The wreckage of MH370 may be in silt up to 20m deep, according to a renowned oceanographer.
Charitha Pattiaratchi, Winthrop Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the University of WA, said tiny pieces of wreckage may have sunk into the silt characteristic of ocean floors at 4500m.
However, bigger parts such as wings and fuselage with a large surface area would likely stay on the surface of the ocean floor or just sink a couple of metres.
Search co-ordination centre head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston noted the silt was also likely masking or absorbing the black box beacons. Professor Pattiaratchi also suggests that depending on how the wreckage of MH370 broke up and was lying on the ocean floor, the black boxes could be buried in silt, making retrieval difficult. In contrast to MH370, Air France Flight 447 was found at 3000m and the Titanic is resting at 3800m deep.
World renowned wreck hunter David Mearns, owner of British-based Blue Water Recoveries, says the depth of 4500m is not a problem. In 1996, he found the deepest shipwreck, the Rio Grande, at 5762m. Robots recovered wreckage and the remains of 104 people from Air France flight 447 in 3900m.
If the black boxes fail to show the cause of the disappearance, wreckage may be needed.