The ocean is really, really deep, deeper, in fact, than most of us realize. If you were to shave off all of the land from the top of every continent and island in the world and fill up the ocean’s deepest points with that land, then the entire earth would be covered in an ocean 2 miles deep. Three fourths of our planet is already covered in water though, and it goes a lot deeper than just two miles. The first milestone is at 40 meters below the surface, which is the maximum depth allowed for recreational scuba diving. A little further down at 93 meters is where the wreck of the Lusitania was discovered, which is interesting because the Lusitania itself is 240 meters long, which means that it sank in water shallower than it is long.
So, if the ship was standing on its stern or bow it would be sticking out of the water. Just slightly deeper than that, at 100 meters, is where diving can become seriously fatal if you’re not careful because of decompression sickness. However, that didn’t stop a man named Herbert Nitsch to accomplish the free diving world record at a depth of 214 meters. This guy swam down to this level with just one single breath. A little further down at 332 meters, we have the scuba diving world record, which was accomplished by another man named Ahmed Gabr. If he had swam down another 111 meters, then he would have reached the height of the Empire State Building if it was submerged under water.
A little further than that, at 500 meters below the surface, we arrive at the maximum dive depth of Blue Whales, the largest creatures on the planet and also, the limit of the US Seawolf Class Nuclear Submarine. At 535 meters, we can witness the maximum dive depth of Emperor Penguins. At this level below the surface, the water pressure exerted on a person or the penguins would be roughly equivalent to a polar bear standing on a quarter. So, further down the depths, at 830 meters, would be the height of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world. Once we hit 1,000 meters below the surface, we begin to enter the scary zone. Light from the surface can no longer reach beyond this point. So, the rest of the ocean below, is shrouded in permanent darkness.
On top of that, the water pressure you would experience at this point would be about the same as if you were standing on the surface of the planet Venus, meaning that you would die very quickly. You would also meet the Giant Squid at this sea level if the water pressure didn’t already kill you. At 1,280 meters, we reach the maximum depth dived to by the Leatherback Sea Turtle. Further down, at 1,828 meters, we would reach the deepest part of the Grand Canyon were it to be underwater with us. Down at 2,000 meters, we start to encounter some of the more terrifying sea creatures, like the ominously named Black Dragonsih, a carnivorous beast with a stomach that doesn’t allow light to be emitted through it.
Meaning that since we are in total darkness underwater at this point, the only way you would ever see this thing is, with a flashlight. A little further down, at 2,250 meters, we would reach the maximum depth dived to, by both Sperm Whales and the very frightening, Colossal Squid. Sperm Whales often have sucker marks and scars left on their bodies from battles with the Colossal Squid that likely take place at these incredible depths. The squids themselves, can grow to be 14 meters long and weigh up to 750 kilograms with eyes the size of a dinner plate and razor-sharp sickles in the middle of their tentacles. Way further down, at 3,800 meters, we can find the wreck of the RMS Titanic. A bit past that, at 4,000 meters, we start to enter the Abyssal Zone of the ocean. Water pressure is at an astonishing 11,000 pounds per square inch down here.
There are numerous strange, almost alien like creatures, that inhabit these depths, such as the Fing Tooth, Angler Fish, and Viper Fish. Down at 4,267 meters, is the average depth of the ocean where you would normally expect to hit the floor. However, there are parts of the ocean that go significantly deeper than even this. At 4,791 meters, rests the wreckage of the battleship Bismarck, sunk during World War II. And way down, at 6,000 meters, is the beginning of the Hadal Zone, named after the underworld Hades. The water pressure down at these depths can become 1,100 times what you would experience way back on top at the surface, which is roughly equal to an elephant balancing on a postage stamp, or a single person carrying the weight of 50 Boeing 747 jumbo jets. Down at these depths, you would be crushed immediately without any outside protection. But, life still exists down here in various strange forms.
At 6,500 meters, we reach the maximum depth that the DSV Alvin can dive to, a popular research submarine that helped to discover the Titanic. Way further down, at 8,848 meters, below the surface and we have arrived at the height of Mt. Everest, were it to be upside down and placed underwater. Then, way further past even that at 10,898 meters, we arrive at the depth reached by James Cameron in 2012 during the Deep Sea Challenger Mission. The deepest point of the ocean yet reached by humans was back in 1960 though, when two men named Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard reached a depth of 10,916 meters using their submarine. It took them five hours to descend through the ocean to this depth. They only stayed for 20 minutes before a window cracked and they began to resurface. Just a bit further down from there, at 10,972 meters, and we’ve reached the average flight altitude of a commercial airliner.
So, if you’ve ever looked out of a window while on a flight and looked down to the ground, that’s a very good sense of how incredibly deep down into the abyss that we are currently at. Finally, when we hit 10,994 meters, we have hit the bottom of the known ocean, called the Challenger Deep, just about 300 kilometers southwest of Guam Island. However, it is believed that there are almost certainly even deeper parts of the ocean than this that just haven’t been discovered yet. It wasn’t until 1997 after all, that the Sirena Deep was discovered with a depth of 10,732 meters, making it the second deepest known point in the ocean. It is estimated that only about 5% of the ocean’s floor has been accurately mapped, leaving the other 95%, to be currently a mystery. It may be only a matter of time before an even deeper part of our ocean is found. Who knows what we may discover there. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please do comment below.