The Mariana Trench (or Marianas Trench) is famously the deepest part of the oceans. It is known to be deeper than Mount Everest is high. There are so many strange things about the Mariana Trench - life has to be very strange to live at these ludicrously crushing depths.
The world is just learning what lives in the depths of the Mariana Trench and in other parts of the super-deep ocean. Often the life found in the deep ocean is stranger than fiction. The Mariana Trench is located around 200 kilometers or 124 miles east of the Mariana Islands.
What and Where is The Mariana Trench?
There remains much to be discovered about the Mariana Trench and the world's deep oceans in general. As National Geographic points out, thousands have summited Mount Everest, but very few (two when Nat Geo wrote the article) have descended to the Challenger Deep - the deepest part of the Trench.
- Discovered: It Was First Discovered In 1875 By The British ship H.M.S. Challenger And Later With Better Accuracy In 1951, By The British vessel H.M.S. Challenger II
The trench is something of a crescent-shaped scar in the Earth’s crust. It is a part of a global network of deep troughs cutting across the ocean floor and are formed as tectonic plates collide and one plate dives underneath the other into the Earth's mantle.
- Length: 1580 Miles or 2,550 Kilometers
- Width: 43 Miles or 69 Kilometers
- Depth: 36,037 Feet or 10,984 Meters
At the bottom of the trench, there is the extreme crushing pressure from the water column of 1,086 bars (or 15,750 psi) - that's around a thousand times that of the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. Put another way, that's around eight tons per square inch. And yet even at these insanely crushing depths, it seems that microbial life thrives while Monothalamea has been found to depths of 10.6 km or 6.6 miles.
- Temperature: The Temperature At The Bottom Is 1 to 4 °C (34 to 39 °F)
- Gloom: No Light Can Penetrate This Deep And It is In Perpetual Darkness
Research and Protection of the Trench
In 2009 most of the Mariana Trench was established as a US National Monument by President Bush. Permits for research in the protected part of the trench need to be gotten from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, while research permits in the Challenger Deep part are obtained from the Federated States of Micronesia.
The first descent by people to the bottom of the Challenger Deep was in 1960 by Jacques Piccard and Navy Lt. Don Walsh. This descent took five hours but they could only spend 20 minutes down there. They were also unable to take pictures due to the clouds of silt stirred up by the submersible called the Trieste.
- First Descent: In 1960
Life In The Mariana Trench
The Trieste expedition showed for all that life could indeed exist in the Mariana Trench. Today it is known that life is there, but very little is known about the types of organisms that live down there. On that expedition, they saw a flatfish (although some think it could have been a sea cucumber), and a shrimp.
Since then other living organisms including some gigantic single-celled amoebas have been discovered. The size of these have single-celled amoebas have been measured as much as 10 cm or 4 inches.
OceanGreat Expeditions And Deep Sea Diving
If one would like to explore the deep sea, then consider contacting OceanGreat Expeditions. It is a company of undersea explorers, scientists, and filmmakers dedicated to manned exploration of the mysterious world deep under the waves - most of which has never been explored. Their expeditions can go down to depths approaching 4,000 meters or 13,000 feet.
- Cost: Costs Vary Massively By Location, Date, And Duration
- Quote: To Know How Much A Dive Will Cost, One Needs To Get A Specific Quote
They have two submersibles - one is the Cyclops1 and the other is the Titan.
Cyclops1 is a five-person submersible and is used for the more shallow dives. It is able to dive to depths of up to 500 meters or 1,640 feet. Cyclops1 has successfully carried out dozens of research projects, training dives, and expeditions. It was also a fully functional prototype while the Titan was in development.
- Dive Depth: 500 Meters or 1,640 Feet
The other is the Titan. The Titan is the world's only 5-crewmembers submersible that has surveyed the RMS Titanic at a crushing depth of 3,800 meters (or 12,500 feet). It has been engineered by OceanGate Inc. and made its debut in 2018. The Titan is lighter and more cost-efficient than any other deep-diving submersible. The Titan is their deep-diving flagship.