Passage Twenty-five (Exploration of the Titanic)
After resting on the ocean floor, split asunder and rusting, for nearly three-quarters of a century, a great ship seemed to cone alive again. The saga of the White Star liner Titanic, which struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, carrying more than 1,500 passengers to their death, has been celebrated in print and on film, in poetry and song. But last week what had been legendary suddenly became real. As they viewed videotapes and photographs of the sunken leviathan, millions of people around the world could sense her mass, her eerie quiet and the ruined splendor of a lost age.
Watching on television, they vicariously joined the undersea craft Alvin and Jason Jr. (J.J.) as they toured the wreckage of the luxury liner, wandering across the decks past corroded bollards, peering into the officer’s quarters and through rust-curtained portholes. Views of the railings where doomed passengers and crewmembers stood evoked images of the moonless night 74years ago when the great ship slipped beneath the waves.
The two-minute videotape and nine photographs, all in color and shot 12,500ft.under the North Atlantic, were a tiny sample of 60 hours of video and 60,000 stills garnered during the twelve-day exploration. They are released at a Washington press conference conducted by Marine Geologist Robert Ballard, 44, who led the teams from the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution that found the Titanic last September and revisited it this July.
Recounting the highlights of what has already become the most celebrated feat of underwater exploration, Ballard revealed some startling new information. His deep-diving craft failed to find the 300-ft. gash that, according to legend, was torn in the Titanic’s hull when the ship plowed into the iceberg. Instead, he suggested, the collision had buckled the ship’s plates, allowing water to pour in. He also brought back evidence that the ship broke apart not when she hit bottom, as he had thought when viewing the first Titanic images last September, but as she sank: the stern, which settled on the bottom almost 1,800ft. from the bow, had swiveled 180 on its way down.
1. What is the best title for this passage?
[A]. New Information about the Sunken Ship.
[B]. Exploration of the Titanic.
[C]. To watch the Videotape.
[D]. To explore the Titanic with High Tech.
2. How did the viewers feel when watching the videotape?
[A]. They felt rather sad, and felt they themselves took part in the exploration.
[B]. They felt keenly for it.
[C]. They felt rather bad about it.
[D]. They felt out of spirits.
3. When did the great ship sink?
[A]. In 1912.
[B]. She sank in its maiden voyage in 1912.
[C]. She sank in its second voyage in 1912.
[D]. She sank in its first voyage in 1912.
4. What did Robert reveal at a press conference?
[A]. He revealed some startling information.
[B]. He said nothing.
[C]. He complained the exploration was very hard.
[D]. He revealed the success of their work.
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