ABU DHABI // The oceanographer who discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic was guest speaker at the latest of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s Ramadan Majlises on Wednesday.
Dr Robert Ballard, founder of the Ocean Exploration Trust and a professor at the University of Rhode Island, told the audience about how he found the famous ocean liner in 1985.
“I was a naval officer and we had to go to find two missing submarines but couldn’t tell anyone, so we said we were looking for the Titanic,” he said.
“In fact, the Pentagon was upset when I found it. They said ‘you were supposed to look for it, not find it’.”
Because the Titanic was lying in a canyon, the trick was to not look for the ship itself, but for its “footsteps”.”It was tremendous, more than any museum in the world, and we were about to enter that museum,” he said.
Dr Ballard wanted to be a marine biologist but later realised his interest was in the mountains in the ocean ground.
There are “tens of thousands of active volcanoes with amazing giant chimneys” that are extremely hot. He recalled placing a thermometer in one of these volcanoes and “it simply picked off scale”.
He has also come across giant creatures that dwell in the ocean’s depths. Despite beliefs that photosynthesis was not possible where there were no plants in the deep sea, “we also have encountered tremendous amounts of gas coming off the ocean”.
“In the Gulf of Mexico, we find pools where organisms are living all around it.” He also believed that human beings should learn to harvest the sea’s resources better, becoming “farmers and herders” of the sea instead of hunters to preserve dwindling fish stocks.
“Eleven thousand years ago, we domesticated sheep and goats on land and begun to cultivate wheat 10,000 years ago to feed our people,” he said.
“We need to become the farmers of the sea.”
Dr Ballard has designed a farmers’ house for aquatic living, because people will need to spend a long time under the water if they are to harvest it.
“We will soon see mining operations taking place deep in the sea, where we have recently found deposits of gold, silver, copper, zinc and lead as well as rare earth important to our high-tech industries of today,” he said.
Source: uae news