Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking on Sunday (April 15), Mr Maltin, who has written several books on the disaster, said the books showed incident was a ‘true tragedy’ and was not caused simply by human blunders.
In particular, he said the logs, which were from the area of the Titanic’s wreck site, highlighted the unusually close proximity of the sun, moon and earth on January 4 1912 which caused the highest tide for 1,700 years. This refloated an ‘armada’ of icebergs grounded along the Labrador coast, Mr Matlin said.
These volumes of ice and melt-water swelled the Labrador Current which carried the ice much further south than normal. The cold, dense air over the current also caused light to bend abnormally downwards, lifting up a ‘false’ horizon which camouflaged the iceberg hit by the ocean liner.
According to Mr Matlin, the ‘superior mirage’ effect appeared to the Titanic’s lookouts as a slight haze on the horizon, revealing the iceberg too late. The ships logs he has uncovered record miraging and abnormal refraction, as well as unusually high pressure at the wreck site, which would, he said, have compounded these effects and made the night look deceptively clear.
The abnormal refraction also meant that for a nearby rescue ship, the Californian, the stricken vessel appeared to be too near and small to actually be the Titanic. Mr Matlin said that, when the Californian then signalled the Titanic via Morse lamp, ‘unusually stratified air’ in the thermal inversion at the wreck site ‘scrambled’ the lamp signals between the two vessels.
Mr Matlin also said the ship’s distress rockets, exploding in the warm, normally-refracting air high above the liner appeared low relative to the ship, which appeared higher than normal in the cold, dense air near the freezing surface of the sea.