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Oceanography/Ocean Currents


I've got a question regarding something I've seen in a lot in motion pictures. If a large ocean liner was left adrift without its engines running and totally abandoned, could it really drift by itself for several years without reaching land or would it eventually sink under natural conditions? I know there was a similar case with the Mary Celeste, but how much longer could it have drifted if it had not been found so fast?

It is possible for a ship to drift for a long time (years) without hitting land, especially if it is caught up in a mid-ocean gyre such as that associated with the Sargasso Sea. It impossible to tell exactly how long it could stay afloat since that would depend on the seaworthiness of the vessel.


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randy patton


Physical oceanography, surface and internal wave characteristics, ocean currents, fluid mechanics, geophysical fluid dynamics, ocean optics, coastal dynamics, modeling and simulation, data analysis, El Nino and related large scale dynamics Not an expert in marine biology (some in bioluminescence) or chemical oceanography


26 years as professional scientist for research company working mostly on Navy and other government contracts. Projects included modeling, simulations and data analysis related to Non-acoustic Anti-submarine Warfare (NAASW). Other projects included remote sensing of ocean features, statistical analysis of ship tracks, ocean optics instrumentation development, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and sonar (SAS).

Journal of Physical Oceanography, 1984, "A Numerical Model for Low-Frequency Equatorial Dynamics" (with M. Cane)

MS Physical Oceanography, MIT, 1981 BS Applied Math, UC Berkeley, 1976

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