Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mariana Trench - The Deepest location in the Earth

Dictionary says Abyss is an immeasurably deep chasm, depth, or void. Especially unknown deepest parts of sea are known as Abyss. Here is one of such deepest parts of the earth. But it’s the deepest part in the earth as per the discoveries made as on date.

The Mariana Trench

The Mariana Trench is located in the Pacific Ocean, just east of the 14 Mariana Islands (11″21′ North latitude and 142″ 12′ East longitude ) near Japan. As you probably already know, it is the deepest part of the earth’s oceans, and the deepest location of the earth itself. It was created by ocean-to-ocean subduction, a phenomena in which a plate topped by oceanic crust is subducted beneath another plate topped by oceanic crust.

But just how deep is the Mariana Trench?

First off, here are the average depths of the earth’s oceans; the Arctic Ocean is 1,038 meters (3,407 feet) deep, the Indian Ocean is 3,872 meters (12,740 feet) deep, the Atlantic Ocean is 3,872 meters (12,254 feet) deep and thePacific Ocean is 4,188 meters (13,740 feet) deep.

The deepest point in each of the earth’s oceans are as follows; the Arctic Ocean’s Eurasian Basin at 5,450 meters (17,881 feet) deep, the Indian Ocean’s Java Trench at 7,725 meters (25,344 feet) deep, the Atlantic Ocean’s Puerto Rico Trench at 8,648 meters (28,374 feet) deep and the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench at 11,033 meters (36,201 feet) deep.

The deepest point of the Mariana Trench is called The Challenger Deep , so named after the British exploration vessel HMS Challenger II, and it is located 210 miles south-west of Guam. This depth was reached in 1960 by the Trieste, a manned submersible owned by the U.S. Navy.

In order to better illustrate the actual depth of the Mariana Trench, consider the following; if Mount Everest, which is the tallest point on earth at 8,850 meters (29,035 feet), were set in the Mariana Trench, there would still be 2,183 meters (7,166 feet) of water left above it.

The deepest part of the Mariana Trench is the Challenger Deep, so named after the exploratory vessel HMS Challenger II; a fishing boat converted into a sea lab by Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard.

The Mariana Trench - Exploration

The Mariana Trench was first pinpointed and surveyed in 1951 by the British Survey ship Challenger II., which gave its name for the trench’s deepest point, “The Challenger Deep”.

The challenger deep is located near the southwestern extremity of the Mariana Trench and was first explored in 1960 by Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard & US Navy Lt. Donald Walsh in bathyscaph “Trieste”, a US Navy owned submersible manned vessel (Designed by Jacques Piccard’s father Auguste) which set a record by diving to a depth of 10, 900 meters (35,810 feet).

The scientist had the brilliant idea to use 70 tons of gasoline to fill the 50 foot long sub’s floats, knowing that gasoline was lighter than water, which in turn was used to flood the submersible’s air tanks, enabling its descent. As the depth increased, the gasoline compressed, which reduced the sub’s buoyancy and accelerated its progress until about 5 hours later, the Trieste had reached the ocean floor, withstanding over 16,000 pounds of pressure per square inch.

The Challenger expedition gave us our first glimpse of deep ocean basins and other characteristics of the ocean floor. In addition to exploring theMarianaTrench, the Challenger gathered important data on the features and species of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans, covering nearly 130,000 kilometers, (approx. 71,000 nautical miles). Nearly 5000 new species of sea creatures were discovered during the 4 year expedition.

In March of 1995, the Japanese unmanned submarine Kaiko was used to conduct further research deep within the Mariana Trench. The Kaiko is a sophisticated vessel with a highly accurate positioning system, allowing scientists to gather important data without the need to endanger a human diver.

Nereus is a new type of deep-sea robotic vehicle, called a hybrid remotely operated vehicle (HROV).

Nereus dove to 10,902 meters (6.8 miles) on May 31, 2009, in the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, reports a team of engineers and scientists aboard the research vessel Kilo Moana.

The dive makes Nereus the world’s deepest-diving vehicle, and the first vehicle to explore the Mariana Trench since 1998.

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