Ever wondered what’s actually under the sea?
71 per cent of the Earth is ocean. Estimates by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center claim that there are 321,003,271 cubic miles of water within these vast areas.
So, what is waiting to be found throughout our oceans? Subsea technologies specialist Tracerco explores…
Communication & trade
Ships carry more than 90 per cent of all trade between countries, with close to half of all communications between nations occurring through the use of underwater cables.
Sights & depths
The Mariana Trench is the deepest known area of the Earth’s oceans. Located in the western Pacific Ocean and to the east of the Mariana Islands, the deepest point found here measures in at an estimated 11,000 metres — or 36,000 feet. The average depth of the Earth’s oceans is also 3,720 metres — or 12,200 feet.
You also need to head underwater in order to locate the Earth’s longest mountain range. Named the Mid-Oceanic Ridge, this mountain chain stretches for more than 56,000km across and covers parts of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, Earth’s highest mountain in the ocean is the Mauna Kea. Found off the coast of Hawaii, the mountain rises for 10,203 metres (33,474 feet) from the ocean floor, with 4,170 metres (13,680 feet) viewable above sea level.
The ocean plays host to Earth’s largest living structure too. This is the Great Barrier Reef — it measures around 2,600km and is so huge that it can be spotted from the Moon.
Head close to the Gulf of Mexico and you’ll also find brine pools and underwater volcanoes where mud and methane explodes instead of lava on the ocean floor. There’s also underwater hot springs found across the Earth’s oceans, where water with temperatures of 650°F shoot out — that’s hot enough to melt lead.
It should be noted though that we have only explored close to five per cent of the Earth’s oceans to date, if National Geographic research is anything to go by. That means that we have more detailed maps of Mars than we do of our planet’s ocean floor.
Hundreds of thousands of known marine life have already been discovered throughout our oceans. However, many are still to be discovered and some scientists have suggested that the actual number could go into the millions.
On top of this, there’s also an estimated 4,000 species of coral reef fish living in Earth’s oceans. That’s close to a quarter of all of the world’s marine fish species — though be aware that a millilitre of ocean water contains close to 1 million bacteria and 10 million viruses.
You won’t find as many artefacts and remnants of history in all of the world’s museums combined, as you will in the Earth’s oceans. There is almost 20 million tons of gold within the Earth’s oceans too — if all which was suspended was mined, there would be enough to give each person on the planet around 9 pounds of gold.
The floors of oceans across the globe also contain up to $60 billion in sunken treasure, while scientists predict that there could be as much as 50 quadrillion tons of dissolved solids found there too — calcium salts, magnesium salts, potassium salts and sodium salts make up the bulk of this huge figure.
It is worrying though that around 14 billion pounds of garbage are dumped into oceans around the world on an annual basis as well, with the majority harmful plastic.