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Explosion of the Lusitania

Although a single torpedo penetrated Lusitania, she was in peril almost immediately when a second, massive explosion occurred.

People have debated the cause of the major explosion ever since.  Some believed that American weapons, being provided to Britain, were on board and blew up in the torpedo strike.  Decades later, however, Dr. Robert Ballard investigated the wreck and reported an unusual conclusion.

Ballard and his team did find .303 rifles on board, but they were stored in the bow.  Surveying the wreckage, the investigators determined that Schwieger’s torpedo had struck a coal bunker and concluded that coal dust (which is extremely explosive when it is suspended in mid-air, as it would have been following the torpedo hit) caused the second, fatal explosion.

See, also:

Lusitania - Record-setting Ship

Lusitania - Luxury at Sea

Lusitania - At Sea, Before the Torpedo Strike 

Lusitania - U-20 Patrols the North Atlantic

Lusitania - In a Position of Peril

Lusitania - Torpedoed by U-20

Lusitania - Disaster at Sea

Lusitania - Sinking and Aftermath

Lord Mersey and the Lusitania Wreck Inquiry 

Lusitania - Wreck Inquiry Findings


Media Credits

This video clip is from the BBC’s recreation of the ship, and the story of her 1915 sinking, entitled Lusitania:  Murder on the AtlanticCopyright, BBC, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the production.

 

 

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