Researchers have been studying the Titanic’s remains since they were discovered resting more than two miles beneath the ocean surface. And they’ve found that the ship has been not-so-slowly disappearing. Visitors have removed artifacts, and the hull is festooned with rusticles: icicle-shaped accretions of iron oxide, otherwise known as rust.
Nearly 20 years ago scientists took samples of that rust, and found that it harbors a mix of iron-munching microbes. Now, analyzing the DNA of these organisms, researchers have catalogued more than two dozen strains of bacteria, including a new one they’ve dubbed Halomonas titanicae.
The bacteria are bad news for the Titanic, which may only last another 20 years, say the scientists. The good news is such bugs could be used to hasten the decay of other, less cinematic wrecks.