The Deep Sea is the largest habitat on the planet, taking up to 95% of the Earth living space, yet it’s also the most unexplored environment despite being one of the most amazing places of the Planet.
We know very little about the Deep ocean and the life it holds due to the depth and the difficulties this creates for scientists. In fact, it has been said that we know more about the surface of the moon than about the deeper Ocean trenches.
But what exactly is the Deep ocean? The first 200 meters of the ocean are the open ocean. Much of the marine life we know of lives here, where there is light.
Below 200 meters, where there is little light left, you enter the Twilight Zone. Once you pass 1,000 meters, the water is completely devoid of light, and you have reached the Deep Sea.
Discover these breathtaking Deep Sea facts to learn more about the depths of the Oceans !
– The Ocean Is Deeper Than Mount Everest
While a handful of people have bravely scaled Mount Everest, the highest point on earth, even fewer have ever descended to the deepest point. The deepest point of the Mariana Trench is known as the Challenger Deep.
The distance from the ocean’s surface to the bottom of the Challenger Deep is almost 11 kilometers (7 miles). If Mount Everest was put into this chasm, it would still be more than a mile from breaking the surface of the water.
At that depth, the temperature is always just above freezing, the pressure is more than 1000 times what it is on the surface, and many bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrates call it home!
– Only 3 People Have Visited The Depths Of The Challenger Deep
Film director James Cameron reached a record depth of 35,756 feet in a solo submersible dive in 2012.
Cameron is likely collecting data, specimens, and imagery unthinkable in 1960, when the only other explorers to reach Challenger Deep returned after seeing little more than the silt stirred up by their bathyscaphe.
– The Average Depth Of The Ocean Is Around 14000 Feet
Which is equal to the statue of liberty stacked one top of itself 47 times !
– We Have Better Maps Of Mars Than We Do Of The Ocean Floor
In fact, according to NASA, only between 5 to 15 percent of the ocean’s depths had been surveyed by traditional sonar techniques at that point.
That’s because it’s expensive and time-consuming to scan the bottom of the ocean. In most cases the scans were done in places where ships travel, because we needed to know what the ships were traveling over. Popular shipping routes have been covered, as have near-shore depths, but that’s about it.
Recently, Virginia Tech researchers and a professor at Old Dominion University have teamed up to develop a fleet of 12 underwater drones costing $125,000 each that they hope will survey the deepest parts of the ocean faster (and cheaper) than anyone has done before !
– Many Organisms Produce Their Own Light, Called Bio-luminescence.
In the dark of the ocean, bioluminescence can help organisms to survive.
Some fish dangle a lighted lure in front of their mouths to attract prey, while some squid shoot out bioluminescent liquid, instead of ink, to confuse their predators. Worms and tiny crustaceans also use bioluminescence to attract mates.
Bioluminescent organisms live throughout the water column, from the surface to the seafloor, from near the coast to the open ocean. In the deep sea, bioluminescence is extremely common, and because the deep sea is so vast, bioluminescence may be the most common form of communication on the planet!
– The Deepest Point On Earth Is 11 kilometer Deep In The Mariana Trench, Near The Mariana Islands.
Located near Guam, the Mariana Trench is the deepest known submarine trench. It is also the deepest known location on Earth itself.
The deepest part of the trench is known as the Challenger Deep (36,200 feet deep). It is named after the British Royal Navy survey ship HMS Challenger, whose expedition of 1872–76 made the first recordings of its depth.
The water there tends to range between 34 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. But what’s surprising is how hot the water can get, too! There are hydrothermal vents throughout the trench. The water that comes out of those vents would be enough to scald anyone at 700 degrees Fahrenheit – but don’t worry, anyone not in a hardy vessel would be instantaneously crushed by the tremendous pressure first.
– The Largest Deep Sea Fish Is Called Greenland Shark, which has a length of 6.4 meters
Often mistaken for Great White Sharks because of their massive size, they reach up to 24 feet (7.2 meter) in length and weigh up to 3,100 lbs (1,400 kg)
Greenland Sharks have a voracious appetite and will eat almost anything. Typically they eat eels, lumpfish, flounder, and other small sharks, but they will also eat carrion, the meat of dead animals. They have also been known to eat land animals. Greenland Sharks have been found with a polar bear jaw, an entire reindeer, horse bones, and a moose hide in their stomachs.
Greenland Sharks are rarely observed in the wild. It wasn’t until 1995 that scientists were able to capture the first pictures of a Greenland Shark swimming in its natural habitat. Then in 2003, the first and only video footage of a Greenland Shark swimming was taken.
– One Of The Biggest Problems Facing Underwater Explorers Is The Pressure
In fact, for every 10 meters traveled deeper into the ocean, there are an additional 6.47kg (14.27lbs) of pressure on each square inch of surface. In order to descend to greater ocean depths, scientists and explorers must use specially designed equipment like remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and manned submersibles that can operate under extreme pressures.
