A new bacterium isolated from the Titanic wreck is accelerating the wreck's disintegration into a pile of dust.
A bacterium isolated from rust samples of the RMS Titanic appears to be accelerating the wreck's disintegration.
The bacteria are eating the wreck's metal and leaving behind "rusticles," or icicle-like deposits of rust.
The porous rusticles will eventually dissolve into fine powder.
A rust stain may be all that will remain of the RMS Titanic in 15 to 20 years, according to new research into the submerged ocean liner wreck.
Working at a depth of over two miles, a never-before-seen bacterial species is devouring the hull of the so-called "unsinkable ship" on the Atlantic seabed where it sank on April 15, 1912, killing 1,517 people.
Named Halomonas titanicae, the bacterium was isolated from samples of so-called rusticles present on the wreck.
These dark orange structures look like icicles but are made up of rust.structures "The isolate was obtained from rusticle samples collected during the Akademic Keldysh expedition in 1991, at the site of the wreck," Canadian and Spanish researchers write in the latest issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology published on Dec. 8.