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The Mariana Trench

Updated on October 8, 2014

Deepest Part of the World

If you turned Mount Everest upside down, then went another mile deep, you'd be as deep as the Mariana Trench. It is not only the deepest part in the ocean, but the deepest part of the world! Until March 26th, 2012, when James Cameron made it to the deepest spot in the ocean, it had only been explored once by humans, more than 50 years before. In 1960 Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh went there in a fishing boat converted into a sea lab. The bathyscaphe, or "deep ship" (aka a free-diving self-propelled deep-sea submersible) was named Trieste. It was named after the city in which it was built, on the border between Italy and Yugoslavia.

While the voyage was a great success, Piccard and Walsh's journey was never repeated until recently. For more than half a century, they remained the only humans to venture into these deep and dark waters. The environment was too toxic to risk further exploration until safer and more sophisticated equipment could be created. Unmanned journeys since theirs managed to shed more "light" on this dark and deep mysterious space. Now with Cameron's Deepsea Challenger vessel, man has gone there again.

See more on Cameron's plunge to the Mariana Trench in the videos below. His dedication to the sea and exploration is quite admirable!

Heck of a Ride! - James Cameron emerges from the Deep

H.M.S. Challenger
H.M.S. Challenger

H.M.S. Challenger

First to explore the Deep

The Ocean's deep was first mapped by the British Challenger expedition, led by Sir Wyville Thomson from 1872-1876. The Challenger circumnavigated the globe and became the basis for Modern oceanography. The team discovered hundreds of new species and mapped underwater mountain chains, which included the Mariana Trench.

The deepest part of the Mariana Trench, which is also the deepest part of the world, was named after this expedition: The Challenger Deep.

Mariana Trench - A Long way down!

The Mariana Trench is 6033.5 Fathoms deep

Sailors used to throw a line into the water, wait until it hit the bottom & pull it back up while measuring the length of the line from finger tip to finger tip. The arm span of an average sailor was 6 feet and called a fathom.

Deep Blue

Narrated by Pierce Brosnan

Includes footages of the Marianas Trench where deep mid-ocean ridges regularly erupt and spew hot water and poisonous gasses into the water while sea life inexplicably flourishes on the underwater chimneys.

Deep Blue is a compelling BBC documentary that introduces viewers to some of earth's most mysterious ocean creatures.

The Trieste - Walsh and Piccard ready to load

Trieste just before diving Mariana Trench
Trieste just before diving Mariana Trench

Just before her record dive to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, 23 January 1960. The dive, to a depth of 35,800 feet in the Challenger Deep, off Guam, was made with Lieutenant Don Walsh, USN, and Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard on board. Waves were about five to six feet high when the two men boarded Trieste from the rubber raft seen at left.

USS Lewis (DE-535) is steaming by in the background.

U.S. NHHC Photograph.

Doug Wiens, professor of earth and planetary science

"We think that much of the water that goes down at the Mariana trench actually comes back out of the earth into the atmosphere as water vapor when the volcanos erupt hundreds of miles away,"

More

Video from the Deepest of the Mariana Trench - Challenger Deep

The deepest spot in the entire world

Beautiful Life in the Mariana Trench

Beautiful Life in the Mariana Trench
Beautiful Life in the Mariana Trench

For in dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own. Let him swim in the deepest ocean or glide over the highest cloud.

Dumbledore to Professor Snape

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

News from around the web - Exploring the Mariana Trench

New expeditions, new forms of life found, all extraordinary ~

As more incredible teams race to be the next on the bottom, we'll follow their progress here. Could you go down that far in the ocean if given the chance? I don't think I could. I would love to be up top watching a live feed though! It would take someone with a lot more guts than me to do explore the unknown depths of the sea! Hats off to James Cameron!

Check back often for more developments on exploring the deepest part of the world!

Alamagan Island - Closest Land to the Mariana Trench

Alamagen Island
Alamagen Island

A Volcanic Highpoint in the underwater mountain range where the Mariana Trench lies, Alamagan Island is slowly moving closer to the trench, where two techtonic plates converge. Someday, the island may be swallowed up by the sea.

Could we be doing damage to these delicate parts of our planet by contributing to climate change? It is hard to tell. Let us try to preserve these places while we still can! Share your knowledge and spread caring about maintaining the fragile ecosystems of the ocean.

Thanks for visiting!

Have you heard of the Mariana Trench before - What are you thoughts?

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    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      Great topic for a lens. The depths of the world's oceans are the last frontier on this planet. It's amazing to me we still know so little about them.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 5 years ago from Australia

      Yes I have. Most fascinating!

    • mermaidlife profile image

      mermaidlife 5 years ago

      That photo of the jellyfish in Beautiful Life in the Mariana Trench is breathtaking.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 5 years ago from USA

      Yes...awesome info...thanks!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      The deep waters of the ocean still hold many mysteries. If there really are sea serpents out there, they will likely be found in the deeper waters such as the Mariana Trench.

    • profile image

      queen2010 5 years ago

      Nice lens, hoping you can visit one of my lenses soon. I would appreciate it so much. Thanks

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      SUPER Interesting Lens.

    • profile image

      VillaDejaBlue 5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 5 years ago

      Very interesting - blessed by a travelling angel.

    • profile image

      AngryBaker 5 years ago

      wow... great lens

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 5 years ago

      Lovely lens, I don't think I'd have the nerve to go down that deep, 30 meters scuba diving was enough for me!

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      Beautiful part of the world down there.

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      Learned a lot! Yes, I had heard of it before, but didn't know all the facts!

    • Holly22 profile image

      Christine and Peter Broster 4 years ago from Tywyn Wales UK

      Yes I learned about it in school, a geat very informative lens.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you for sharing. I didn't know this existed.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      Yes, and it's amazing.

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