Did You Know?
The Mariana Trench is 120 times bigger than the Grand Canyon. At the Challenger Deep, the Mariana Trench actually goes deeper (by about a mile) than the height of Mount Everest.
Mariana Trench is the deepest place in the world and it lies to the east of Mariana islands, in the western Pacific Ocean. Depth of the Mariana Trench at the 'Challenger Deep' point is 10,911 m; it is the deepest point of this trench. Total length of the Mariana Trench is 1,580 miles while its average width is 43 miles.
Facts about Mariana Trench
The phenomenon of ocean-to-ocean subduction leads to the creation of Mariana Trench. Shifting of the adjacent earth crusts which form the ocean floor has led to the formation of this trench.
Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the Mariana Trench is named after HMS Challenger II, an exploratory vessel.
Hot water vents are amongst the important features of the ocean floor of Mariana Trench. Hydrogen sulfide and many other minerals are emitted from these vents, which form the food of barophilic bacteria. Other microbes feed on the barophilic bacteria. The fish in turn consume the microbes.
Mariana Trench being the deepest part of the Pacific ocean, the temperature here is quite low. It ranges from 34-39° F; which makes this place one of the coldest places on earth.
Mariana Trench is a part of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc system. The fact that it lies near the edge of the Pacific plate (the largest tectonic plate) makes Mariana Trench the deepest place on the ocean floor. Shape of the Mariana Trench is semi-circular.
Psychrophilic bacteria are found in the depths of oceans. You would find such bacteria in the Mariana Trench.
The pressure exerted by water near the surface of the Mariana Trench is 108.6 mega-pascals. It is more than 1000 times the standard atmospheric pressure experienced at the sea level.
Ocean floors having great depths are known to accumulate deposits of animal skeletons, shells and decaying animals & plants. The Mariana Trench is not an exception to it. Such deposits impart a yellowish color to the ocean floor.
The deposits of shells, decaying matter and other waste materials together form the pelagic segment; biogenous ooze is an alternative name used for the pelagic segment. It is known for the high viscosity.
James Cameron's Descent
The famous film director, James Cameron traveled to the deepest point of Mariana Trench on 25th March, 2012. His journey to this part of the ocean was aimed at capturing photographs and collecting specimens & scientific information. A submersible vessel named 'Deepsea Challenger' was used by Cameron for this descent.
Giant Amoebas in Mariana Trench
During a mission undertaken by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in July, 2011, giant amoebas (known as xenophyophores) were discovered in the Mariana Trench. These amoebas were found at a depth of 6.6 miles in the 'Sirena Deep' region. Earlier, xenophyophores were found in the New Hebrides Trench at a depth of 4.7 miles. Such type of amoebas generally have a size over 10 cm (diameter).
Interesting Facts about Mariana Trench
The places of hydrothermal vents near the ocean floors are known for temperature extremes. Creatures found at such depths possess different kinds of proteins which enable them to survive extreme temperatures.
The accurate measurement of the depth of Mariana Trench was made by a Japanese probe in 1995. It revealed that the Challenger Deep point is actually 10,911 m deep as against the earlier measurement of 10,916 m (recorded in 1959).
The Project Nekton was an expedition started on October 5th, 1959 which used Trieste, a bathyscaphe (designed in Switzerland). The depth recorded at the Challenger Deep point was 10,916 meter.
Western edge of the Pacific tectonic plate near the Mariana Trench is about 170 million years old.
The time taken by Trieste, the bathyscaphe involved in 'Project Nekton' to reach the ocean floor was 4 hours, 48 minutes.
Why is the Mariana Trench So Deep?
The Mariana Trench which is located in the Pacific Ocean has some of the oldest ocean floors in the world.
The absence of sediment-depositing rivers anywhere near the Mariana Trench is one of the reasons why it is so deep.
The Mariana Trench goes deeper than other subduction zones because of its fault lines. Such fault lines have led to the formation of a narrow 'tongue' near the Mariana Trench.
The facts about Mariana Trench mentioned deal with its geography, sea-life and information about expeditions being conducted. The details presented above should help readers understand more about this natural wonder.