The Mariana Trench Story
The Mariana Trench is the deepest point in the entire world’s oceans, which in turn extends well below the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
It is a submarine trench with a maximum depth of about 10,984 m (36,037 ft.). It is named after the U.S. research ship the USS Mariana, which was discovered in 1960. It was discovered in 1960 by Lt. Commander Kenneth Norris, as the sixth trench. Moreover, Norris traveled to the Mariana Trench by helicopter. He and Lieutenant Commander Gerald Flinders, the next-in-command, entered the trench at 09:30 hours on May 17, 1960.
Moreover, the floor of the trench is almost 10,000 meters (33,000 ft.) below the ocean surface and is occupied by a large amount of organic and inorganic sediment. The water pressure is quite high, forcing rocks into the surrounding sediment. Furthermore, the entire Trench is encrusted in a massive field of deep-sea corals, sponges, and other animals that have adapted to the seabed. During the Pleistocene period, the Pacific Plate subducted into the trench, creating a mountainous trench. The Pacific Plate is now moving back upward and the trench is becoming shallower. There is a risk that if the pressure on the rocks becomes too great, the surrounding sediment will be crushed and convert the area into a very deep valley.
However, some of the deepest water trenches on Earth extend deeper than the Mariana Trench. The deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, the Challenger Deep, Atlantic Ocean, is about 1,500 meters (4,921 ft.) deeper than the Mariana Trench. In other words, the deepest point on Earth is called Challenger Deep and is located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
What dwells in the Mariana Trench’s bottom?
The most common organisms at the bottom of the Mariana Trench are shrimp-like invertebrates and barnacles. However, there are species of mollusks, polychaete worms, sharks, and sea stars as well. The 2006 PBS documentary, “The Coral Reefs of the Mariana Trench”, revealed the existence of a previously unknown species of deep-sea fish, the Mariana Shield fish, at about 6,000 meters (20,000 ft.). Other discoveries made by the film crew included a deep-sea ridge of coral, a vast array of primitive fish including a type of eel, a sea cucumber, and a shrimp-like invertebrate called a fan-ray. These discoveries help researchers understand how life forms may have begun in the deep ocean, and are now considered key to understanding the history of life on Earth.
What can we learn from this place?
We can probably not learn very much from this place. Any sort of field investigation in this place is very dangerous and costly as the currents are very strong and there are very few places for scientists to sit and take measurements. It is estimated that, in order to map out the trench, it would cost an incredible $100 million. Deep-sea exploration has always been a tricky proposition, largely because of the depth at which the pressure and temperature are both similar to zero, we are unable to measure or observe directly, as the majority of our instruments are incapable of performing these observations in this manner.
Advocates for the bottom of the ocean fear that deep-sea exploration and research will soon be a thing of the past due to declining budgets and the perceived risk associated with the effort. In a press release by the ODPE in 2006, “The deep ocean and its rich and unique biodiversity provide an unexplored world of wonder and discovery, but their importance to our survival cannot be overestimated. Scientists who enter the deep ocean for the first time may have found the “holy grail” of environmental research, one of the last frontiers of knowledge about how living beings live on the planet Earth.
Facts about the Mariana Trench
Within the trench, more waterfalls vertically into the ocean than all other trenches combined. The Mariana Trench has no commercially viable fishing, and the only human access to the trench is in the Mariana Islands. Fishing for a single species can yield over 20,000 pounds of tuna per ship. Over a century ago, explorers believed that the largest living animal on Earth might live in the Mariana Trench, a belief later proven to be false. Even today, scientists have yet to find a record-breaking predator there. Moreover, the Mariana Trench is a place of great scientific interest.
Conclusion: The World’s Deepest Point: The Mariana Trench
As we know, we are nowhere near the bottom. We are on the surface of our planet. Nothing on our planet is deeper than we are. Our depth is restricted to one mile, or approximately 2.5 km (1.6 mi). We are situated above the surface of the land, which is greater than we are. Nothing is deeper than the ocean bottom. Therefore, the ocean bottom is one of the greatest mysteries of our age.