11 kilometers below the surface of the Pacific Ocean The Mariana Trench is the deepest point on the planet and one of the most mysterious places on Earth. Perhaps it is its inaccessibility that has fueled this myth for decades.
The Mariana Trench was found by chance. The Challenger Expedition, which set sail in 1875, attempted to measure the depth of the Pacific by sounding using something as simple as ballast attached to a rope. HE scandalAs it is known, this conical plumb line quickly shifted to the deepest part of that place, 8,188 meters. After a while it was discovered that it was much deeper.
The Mariana Trench got its name due to its proximity to the area. The Mariana Islands are named in honor of Mariana of Austria, Queen of Spain. (1634-1696), wife of Philip IV.
When the cliff was discovered, marine exploration was in full swing and the area was reminiscent of the harsh waters that Captain Nemo had traveled in his adventures in ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, published just six years earlier. What writer Jules Verne had dreamed of seemed to have come true, but technology at the time was insufficient to reveal all the secrets the said enclave contained.
For any animal to go this deep and survive there means: It can withstand pressure a thousand times greater than at sea level. It’s completely dark and the temperature is only a few degrees. There are many people who have tried, but there are only three expedition teams that have managed to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
1. Four manned expedition reaches the bottom
Until that day, no one had seen what those depths were hiding. January 23, 1960. It was then Jacques PiccardAccompanied by US Navy Lieutenant Donald Wash, he managed to reach maximum sea depth with a bathyscaphe, a small underwater vessel. TriesteIt was designed and built by his father, Auguste Piccard. The descent took five hours, and the two men were on the ocean floor for about twenty minutes before the ascent, which lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes. The legendary giant squid could be seen there for the first time. ArchiteuthisAn unknown variety of flounder and several never-before-seen species indicated that this unknown ecosystem was exceptional.
Film producer James Cameron, who brought Titanic to life in 2012, He decided to repeat Piccard’s success. Cameron dived alone to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in a submarine called Deepsea Challenger and collected previously unknown data and samples. It took James Cameron eight hours to reach the depth of just over 10,900 meters in the Mariana Trench. A lineage that makes him proud, after many years of research and study.
The last human expeditions to the pit date back to B.C. End of 2019 and beginning of 2021. American businessman landed in 2019 Viktor Vescovo diver in Limitation Factor. And on November 10, 2021, Chinese submarine Fendouzhe Under the supervision of three researchers, they descended into the 10,909-meter pit to obtain new samples and images that will enable us to continue exploring the species and what this place on the seabed is like.
2. More meters than Everest
This garden of underwater life is located at a maximum depth of 10,929 meters at the southern end of the small valley in the area. However, there are some measurements showing that its depth is up to 11,000 meters.
In any case, this trench is so deep that its height exceeds even Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. The height of Everest is 8,848 meters. So if you could completely submerge yourself in this underwater hole, there would still be about 2,000 meters of water above the mountain peak.
3. Formed through subduction
The Mariana Trench was formed by a geological event called subduction. This occurs in the following situations: two tectonic plates collide and the heavier one slides under the other. As a result, a large depression occurs in the underwater bottom. There are various forms of diving. The Marianas trench, like the trenches of Japan and Puerto Rico, was formed by the collision of two plates of oceanic lithosphere. When this happens there is often a lot of volcanic activity forming arch-shaped islands and with them these underwater trenches.
Another case of subduction is what occurs when a continental plate and an oceanic plate collide. It is normally oceanic beneath the continental, and intense volcanism gives rise to mountain ranges. An example of this is the Andes.
4. Challenger, lowest point
Challenger Deep is the deepest region of the Mariana Trench. Its depth is between 10,902 and 10,929 meters. It takes its name from the British Royal Navy ship HMS Challenger, which participated in the exploration of the pit in 1875. The pressure of the cliff is approximately 1,095 times greater than the surface pressure. This is the spot most expeditions attempt to reach, but logically given the technical difficulties involved in landing, it is also one of the least explored spots in the world.
The second deepest point in the ocean is the Sirena Deep, located 200 kilometers east of the first, also in the Mariana Trench, and has a depth of 10,809 meters.
5. A reservoir of life in extreme conditions
The depths of the Marianas are a place where life is very difficult due to the existing conditions: pressure of more than 1000 atmospheres (when alone on the surface), temperature of 4 degrees and life in pitch darkness. Despite everything, there are animals and organisms that have adapted to live in these conditions. The moat hosts a unique ecosystem consisting of: plankton, glowing fish and even giant squid that look like something out of fantasy novels.
Expeditions that managed to reach significant depths encountered eels, sea sponge-like organisms and transparent fish. Piccard noted that when he went deep, he landed on “a beautiful mud bottom full of diatoms.”
Much later, in 2011, it was discovered that xenophiophores were harboring at the bottom of the cliff. They may resemble sea sponges, but they are actually microorganisms organized into ‘pseudostructures’, i.e. shapes with a specific organization that make them appear more complex, but they are still giant single-celled beings.
In a Peru-Chile tomb in September 2018 The deepest fish ever found. Animals had gelatinous texture characteristically, it is not very consistent and ‘melts’ when the pressure and temperature differ from the pit. One of them is the Mariana snail fish (Pseudoliparis swirei), was discovered more than 8,000 meters below sea level. According to scientists, the small and translucent-looking snail fish has the capacity to withstand a pressure equivalent to the weight of 1,600 elephants.
6. National monument
Today, much of the trench is a United States protected area, considered part of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. The Pacific Ocean is home to some of the oldest seabeds in the world, dating back approximately 180 million years. One of the reasons that explains the depth of this place.
7. Pollution hits rock bottom
In 2019, explorers of the Five Deeps expedition, led by American businessman and submariner Victor Vescovo, descended to the deepest point of the Mariana Trench and discovered, to their surprise:Remnants of a plastic bag and candy wrappers were floating even at such remote depths.
“It is disappointing to see human-caused pollution at the deepest point of the planet,” Vescovo said in a statement to the Reuters agency, and warned that the sea was considered “a giant pool to be thrown into”. rubbish.”
Contact address of the environmental department:[email protected]
James Sean is a writer for “Social Bites”. He covers a wide range of topics, bringing the latest news and developments to his readers. With a keen sense of what’s important and a passion for writing, James delivers unique and insightful articles that keep his readers informed and engaged.