Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world at roughly 830 meters tall. Stack about 13 of those on top of each other in order to assume how deep the deepest point of the world’s ocean is. Even Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, falls short by 2146 meters. At a remarkable depth of 10,994 meters the Mariana Trench is located to the east of Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean.
Up to date only three men have possessed the nerves of steel required to descend to the bottom of the crescent shaped trench. The deepest part of the trench is cleverly named Challenger deep after HMS Challenger II, the vessel used to explore and measure the trench. The first two men to descend was Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard and the latest explorer that descended to the trench solo (in the even more cleverly named submersible Deep Sea Challenger) was none other than James Cameron. More famously known for directing Titanic and Avatar than for his underwater adventures.
As much as we had hoped for the confirmed existence of the Kraken or Cthulhu, the deepest point in the seabed is a dark and unforgiving environment, where organisms we can deem as super heroes exist. From a mud sample, taken from the Challenger Deep, oceanographers have discovered as many as 200 different microorganisms living in the region. Two-inch long amphipods or shrimp-like crustaceans have also been found thriving in abundance at the bottom along with transparent sea cucumbers and surprisingly, clams with extremely robust shells. We can also find giant amoeba that measure 10 cm in length with a high resistance to elements and chemicals, such as, mercury, uranium and lead that would poison most other animals.
The pressure at Mariana Trench is 1000 times that of the sea level’s atmospheric pressure. This causes corpses of plants and animals, animal skeletons, and shells that sink to the bottom to be ground up into a thick greyish-yellow sludge that collects at the bottom of the trench. The temperature is about 1 °C to 4 °C and as if all this wasn’t impressive enough you’ll also find bubbling liquid carbon dioxide vents, hydrothermal vents shooting water as hot as 450 °C, a lake of pure molten sulfur courtesy of an underwater volcano called Daikoku, and even bridges that join the Pacific and Philippine tectonic plates.
According to the findings of a research, the trench is regarded as one of the world’s oldest seabeds at about 180 million years old.