The Mariana Trench is a mysterious and fascinating place that has captivated the minds of scientists and adventurers alike. It is the deepest part of the world’s oceans, reaching a depth of over 36,000 feet. This crescent-shaped trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean and is approximately 1,550 miles long and 45 miles wide. Despite its great depth, very little is known about this unique environment, and much of the Mariana Trench remains a mystery to this day.The depth of the Mariana Trench makes it one of the most dangerous places on earth. Sunlight does not reach here and the sheet of darkness always remains. On top of that the freezing temperature of zero degrees Celsius. The worst is the pressure of water which can shatter human bones in a jiffy. Here there is a pressure of 8 tons on every square inch, which increases even more with the depth. This pressure of water affects the human body in such a way that no such part where air is filled remains. Gradually the lungs collapse and the bones break.The Mariana Trench is the outermost part of the Earth’s crust, the deepest point.Where the sunlight never reaches. Somewhere icy water and somewhere boiling springs. The pressure is so much that the bones of a person are shattered in an instant. A world resides 11 thousand meters below the surface of the water, which has covered many puzzles and breathtaking views. Which is compared to the surface of the moon and where scientists, like other planets, are engaged in the search for life – this is the story of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the world. How deep it is can be gauged from the fact that even if the world’s highest mountain Mount Everest is placed at the deepest point of the trench, its peak will remain 7000 feet below sea level.
The History of the Mariana Trench :
The Mariana Trench is named after the nearby Mariana Islands, also named Las Marianas in honor of the Spanish Queen Mariana of Austria, widow of Philip IV of Spain. The islands are part of an island arc that formed on an over-riding plate, called the Mariana Plate (also named for the islands), at the western edge of the trench.The Mariana Trench was first discovered in the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that its full depth was realized. In recent years, there have been several expeditions to the trench, both manned and unmanned, in an effort to uncover its secrets.
One of the most famous expeditions was the Trieste dive in 1960, which was the first time a human had reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The dive was made by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh, who descended to a depth of over 35,000 feet in the bathyscaphe Trieste.
The Mariana Trench is part of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana subduction system which forms the boundary between two tectonic plates. In this system, the western edge of one plate, the Pacific Plate, is subducted (i.e., thrust) beneath the smaller Mariana Plate to the west. The crustal material on the western edge of the Pacific Plate is some of the oldest oceanic crust on Earth (up to 170 million years), and is, therefore, cooler and denser; So there is a considerable difference in its height relative to the higher-riding (and smaller) Mariana Plate. The deepest region on the plate boundary is the Mariana Trench proper.
The movement of the Pacific and Mariana plates is also indirectly responsible for the formation of the Mariana Islands. These volcanic islands are caused by the melting of the upper mantle due to the release of water trapped in the minerals of the subducting part of the Pacific Plate.
The Mariana Trench was formed millions of years ago as a result of tectonic plate movement. The Pacific Plate and the Philippine Plate collided, causing the Pacific Plate to be forced downward and creating the trench. The pressure and weight of the water have resulted in the extreme depths of the trench, which is nearly seven times deeper than Mount Everest is tall.
The Mariana Trench was formed through a process called subduction. Earth’s crust is made up of comparably thin plates that “float” on the molten rock of the planet’s mantle. While floating on the mantle, the edges of these plates slowly bump into each other and sometimes even collide head-on. It’s the deepest part of the world’s oceans, reaching a depth of over 36,000 feet.The depth of the Mariana Trench makes it one of the most dangerous places on earth.
Oceanographer Jack Peeka and Lieutenant Don Walsh stepped into this unknown world of the deep sea for the first time. On January 23, 1960, while peeping out of the window of the submersible named Trieste, both became witnesses of such scenes which no one had seen before. Desperate to know their experiences, the biggest question in the mind of the world was whether there is a possibility of life in such depth, cold water and terrible pressure? Upon reaching the surface in four hours and 47 minutes, due to movement in the sand, the two could not take any photographs, but what their eyes saw has been debated for a long time.Jack looked out the window to see a flatfish out the window. He immediately told Walsh. Walsh also saw this fish and then the sand came out from below in front of his window. Although marine biologists claimed that it is impossible for fish to survive under such pressure and what Peeka and Jacques saw must have been something else, but these experienced officers of the US Navy clearly said that until scientists prove them wrong They will continue to believe that what they saw was a fish. Even after this mission, the question remained whether life is possible in the Mariana Trench.
Is life possible here ?
Not much is known about life in the Mariana Trench, but life is definitely flourishing. He explains, ‘Even in conditions like no light, acid, temperature and pressure, a surprising number of organisms are found here. From more than 200 microorganisms to crustaceans and amphipods, including sea cucumbers, octopuses and fishes, they are present here. In 2014, the deepest known snailfish was discovered near Guam, below 8000 meters. In the photographs taken by James Cameron, marine life could be seen even at great depths. Scientists are doing research on these to find out how life is possible here.
It was believed that due to pressure, calcium, which makes bones, cannot remain. The question remained on the life of fishes without bones. However, Dr. Ram Karan points out that nature continues to surprise science and the discovery of snailfish in the Marianas is proof of this. He has told, ‘Fishes living near the surface have a bladder to swim in which air is filled. With the help of this, they move up and down, but in deep-dwelling fish, these air-bags are not there. That’s why pressure does not affect them.
