Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Into the Heart of the Ocean

After making a record breaking dive into the Marinas Trench, James Cameron gave his specially-designed submersible to the Woods Hole Oceanography Institute.

Aside from admiring Cameron's passion for exploration and innovation, the bit of news got me thinking about the trench near the islands of Japan in the Pacific Ocean.  Talk about fascination.  

At over six miles down, it's deeper than Mt Everest is high.  All that ocean water overhead means eight tons of pressure is exerted per square inch -- the equivalent of one person trying to hold 50 jumbo jets, according to the University of Delaware.   The trench is so remote that people have visited it only four times.   

This canyon in the bottom of the ocean is dark and mostly cold, but there is life.  Microbes and other creatures.  Cameron's team "spotted a rocky outcropping covered with bizarre clumps of microorganisms known as microbial mats — life in the middle of nowhere," according to the New York Times.

Naturally, some humans thought the trench would be a good place to dump nuclear waste, according to Wikipedia.  Really?  Yes, really. 

image: seatlletimes


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