The underexplored underwater
That’s a huge portion of our world, so just what is lurking under the waves? Dive in with Tracerco to find out.
The seas are home to hundreds of thousands of discovered life forms, with many more yet to be found. Scientists believe the true number could top millions. There are also around 4,000 species of coral reef fish found across the globe — that’s close to a quarter of all of the world’s marine fish species—though be aware that a millilitre of ocean water contains close to 1 million bacteria and 10 million viruses.
Magnificent sights & amazing depths
The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the ocean that we know of. Located in the western Pacific Ocean and to the east of the Mariana Islands, the deepest point found here measures in at an estimated 11,000 metres — or 36,000 feet. The average depth of the Earth’s oceans is also 3,720 metres — or 12,200 feet.
The longest mountain range in the world is also found under the sea. Named the Mid-Oceanic Ridge, this mountain chain stretches for more than 56,000km across and covers parts of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, Earth’s highest mountain in the ocean is the Mauna Kea. Found off the coast of Hawaii, the mountain rises for 10,203 metres (33,474 feet) from the ocean floor, with 4,170 metres (13,680 feet) viewable above sea level.
On top of this, the largest living structure on the planet is found in the sea. This is the Great Barrier Reef — it measures around 2,600km and is so huge that it can be spotted from the Moon.
Brine pools and underwater volcanoes spewing mud and methane rather than lava can be found on the sea floor near the Gulf of Mexico. There’s also underwater hot springs found across the Earth’s oceans, where water with temperatures of 650°F shoot out — that’s hot enough to melt lead.
With only 5% of our ocean explored, according to data from National Geographic, we have noted more about Mars than our own ocean floor.
There are more historical artefacts in the ocean than all the museums in the world combined. There is almost 20 million tons of gold within the Earth’s oceans too — if all which was suspended was mined, there would be enough to give each person on the planet around 9 pounds of gold.
The ocean floor also has around $60 billion worth of sunken treasure.
Plus, with calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium salts in the water, scientists estimate the oceans hold around 50 quadrillion tons of dissolved solids.
Sadly, salt and treasures are not the only thing in our oceans, with 14 billion pounds of trash dumped into the sea every year. Most of this is plastic, which is hugely harmful to the aquatic environment.
Trade & communication
The world’s trade is carried by the sea, with 90% of exports and imports heading by boat. Plus, around 50% of communications between countries is made possible by underwater technology, such as subsea technologies.