The RMS Titanic breaking in half was an event during it's sinking. It occurred just before the Titanic went underwater, when the ship suddenly snapped in two pieces, the sinking stern settling down into the water and allowing the bow section to sink beneath the waves. Many survivors, such as Charles Lightoller didn't see the break-up, as most of the lights suddenly went out, plunging the ship into near-total darkness. However, others like Jack Thayer saw the huge silhouette of the ship falling back into the water. It was unknown to the common people before the wreck was discovered in 1985. Many questions were asked about the break-up. "Did the break-up occur in front of the third funnel or behind it?" "Did the bow raise itself up?" Scientists have confirmed that it did happen, and it was caused by the uneven distribution of weight in the Titanic's stern.

Breakup Theories[edit | edit source]

The breakup took place at 2:17 or 2:18 AM. It started with the ship's lights going out, plunging everything into total darkness. Rumbling and metallic screeching then shook the ship. The ship then broke into two pieces. Around here, it's debated about how the break-up occurred. 

Theory 1-Today's Theory[edit | edit source]

The ship reached an angle of 23 degrees with the third funnel just out of the water, the keel broke up to F deck but the weight of the stern was not enough to crush the coal bunkers in the bow section. The aft end of the bow began to flood and sink, pulling the stern into a "top-cant" position. The deckhouse of the third funnel was crushed and the funnel fell. once again the stern section was under a lot of stress at roughly 30 degrees and the keel broke again, this time under the aft expansion joint and up to B deck. This time the stern section had enough force to thrust the coal bunkers (which had now become part of the lower forward tower) and the broken keel sections through the uptake of the third funnel. The stern slowly settled back and briefly pulled up the aft end of the bow section until the aft expansion joint began to split. The bow section sank and pulled the stern down now only connected by B deck, until the deck could no longer take the stress and broke away from both sections. The stern section may have bobbed back a little but also started to pivot in a semicircle as it sank and went almost vertical before sinking.

Theory 2-Lower Break[edit | edit source]

The ship was at an angle of 20 degrees when her lights went out at 2:18. The ship suddenly snapped in two pieces, sending the sinking stern crashing down into the water. Water surged into the bow and stern of the hh ship through the huge cracks, causing both to sink even faster. The double bottom then separated from the bow, and the bow disappeared beneath the waves. The stern, with its propellers still on the water's surface, then sank underwater from the fourth funnel down.

Theory 3-Low Angle Sinking Theory[edit | edit source]

The ship was at an angle of 20-25 degrees when her lights went out at 2:18. The ship suddenly snapped in two pieces, sending the sinking stern falling slowly into the water. Water surged into the bow and stern of the ship through the huge cracks, causing the bow to sink below the waves. The double bottom still attached to both parts, pulled the stern to an angle of 20 degrees. Once at 20 degrees, it sank in a straight direction and disappeared beneath the waves.

Theory 4-Cameron's Movie Theory[edit | edit source]

The ship was at an angle of 45 degrees when her lights went out at 2:17. The ship suddenly snapped in two pieces, sending the sinking stern crashing down into the water, creating a huge wave, killing people on the decks, and crushing people in the water. Water surged into the bow and stern of the ship through the huge cracks, causing the bow section to sink beneath the waves. The double bottom, still attached to the almost afloat stern, pulled the stern to an 80-90 degree angle, where it bobbed momentarily for a minute. Once the double bottom separated and the bow went down, the stern dove straight down beneath the waves.

Theory 5-V-Split Theory[edit | edit source]

The ship was at an angle of 11 degrees at 2:17. The ship then slowly began to crack in front of the third funnel and

An accurate version of the V-break, next to the impossible and inaccurate V-break theory from Aaron1912.

break apart slowly. The stern fell back slowly five degrees back into the water, and water poured through the crack. With this new flooding area, it increased weight in between the two sections, bending the two broken parts together. When the double bottom failed, it allowed water to pour in pulling the ship into a tiny of about V-shape, though the bow still stayed all the way underwater. The two parts tangled together sank underwater together, until they separated underwater. Another V-Break theory, which has proven to be false, states that the bow had risen out of the water after the break. This is physically impossible because the bow is full of water, and it does not lift out of the seas with all that extra weight. This theory was created by Aaron1912, a former Titanic enthusiast, who created this inaccurate theory.

Theory 6-No Fall[edit | edit source]

The ship was at an angle of 30 degrees when her lights went out at 2:18. The ship suddenly cracked to the double bottom but stayed in the upright position. The whole ship then sank underwater at 50 degrees in a straightforward direction, and the two parts then separated underwater.

Theory 7-Fire Theory[edit | edit source]

With any of the six previous theories, many survivors claimed to see a small explosion or a small fire occurring in the hull of the ship when she split in two. If this is true, the explosion was most likely caused by boilers exploding due to the breakup. If it was a small fire, it may have been caused by broken electrical wires snapped during the breakup, which showered sparks on flammable interiors. Sparks were reported to have flown from the broken electrical wires.

Theory 8-Roy Mengot Theory[edit | edit source]

The ship was at an angle of 20-23 degrees when her lights went out at 2:17. The ship suddenly snapped in two pieces, just around the third funnel, causing the stern to slowly settle into the water. The keel fails first and the draft and lower hull is crushed and breaks apart. The only thing holding the ship together now is B deck. Water surged into the bow and stern of the ship through the huge cracks, causing the bow section to sink beneath the waves. B-deck breaks and the superstructure beneath the 3rd funnel crumbles. The stern rises to the high angle of 70-90 degrees, where it then sinks and disappears beneath the waves. You can find more information at this video made by Titanic Animations.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Theories 1,2,3, 5 (first version) and 8 may have been the most likely ways the ship split and sank.
  • Titanic was thought to have broken either right behind the third funnel, right in front of it, or right on it.
  • Both theory 1 and theory 5 are the only ones to explain the "top-cant" that survivors said the stern took during the breakup.

    What the "top-cant" probably would have looked like.

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