How extreme? An ROV diving to a depth of 2,000m experiences over 1,270kg (2,800lbs) of force exerted on each square inch of its surface!
That means that in the Challenger Deep, the pressure is approximately 1100 times surface pressure !
– The Great Depths Are Measured Using TNT
While scientists question the sensitivity of the method, even the rough results are impressive: So far, in addition to the Mariana Trench, four other trenches—the Kermadec, Kuril-Kamchatka, Philippine, and Tonga, all in the Western Pacific Ocean—have been identified as deeper than 10,000 meters (32,808 feet) !
To measure the very deepest parts of the ocean, scientists use bomb sounding, a technique where TNT is thrown into the trenches and the echo is recorded from a boat, allowing scientists to estimate the depth.
– Tons Of Hazardous Waste Was Dumped In the Deep Sea
In the 1970s, tons of toxic pharmaceutical waste—the equivalent of 880 Boeing 747s—was dumped into the Puerto Rico Trench. At the time Puerto Rico was a large producer of pharmaceuticals, and the dumping was allowed as a temporary measure while a new wastewater treatment site was built.
Inevitably, delays meant that dumping continued at the site into the 1980s. Samples taken from the dump site indicated that ecosystems were seriously damaged by the pollutants, with a 1981 study revealing “demonstrable changes in the marine microbial community in the region used for waste disposal.”
Unfortunately , pharmaceutical waste is one of myriad things we as a society have dumped into the world’s oceans. Industrial and medical waste, dredge spoils, sewage sludge, ocean mining waste, high-level and low-level radioactive waste, munitions, ships, tires, and much more all have been disposed of at sea.
– The Loudest Ocean Sound Remained a Mystery for 15 Years
In 1997, while searching for underwater volcanoes off the coast of South America, scientists recorded something they couldn’t explain: a strange, exceptionally loud noise. They called it “the bloop.”
The bloop was one of the loudest underwater sounds ever recorded: hydrophones (underwater microphones) more than 3.000 miles apart all captured the same noise. And researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which first recorded the bloop, couldn’t figure out what had caused it.
After 15 years, the NOAA concluded that the noise came from an icequake, which is when seismic activities cause a break in frozen ground. However, many people still question this conclusion, and the Bloop is the source of many conspiracy theories to this day.
– The Ocean Is Full of Gold
There is around 20 million tons of gold dispersed throughout the waters of the oceans. It is, however, incredibly diluted, with only a few parts per trillion.
The ocean floor also has undissolved gold embedded in it, but it’s not cost-effective to mine it. However, if it were equally distributed among every person on earth, everyone would receive nine pounds of gold.
Currently, there’s no cost-effective method to remove the gold from seawater and be profitable. However, that didn’t stop many eager inventors and investors both legitimate and scammers. In the 1890s pastor Ford Jernegan came up with a plan for a “Gold Accumulator” in a fever dream. The plan was to extract gold from the Long Island Sound using a process involving mercury and electricity treatments.
– Deepest Recorded Whale Dive Is At 2,992 meters (9,816 feet)
Whales can in general hold breath for hours and some species, like sperm whales, are notorious deep divers but the deep diving crown goes to Cuvier’s beaked whales: !
This elusive species regularly dives to depths of more than 2000 meters (6600 ft), and one particular specimen is current record holder for both the longest and the deepest dive made by a whale.
This adventurous whale was recorded off the coast of California, where it was underwater for 2 hours and 17 minutes, with the maximum dive depth of whopping 2,992 meters (9,816 feet)!
– Corals Produce Their Own Sunscreen
On the Great Barrier Reef, scientists have discovered the production of natural sunscreen within the corals. It may also protect the fish that feed on the coral, according to this article by Dermascope. It’s a protection mechanism against UVA/UVB rays.
As you can imagine, chemists are trying to get their hands on this. They are attempting to extract it for human use, which would create a natural sunscreen for humans, however it could potentially destroy a huge portion of the coral reefs. Other sources claim to just mimic the process.
– Time-shifting Earthquakes
In deep ocean water, tsunami waves form only a low, broad hump, barely noticeable and harmless, which generally travels at a high speed of 500 to 1,000 km/h (310 to 620 mph). In shallow water near coastlines, a tsunami slows down to only tens of kilometres per hour but, in doing so, forms large destructive waves
The 2011 magnitude 9.0 Tōhoku-Oki earthquake off Japan was caused by a fault rupture in the Japan Trench. The event and subsequent tsunami left about 20,000 dead or missing and affected more than 35 coastal cities. The quake was followed by 666 aftershocks that exceeded magnitude 5.0. The energy involved in high-magnitude earthquakes originating in trenches is immense.
The 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake in the Java Trench caused a sufficiently massive release of energy to alter the Earth’s rotation, shortening the day by 2.68 microseconds. Similarly, the Tōhoku-Oki earthquake shifted the Earth’s axis by between 10cm and 25cm, shortening the day by another 1.8 microseconds.
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