The ocean is a magical place, but it can also be fairly daunting. Sure, swimming in crystal clear water is one of the most relaxing things in the world – but have you ever been on a boat and looked down? What lies underneath the dark recesses of the water? Well, it seems the deepest and darkest underwater recesses have a name, and they are named after the Greek god of the underworld. There are around 46 hadal zones across the globe, and we still don’t know as much as we would like to about these bizarre areas. But to get you up to speed, this is what we do know so far…
Scientists use TNT to measure how deep they are
It’s almost impossible for humans to make their way into these hadal zones, so scientists have had to find other ways to understand more about these recesses. One of the most effective ways of measuring their depth is to use TNT. They throw the explosives into the ocean and measure the echo with a bomb sounding technique. Through his method, they have been able to clarify that many of the deepest trenches in the world lie deeper than a whopping 10,000 meters.
Sea creatures do exist in the deep
It’s amazing to think that there are animals in the darkest and deepest parts of the ocean, because scientists have only just confirmed that this is true! Before a 2016 research paper made its way into the world, scientists were working on old samples of fish that had suffered in these trenches, and struggled to form a conclusion as to whether animals could survive in the deep. Yet, when a research vessel made its way into the deep in 2008, they managed to capture images of a hadal snailfish, who was alive and kicking at around 26,722 feet.
More people have been to the moon than these hadal zones
Yes, you read that correctly. Of course, we’ve yet to book our ticket to the moon, but there are many people across the world who have had the chance to see what this moon has to offer. However, only three people over the course of history have ever been able to visit one of the most famous trenches in history; the Mariana Trench. This is because these dark recesses offer an underwater pressure that just wouldn’t work for humans, or machines to that matter. Many probes and submarines that try to make their way down into the depths have exploded in transit.
These zones allow us to understand space
As we’re on the space subject, it’s important to note that our investigations into these hadal zones actually allows us to understand more about space and whether life could survive in harsh conditions. Animals that are found in these harsh conditions are called extremophiles, and many scientists believe that they would be able to thrive and survive on different planets and in space. This is because they already withstand high pressure, little oxygen, and extremely cold temperatures.
Supergiants live here
Okay, don’t get too excited – but these hadal zones have been known to house supergiants. However, these are not giant sharks or whales, but giant versions of tiny creatures that exist in the open water. In fact, scientists have confirmed that the Alicella gigantea exists in the deep and is a whopping 20 times larger than its shrimp-like counterpart in the ocean that we can see. Although this is impressive, its counterpart is just the size of a sandhopper…
The ocean is a bizarre place that constantly raises questions among scientists, but it seems as though these questions won’t be answered anytime soon. Until we can build technology that can withstand the deep, we will still only know these facts about the deepest and darkest underwater recesses.