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Exceptional iceberg to blame for Titanic disaster?

world Updated: Aug 19, 2014 18:49 IST

While the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 is typically blamed on human, design and construction errors, a study points to two other unfavourable factors outside human control.

There were a greater number of icebergs than normal that year, and weather conditions had driven them further south and earlier in the year than usual, the researchers said.

The RMS Titanic embarked on its maiden voyage, sailing from Southampton, England, to New York City April 10, 1912. One of the largest and most luxurious passenger liners at that time, the ship struck an iceberg on the night of April 14, and sank by the morning of the next day.

The Titanic disaster saw 1,517 people perish and only 700 survive.

The paper also notes that iceberg discharge from glaciers is increasing, with more heavy iceberg years since the 1980s than before -- and increasing global warming will likely cause this trend to continue.

"As use of the Arctic increases in the future with declining sea-ice, and as polar ice sheets are increasingly losing mass as well, the iceberg risk is likely to increase in the future, rather than decline," said co-author, professor Grant Bigg from University of Sheffield in Britain.

The study appeared in the journal Significance.