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Saturday, August 8, 1998 Published at 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK


Titanic's last two miles

Hailed as unsinkable, but more than 1,500 died on theTitanic

A British scientist is to be part of a team that will plot once and for all the final journey of the Titanic.

Dr Angus Best: Member of exploration team
Dr Angus Best, of Southampton University's oceanography department, will use cutting edge marine forensic science techniques to calculate how the ill-fated liner fell to the bottom of the sea.

[ image: Dr Angus Best: Exploring with a robotic arm]
Dr Angus Best: Exploring with a robotic arm
Currently, scientists can only theorise, and guess the ship either fell like a stone to the ocean floor, or gently fluttered like a leaf.

Using a robotic arm, Dr Best will take samples from the sea bed, which will later be analysed.

If the samples are heavily compacted, scientists will be able to prove that the vessel hit the floor with force.

More than 1,500 people perished on the liner's maiden voyage from Southampton in 1912.

[ image: The wreck was discovered 13 years ago]
The wreck was discovered 13 years ago
She had been hailed unsinkable, but sank just three hours after hitting an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland.

The wreck of the Titanic was found 13 years ago, and several explorations have been carried out on it since.

Dr Best said: "By taking geological samples and also studying the ground around the wreck, we will be able to determine how hard the ship hit the sea floor."

The technique developed at Southampton will be used to investigate any future sinkings.

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