You’re likely aware that oceans occupy about 72% of the planet’s surface and contain 97% of all water. So what’s lurking underneath the surface? What mysteries do the depths hide? Why can’t we just dive deeper? These and other mysteries will now be unveiled!
Here are the top 9 unusual facts about oceans.
1. Underwater volcanoes
Up to 80% of all volcanic eruptions remain unnoticed by us up above. All because these eruptions take place underwater. According to researchers’ estimates, there are around one million volcanoes on the sea bottom. Some of them are dormant, and some are quite active, spewing molten hot lava directly into the ocean. Despite the high temperature, life can still be found near such volcanoes. Researchers believe these areas contain undiscovered species of sea creatures that are invulnerable to harsh conditions, including temperatures of over 400 degrees Celsius.
2. Fish eat plastic
More than seven billion tons of plastic are poured into the world’s oceans every year. Not surprisingly, plastic has become an undesired addition to the fish’s diet. Just in the North Pacific, fish are estimated to ingest between 12,000 and 24,000 tons of plastic each year.
3. Ocean’s blue tint
One of the most distinctive features of the ocean is its boundless blue surface. The color is the result of the sun’s rays (red and orange) being absorbed by the surface of the water while the blue light waves travel further. This cool dispersion effect makes the ocean water appear increasingly blue as you dive deeper.
4. The Mariana Trench
The deepest place in the ocean is much deeper than you can imagine. Inside the Mariana Trench, there’s a zone called the Challenger Deep, which goes down to about 11 kilometers. For comparison, the entire Mount Everest (8.8 kilometers) could easily fit there.
5. Sound waves underwater
Sounds can travel much farther in the ocean, helping scientists explore even the deepest areas. They once lowered an underwater microphone (hydrophone) almost to the lowest studied point of the Mariana Trench. The researchers wanted to hear the ambiance of the deepest place on the planet. After the equipment survived the enormous pressure, the scientists recorded earthquake-like sounds from baleen whales swimming nearby and other noises.
6. Internet cable network
If you could see the miles of cable covering the ocean floor, it would look like a giant web. You didn’t think the Internet is transmitted wirelessly between continents, did you? Some of these chunky cables are covered with a protective layer to prevent sharks from damaging them.
7. Gold in the ocean
Don’t expect much if you’re hoping to find easy gold in the ocean. You can loot a sunken pirate ship if you happen to find one, but even then, you’ll never be able to collect the 20 million tons of gold estimated to be in the water. All because the gold particles are pretty much microscopic. To get one single gram of gold, you have to somehow sift through about 10^13 liters of seawater.
8. Astonishing marine fauna
The ocean’s vastness and the unimaginable water pressure seem to have limited our ability to explore the ocean. It is estimated that we have identified only a third of the possible marine life that lurks beneath the surface. Most of them are tiny organisms, but it is likely that some whales, fish, and other much nastier things have not yet been discovered.
9. The longest underwater mountain range
The Mid-Oceanic Ridge is the world’s longest mountain chain, which stretches for over 65,000 kilometers. Almost all of it is under the surface. It is said that this mountain chain has been studied less than the surface of Venus or Mars. Now that is crazy.