Not Just an Iceberg, But Solar Flares Affecting Communication Led to the Titanic Sinking

(Credit: AP)

Titanic. (Credit: AP)

An independent researcher, Mila Zinkova, thinks solar flares might have played a role in the sinking of Titanic.

Thanks to James Cameron, every cinema-going audience knows how the Titanic sank. But scientists now believe there’s probably more to the story than just the iceberg. The ‘unsinkable’ ship hit an iceberg and following the collision, it sank. However, a new paper wants to rethink what might have actually transpired on the night of April 14, 1912.

An independent researcher, Mila Zinkova, thinks solar flares might have played a role in the sinking of the famous ship. Solar flares are ‘storms’, a sudden increase in heat on the sun’s surface that can affect communications and satellites on Earth.

According to Zinkova, solar flares along with geomagnetic storms along the sea could have sunk the Titanic. Zinkova published an article to the journal Weather. According to that, the time of the collision was 2340 ship time on April 14, 1912. The ship’s fourth officer, Joseph Boxhall was at the SOS point. His location was 13 nautical miles away from the real position. Naturally, when he sent out the SOS, the rescue ship Carpathia also received this false location. By some miracle, Carpathia streamlined directly on the path of the lifeboats which had survived the shipwreck. Both the error and correction may have been caused by the effect of space weather.

She says there is evidence of specific ‘space weather events’ around that time referencing a geomagnetic storm. A geomagnetic storm is described as a severe interference with the Earth’s magnetosphere (Earth’s dominant magnetic field) due to space and solar wind activities. This phenomenon could have impacted the navigation and communication of the ship, mostly magnetic compass, leading to the unfortunate collision with the iceberg.

According to, Zinkova admits despite the evidence suggesting a strong geomagnetic storm in North Atlantic that night, the results of this research have many uncertainties. However, she also adds that even a small chance of such a storm could have greatly impacted the compass, which was the primary source of direction within the early 1900s technology spectrum.

The very same disturbance, however, saved many lives. Despite receiving the wrong direction, Carpathia, the saviour ship, arrived near the wreckage due to the wrong compass direction.

According to the official report, Titanic disaster was a result of amateur radio enthusiasts who jammed the circuits unwittingly. Zinkova argues that knowledge about geostorms was rudimentary back then, so it would be impossible for them to confirm it as a reason for signal and navigational disturbances.

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