What is the deepest part of the ocean?
The Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the ocean. Mariana Trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean and runs along with the Mariana Islands. The trench is over 6 miles deep and was first discovered in 1875. In 2009, a team of scientists made an amazing discovery when they found a fish living at a depth of over 26,000 feet!
The Mariana Trench is named after the Mariana Islands, which are a chain of 14 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, which are named after Las Marianas in honour of Spanish Queen Mariana of Austria, widow of Philip IV of Spain. The Mariana Trench is located just to the east of these islands.
The Mariana Trench is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is a ring of volcanoes and earthquake zones that encircles the Pacific Ocean. The Mariana Trench is also home to the deepest known point on Earth, Challenger Deep. Challenger Deep is located at a depth of over 36,000 feet!
The Challenger Deep
Exploring the Challenger Deep is no easy feat. In 1960, the first attempt to reach the bottom was made by Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh. They descended to a depth of over 35,000 feet in their bathyscaph Trieste but were unable to reach the bottom due to technical difficulties.
In 2012, film director and explorer James Cameron made a successful solo descent to the Challenger Deep in his submersible Deepsea Challenger. He spent over three hours exploring the bottom of the trench and even discovered a new type of sea cucumber!
Why is the ocean so deep here?
The Mariana Trench is located at a point where two of Earth’s tectonic plates meet. The Pacific Plate is slowly being subducted under the Mariana Plate, which creates the trench. This process is called plate tectonics and it’s responsible for creating many of Earth’s mountains and volcanoes.
Volcanoes within the Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench is home to the world’s deepest known volcano. Called the Daikoku Seamount, this volcano is over 29,000 feet tall and is located about halfway between Japan and Guam.
Mariana Trench Pollution
The Mariana Trench is one of the most remote and pristine environments on Earth. However, it is not immune to pollution. In 2016, scientists discovered that microplastics had been found at depths of over 36,000 feet in the Mariana Trench! These microplastics are thought to have entered the trench via ocean currents