This illustration of the shipwreck's location depicts the Central America as it would have appeared intact.

The SS Central America sank in a hurricane off the coast of South Carolina in 1857. It settled on the ocean floor near the Blake Plateau, a mass of land along the southeastern coast that stretches from North Carolina to Florida and forms a gradual slope from the continental shelf to the deep ocean. Because the area has very little current, the wreckage didn't accumulate much sediment during the 130-year period between the ship's demise and its discovery, which aided Columbus-America Discovery Group in the identification of the wreck and their recovery efforts. The area also has a flat bottom, so it's easier to explore than rocky or mountainous regions.

This illustration of the shipwreck's location depicts the Central America as it would have appeared intact. Much of the wood used to construct the ship has disintegrated over time. What's left of the iron sidewheel is the only clear identifier that has endured.