What’s Actually at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench

If you’ve ever tried scuba-diving, you know
that at some point during the descent, you’ll experience some unpleasant sensations. Your ears might pop, and you’re likely to
feel some serious pressure. Luckily, it’s usually nothing serious if you
do everything correctly. But what would happen to you at the bottom
of the Mariana Trench? But first, I must ask this, “Are you indeed
set on going down there, to the deepest, darkest, and most mysterious part of the ocean world?” Ok-ok, then let the adventure begin! I see you put on a diving mask, a wetsuit,
fins and gloves, and an oxygen tank. Um, are you sure that’s all the equipment
you’ll need to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench? Oh, Ok then. You take a flight and then get on a boat that
brings you to the western part of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 124 miles away from the
Mariana Islands. Now, you’re right over the 1,580-mile-long
crescent-shaped trough cutting through the Earth’s crust. But as far as I understand, you want to get
to the very deepest point of the ocean. In that case, you need to travel to the southern
part of the Mariana Trench. There, you’ll find the Challenger Deep, a
small valley at a dizzying depth of 36,037 ft! However, some researchers state that the thing
is even deeper – 36,201 ft! It’s so deep that if you put Mount Everest
(which is the tallest mountain in the world) into the Challenger Deep, there would still
be around 1.2 miles between the mountain’s peak and the surface. But right now, you’re still floating in the
water next to your boat, getting ready for the dive of your life! It might be unexpected, but land-dwelling
humans are surprisingly good divers, and as you start submerging, you don’t have any problems. At first. As you get deeper, you feel as if some invisible
force is squeezing you from all sides, and the pressure is getting stronger. That’s the weight of the ocean trying to crush
you. Usually, people can withstand 3 to 4 atmospheres
of pressure without any particular problems. That means that you can submerge to a depth
of 130-140 ft and still feel fine. But any deeper than that – and you begin to
feel some discomfort. Don’t worry just yet: experiments show that
the maximum pressure people can withstand is almost 70 atmospheres (and that’s 70 times
more than you feel on land at sea level!). So, keep going, and you might beat the record
set by Herbert Nitsch, an Austrian freediver with the nickname “the deepest man on Earth.” To break his record, you have to submerge
deeper than he did, and that’s 831 feet beneath the surface of the ocean! But you’re strong and brave, AND you have
the scuba-diving equipment – that’s why you manage to withstand the pressure of 25 atmospheres
and go deeper. During your descent, you notice that it’s
getting darker. That’s because you’re leaving the sunlight
zone of the ocean and going deeper – to the twilight zone, which starts at a depth of
660 ft. You can still pick out the silhouettes of
the underwater inhabitants you’re traveling past, but everything is dim. Now, the ever-growing pressure starts to make
you worried. You reach the mark of 1,090 feet beneath the
surface, and that’s the deepest a scuba diver has ever reached. It took Ahmed Gabr, the man who set this record,
only 12 minutes to get to this depth, but almost 15 hours to get back to the surface. If he’d been swimming up faster, he wouldn’t
have made it back in one piece due to the fatal consequences of a too-quick ascent. Anyway, I’m afraid it would be too risky for
you to move any deeper without changing your scuba-diving suit to something more appropriate
and secure! For example, you can put on an atmospheric
diving suit! Hard-shelled and equipped with everything
you might need at a great depth, it’s something like what astronauts wear in space. And this suit can take you to a depth of 2,300
ft below the surface! When inside, you won’t need to decompress
or use special breathing gas. On the other hand, such a suit is super expensive,
bulky, and truly awkward to use. So, a much better option will be to give up
your diving idea and get inside a special submarine constructed for deep-dives! Now, this submarine can take you to the very
bottom of the Mariana Trench – don’t worry, there have been attempts before, and they’ve
ended successfully! It’ll take you about two and a half hours
to reach your destination. At a depth of 3,280 ft, your journey becomes
quite boring and monotonous as you enter the midnight zone. No sunlight gets this deep, and the water
around you is bathed in darkness. And finally, you’re there, at the Earth’s
bottom! Outside your submarine, the pressure is simply
astonishing: it’s more than 1,000 times higher than the standard atmospheric pressure you
experience at sea level! That’s why, if you decided to leave your reliable
shelter for some inexplicable reason and set foot outside, 8 tons of water would press
down on each square inch of your body! In other words, imagine 50 jumbo jets placed
on top of you – and you can probably guess that you wouldn’t last long. And if your submarine wasn’t so sturdy, at
the bottom of the Challenger Deep, it’d be instantly flattened to the thickness of
an aluminum foil sheet. Also, due to this pressure, the water at such
depths is incredibly dense: just one unit of volume at the bottom of the Mariana Trench
has the same mass as 100 units of water at the surface! And to make matters worse, the temperature
around your submarine is close to freezing – from 34 to 39 degrees F.
But thanks to the spotlights of your submarine, you can see that not all living beings are
as terrified of the immense pressure and low temperatures as you are! For example, look at this creature that looks
like a giant amoeba! The most amazing thing about it is that it’s
single-celled (and quite beautiful if we’re being honest here). Another inhabitant of the Trench is peeking
into the submarine’s periscope right now. It resembles a shiny shrimp with a compressed
body. And a bit further, you can spot something
that looks like a transparent sea cucumber. And apparently, there are lots of them here! And finally, even though you can’t see it,
the Challenger Deep is the home to more than 200 microorganisms that lead a comfortable
life holed up in the cozy mud at the bottom. Anyway, you’ve seen and experienced everything
you could on this risky and unusual journey, and it’s time to get back to the surface! And while your submarine is going up, let
me tell you several amazing things about the Mariana Trench and the Challenger Deep! – Even though the Challenger Deep is the deepest
point of the ocean, it’s not the closest to the center of the Earth! This paradox exists because our planet isn’t
a perfect sphere. Its radius is about 16 miles smaller at the
poles. And that’s why some parts of seabed in the
Arctic Ocean are, on average, 8 miles closer to the center of the planet than the bottom
of the Challenger Deep. – The Mariana Trench is one of the oldest
sea beds on Earth! Researchers claim that it may be up to 180
million years old! – At the bottom of the trench, there are hydrothermal
vents that emit super-acidic fluids. And the temperature around these vents usually
reaches 572 degrees F, which is three times higher than the boiling point of water. But at the same time, the liquid coming out
of the vents doesn’t boil. The reason is the immense pressure of the
water column above. – It may sound paradoxical, but the very hot
and acidic water that comes out of the vents is what sustains life in that part of the
ocean! The thing is that this liquid is rich in minerals
that are vital for supporting life. – The Champagne vent in the Mariana Trench,
not far from Taiwan, is the only known place on Earth where you can get liquid carbon dioxide
(in case you need it). – The bottom of the trench is covered with
icky grayish-yellow sludge which is almost silky to the touch. It’s the remains of everything that ends up
at the bottom after being crushed by the water pressure. Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other videos I think you’ll
enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and stay
on the Bright Side of life!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *