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23 Ocean Facts That Will Make You Feel Very, Very Small

The waters are dark and full of terrors.

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2. But chances are that oceans, in all their hella impressive hugeness, are probably not something you've ~actually~ thought about in a while.


5. The deepest part of the ocean is known as the Challenger Deep, and it is located beneath the Pacific Ocean in the Mariana Trench.

The Mariana Trench runs several hundred kilometers southwest of the island of Guam, and Challenger Deep is approximately 36,200 feet (about 6.8 miles) deep!

7. Plus, we've only barely begun to scratch that ~surface~ — 95% of the ocean has never even been explored by humans.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

And if we already know there are things like this Pacific barreleye fish with a TRANSPARENT HEAD NBD!!!! floating around in there, who knows what else might be!


8. So far, only three people have actually spent time so deep underwater. The deepest manned ocean descent was in 1960, when Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard spent almost 20 minutes together in the submarine Trieste 35,797 feet deep at the bottom of Challenger Deep.

Life Magazine

We'd imagine that what happens in the Challenger Deep, stays in the Challenger Deep.

9. The third person to venture so deep did so in 2012: Titanic director James Cameron dove in the same place for 3 hours. He reached a depth of 35,755 feet.

Instagram: @challenger_deep_22

The descent took 2 hours and 37 minutes.

11. For example, we can map the ocean floor to a maximum resolution of about 5 kilometers, yet we've been able to map most of Venus to a resolution of around 100 meters.

Ministry of the Interior, Taiwan

This is a mapped image of the bottom of the South China Sea.


12. Moreover, we've known since 1971 that the largest volcano in the solar system is Olympus Mons on Mars. But we have only known since 2013 that the largest volcano on Earth is the Tamu Massif in the Pacific. 🌋 /

For comparison: The Tamu Massif (a thankfully extinct shield volcano) extends across an area that's about the size of the entire United Kingdom.

13. Oh, and here's another insane discovery: We discovered only about three years ago that there is a reservoir of water in the Earth's mantle that is THREE TIMES as large as ALL previously known oceans. Three! Times!

University of Alberta / Via

The water is hidden inside of ringwoodite crystals that can be found between the upper and lower regions of the Earth's mantle.

14. The ocean floor is littered with our futile human attempts to cross oceans — based on an estimate by UNESCO, there are about 3 million shipwrecks on ocean floors around the world.

NOAA/Institute for Exploration/University of Rhode Island (NOAA/IFE/URI) / Via

Including the Titanic, the shipwrecks of the Armada of Philip II of Spain, the sunken fleet of Kublai Khan off Japan, and Christopher Columbus's ships.


17. Now here's a bit of a mystery: In 1997, a loud, unknown noise (called "the bloop", which you can listen to here) was recorded in the Pacific. For 10 years, no one could explain where it came from.

18. Speaking of mysteries, deep in the water off the coast of Cuba, researchers have found a structure that looks a lot like a sunken city. No one knows for sure whether that's actually the case or if it's just ~random~.

This is (supposedly!) a picture of it. Conspiracy theorists love this shit and argue that it's the sunken city of Atlantis.

19. Speaking of "things that are randomly found in the water," how about an entirely new continent? Zealandia is a land mass east of Australia, and 94% of it is covered by the Pacific Ocean. But since 2017, the case has been made that it meets all the criteria for being considered as its own continent.


22. And since there aren't really any plants at the deepest parts, all of the living things down there feed on each other, which leads to pretty epic photos like this...

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute / Via

Here's a deep-sea squid and a deep-sea smelt fighting the good fight.

This post was translated from German.