Attempting to find the wreckage of Titanic, and raise her from the ocean floor, had been an idea circulating around since shortly after the sinking. Until September 1, 1985, no attempts to do so were successful. The joint American-French expedition, led by Jean-Louis Michel (Ifremer) and Dr. Robert Ballard (WHOI), managed to find the wreck by way of a side-scan sonar from Knorr and Le Suroit. The French ship Le Suroit began searching a 150-square-mile target zone on June 1985 using a deep-search sonar. Le Suroit covered 80 percent of the zone, with the American ship Knorr covering the remaining 20 percent. Titanic was discovered at a depth of 2.5 miles, and more than 370 miles south-east of Mistaken Point, Newfoundland. This was about 13 miles from where fourth officer Joseph Boxhall determined where Titanic was originally located. Ballards crew used approximately 2.33 miles worth of rope in their attempt at surfacing Titanic. In 1986, the first manned dives to the wreck were conducted by Ballard in the submersible Alvin.
In 1982, Ballard requested funding from the U.S. Navy for his Titanic project, but was only given it on the condition that he first examine the sunken U.S. nuclear submarines USS Thresher and USS Scorpion in a covert manner. The discovery of Titanic’s wreckage led to arguments of whether or not she had split during her descent being put to rest at last, as it was visibly seen that she, indeed, did split apart. The stern lied about 600 meters away from the bow, and faced opposing directions. Her bow had hit the ocean floor under the fore peak, and went sixty feet deep into the ocean floor silt. The bow was still mostly intact, aside from parts of the hull that had collapsed. The collision apparently had forced water out of Titanic through its hull, blowing off one of the steel covers weighing about ten thousand tons. The stern section appeared to be in worse condition than the bow, as it had been torn apart during its descent most likely. This is probably due to air that was trapped inside of it being antagonized by conflicting pressures between the outside and inside, causing an implosion. Damage was likely increased due to the sudden collision with the ocean floor, causing the decks of the stern to collapse.