Lecture

Solving the Great Titanic Headstone Mystery

When: Thu., June 4, 7:30 p.m. 2015

In Halifax, 150 victims of the sinking of the Titanic lie buried beneath identical black granite headstones. 15 years ago, when one of these headstones was damaged, the Halifax Regional Municipality sought to replace it. Because there is no historical record about the source quarry, its location has to be found scientifically. In this presentation, retired Dalhousie geology professor Dr. Barrie Clarke will describe the techniques of sleuthing through cemeteries, repositioning of relatives and labouring in laboratories to collect forensic evidence to locate the quarry. The evidence is in the rocks (422 million years old), the chemical composition of the entire rock, and the types and compositions of the minerals. These characteristics are just as unique to rocks as DNA is to living material. Ideally, the headstones and granite in the source quarry should match for every observation. New forensic evidence clearly shows that the source quarry is in the Maritimes.

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