Very often we are filled with awe watching the impressive relief forms of our planet. Billions of years in which the relentlessly forces of nature are dug various shapes on the face of the planet Earth, however, are nothing compared with what would be found if you can look beneath the surface of the World Ocean. Huge volcanic ridges, underwater mountains, canyons and valleys could overshadow with their size all that one can find on the mainland itself. Ocean trenches are perhaps the most mystical ocean relief forms.
They are places below the ocean surface, where one continental plate slides down under another. The depth of these places can be impressive. In one of these depressions is measured the biggest depth of our planet.
It comes to Mariana Trench, which reaches a record depth of 11,022 meters! The biggest depth in this abyss is measured in the southern part of the trench, called „Challenger”. The place is located in the western Pacific Ocean amidst the tropical waters of Micronesia.
The trench, which is located more than 11 kilometers below the surface near the Mariana Islands is somewhat less known even by some cosmic objects like the moon and Mars.
The waters in this part of the Pacific could completely cover the highest peak on the planet – Everest, 8848 meters high, leaving it a few kilometers below the ocean surface.
The first people to reach the bottom of this dark abyss are Jacques Piccard (Switzerland) and Donald Walsh (USA). Since the deployment of such a great depth is quite risky, today are used much safer methods of studying.
There is no need scientists to descend and to put their lives in danger. Today is used modern technology and the Mariana Trench is studied by „intelligent” machines such as the submarine Kaiko, which reached the bottom of the 11 km deep trench in 1995.
The trench has a great length – approximately 2550 kilometers, but on behalf of that is very narrow – only about 70 km. Pressure at the bottom of the trench is about 1100 atmospheres and still there are forms of life that are extremely well adapted and survive in spite of all logic.
Sunlight does not reach to the bottom of the Mariana Trench and temperature is approximately 2°C all year around. Oxygen is absent and the pressure is crushing! However, there survive some simple forms of life like worms and many other.