceberg that sank the Titanic was swept into the path of the doomed ocean liner by a rare conjunction of the Moon and Sun, scientists claim.
The "once-in-many-lifetimes" event brought together the Moon's closest approach to the Earth for 1,400 years, a near encounter between the Earth and the Sun, and a spring tide.
It is claimed that all these factors contributed to abnormally high sea levels, which helped dislodge grounded icebergs and send them into the shipping lanes of the North Atlantic.
According to Daily Express, preparations are now underway to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the disaster on Titanic's maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.
The huge ship, said to be "unsinkable", struck an iceberg 375 miles south of Newfoundland on the night of April 14, 1912. Within hours the vessel had sunk with the loss of 1,500 lives.
Later it emerged that the Titanic had steamed at full speed into an area littered with icebergs despite warnings of the danger.
But why so much ice should have been in the shipping lane at the time has long been a puzzle.
An investigation by US scientists at Texas State University may now have come up with the answer.
"As icebergs travel south, they often drift into shallow water and pause along the coasts of Labrador and Newfoundland. But an extremely high spring tide could refloat them, and the ebb tide would carry them back out into the Labrador Current where the icebergs would resume drifting southward," the Daily Mail quoted lead researcher Dr Donald Olson as saying.
"That could explain the abundant icebergs in the spring of 1912. We don't claim to know exactly where the Titanic iceberg was in January 1912 - nobody can know that - but this is a plausible scenario.
"Of course, the ultimate cause of the accident was that the ship struck an iceberg. The Titanic failed to slow down, even after having received several wireless messages warning of ice ahead.
"They went full speed into a region with icebergs - that's really what sank the ship, but the lunar connection may explain how an unusually large number of icebergs got into the path of the Titanic," he added. (ANI)
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