By John Hannen, Guest Columnist
We are aware that 71% of the Earth is covered by oceans. Estimates by NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center claim that there is 321,003,271 cubic miles of water within these vast areas.
With oceans covering most of our planet, what can be found under them? Tracerco, specialists in subsea technologies, aim to find out.
We love marine life and there’s plenty that we know of – but according to scientists, there could be millions more which are deep down that are yet to be still discovered. There are also around 4,000 species of coral reef fish found across the globe — 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.
Beautiful views in the deep blue
The deepest part of the ocean is known as the Mariana Trench. 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.
Surprisingly, the longest mountain on the planet is found in the ocean. 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 Great Barrier Reef is the world’s longest living structure too — it measures around 2,600km and is so huge that it can be spotted from the moon.
Laying on the ocean bed near the Gulf of Mexico, active underwater volcanoes can be found which explode mud instead of lava. 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.
According to National Geographic, we have so far only explored around five per cent of the Earth’s oceans to date — that means that we have more detailed maps of Mars than we do of our planet’s ocean floor. Research from the National Geographic organisation said that we have only explored 5% of the ocean, leading us to make the comparison that we know more about planet Mars that we do about our waters.
The ocean contains more artefacts and remnants of history than all of the world’s museums combined. 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.
Apparently, $60 billion worth of sunken treasure is spread across the ocean floor.
From calcium to potassium salts, scientists have predicted that there are over 50 quadrillion tonnes of dissolved solids across the entire ocean, from sinking ships to aeroplanes.
Every year sees an estimated 14 billion pounds of garbage dumped into the world’s oceans though, with most of this being harmful plastic.
Using the ocean to build international relationships
As the building of international relationships is vital for survival, over 90% of trade between nations is carried out by ships. Communications are also assisted by subsea technology cables!