Not only this, apart from bones, the organisms found here have more dependence on cartilages. Space is also left empty in their skulls so that the risk of breaking is less. The biggest change has happened at the genetic level. Snailfish also had more copies of the gene that makes TMAO (trimethylamine-oxide), which is essential for proteins in their bodies to change their structure stably for any process. To live in icy water, these creatures have fats that do not freeze.
Apart from this, despite being dark, some creatures rely on sharp eyesight, while some take the help of touch and vibration. Some produce their own light to attract prey and avoid being hunted themselves. Without sunlight, the lack of food depends on everything from the remains of dead organisms to pieces of wood coming from above.
Why are scientists engaged in research here ?
By uncovering the secrets hidden in any trench, products like medicines, food, energy sources can be found, preparations can be made to avoid disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. The biggest question whose answer can be hidden here is the change in the environment of the earth. The science of organisms living in such deep water, darkness, pressure and temperature conditions can tell us how they evolved. Researchers have found microbes living in the deep sea that may be useful for antibiotics and anti-cancer drugs. In such a situation, from the treatment of diabetes to the needs like laundry detergent can be fulfilled by research here.But scientists say there are many new species awaiting discovery and many unanswered questions about how animals can survive in these extreme conditions. Scientists are particularly interested in microorganisms living in the trenches, which they say could lead to breakthroughs in biomedicine and biotechnology.
IS THE MARIANA TRENCH POLLUTED ?
According to a research paper published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, the level of pollution in the Mariana Trench was found to be higher than the nearby areas where there is heavy industrialization. This indicates that pollution caused by human activities continues to accumulate until it reaches the depths (bioaccumulation) and is now being found even in the deepest places of the world. Its effect is also visible. Many items like plastic utensils, cans, bags have been found in Mariana. According to a report published in Britain’s The Royal Society Journal, amphipod organisms in the Mariana Trench have been found to contain microplastics, which are present in everything from plastic bottles to our clothes. Usually, these microplastics reach the water from industries in countries like China and Japan in Asia. When an earthquake occurs on the bottom of the ocean, the elements found above can reach below. He says, ‘The finding of pollutant elements here at this level reveals the truth of the destructive effect humans are having on the earth.’While sampling amphipods (shrimp-like crustaceans) from the Mariana and Kermadec trenches, the researchers discovered extremely high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the organisms’ fatty tissues. These included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), chemicals commonly used as electrical insulators and flame retardants, according to a study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. These POPs were released into the environment through industrial accidents and landfill leakages from the 1930s until the 1970s when they were finally banned.
How big a danger is the ‘poison’ that kills fish ?
In a report of the University of Michigan, it was told that dead fish carry mercury to the trench. The presence of mercury in the sea shows a very dangerous sign. It is a neurotoxin, which means it affects the brain. According to research, this poison from coal-dependent power plants, cement factories, incinerators, mines and other such factories reaches the sea through rivers through rain and dust. Microbes convert it into the more toxic methylmercury. It can cause great danger to the nervous system, immune system and digestive system of humans and wildlife through fish and other seafood. South Asian countries should limit mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.The pollutants are then carried from creature to creature through the ocean’s food chain, eventually resulting in chemical concentrations far higher than surface level pollution.
How did humans reach the bone-breaking depths ?
In the year 2012, Hollywood’s famous film director James Cameron made a unique world record of touching the depth of 10,989 meters inside a submersible. In the year 2020, former NASA Astronaut Kathy Sullivan became the first woman when she touched Challenger Deep. Cathy was also the first American woman to walk in space. The Mariana Trench now comes under the US Protected Zone under the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.
Permission for research in Sirena Deep is obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Service of America and permission for research in Challenger Deep is obtained from the Federated States of Micronesia. Personally, it is difficult for anyone to go down even 100 feet. Scientists use Human Occupied Vehicles (HOV) to reach Challenger Deep.
The Mariana Trench, in the Pacific Ocean, is the deepest place on Earth. The United States has jurisdiction over the trench and its resources, according to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Scientists use a variety of techniques to meet the challenges of deep-sea exploration and trench detection. Which is compared to the surface of the moon and where scientists, like other planets, are engaged in the search for life – this is the story of the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the world.
Q – What is in Mariana Trench ?
- The Mariana Trench is the deepest point on Earth, void of light with the pressure of 48 jumbo jets.
- You’ll still find crustaceans, translucent snailfish, and sea cucumbers in it.
- The most surprising thing in the deep ocean is plastic.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Q –How deep is the Mariana Trench ?
-The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the world’s oceans, reaching a depth of over 36,000 feet.
Q -What challenges does exploring the Mariana Trench present ?
-Exploring the Mariana Trench presents several challenges, including extreme pressure, complete darkness, and cold temperatures, which make it difficult to operate equipment and gather data. In addition, the extreme depth makes it difficult for divers to reach the bottom and return safely
Q – What have we learned so far about the Mariana Trench ?
– Despite being one of the most inaccessible places on Earth, we have still managed to learn a great deal about the Mariana Trench, including the discovery of unique and unusual species, the geology of the trench, and the presence of deep-sea hot springs and underwater mountains.
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