Mariana Trench: where is it and what is there - an amazing place!

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Due to the difficulty of exploring the ocean floor, over the years, many myths and legends were formed around the Mariana Trench. From the presence of populations of the megalodon shark, a species of extinct gigantic shark that lived during the Cenozoic (if there is evidence that they lived there but not that they currently exist) and other giant prehistoric beings, to being the habitat of mythological sea monsters ( like the Kraken). For obvious reasons, none of these fables are true, but we cannot deny the imminent curiosity aroused by this particular grave in the middle of the ocean. One of the most curious data is that only 3 manned missions reached the bottom of the trench, therefore we have been more times on the moon on the real bottom of the seabed! Amazing, right? Exploring the Moon is easier than exploring the seabed of our own planet.

Now, do you want to know more curiosities of the Mariana Trench? So stay reading these lines because from Ecologist Verde we will talk about where is the Mariana Trench and what is there in her. We will also mention the most amazing creatures of the Mariana Trench and reveal their uniqueness.

What is the Mariana Trench

The Mariana Trench is a depression on the seabed. It has a rounded shape and measures 2,550 kilometers long by 69 kilometers wide. As to how deep is the Mariana Trench, is not yet known exactly. The truth is that there were many attempts to decipher the depth and, in fact, in 1985, the crew of the British ship HMS Challenger were the first to measure the trench, reaching a depth of 8,184 meters.

Today, the deepest known point of the Mariana Trench is at 10,984 meters. Precisely this point is the deepest place on planet Earth known so far. For this reason and to honor the first ship that investigated the graves, at this point it was called Challenger Abyss.

Where is the Mariana Trench

This fascinating grave is in the Pacific Ocean, south-east of the Mariana islands, hence its name: Mariana Trench. The countries closest to the trench are Japan and China to the north, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia to the east, and Papua New Guinea to the south.

As a curious and important fact, it should be noted that far from belonging to any of these countries, the Mariana Islands together with the Mariana Trench belong to the United States, even the trench was declared a National Monument of this country.

Here you can see the mariana trench map to better know where this abyssal pit is located.

How the Mariana Trench was formed

Although it is not precisely known, experts say that the Mariana Trench formed by subduction, a process by which one plate of the earth's crust sinks under the edge of another plate. In each subduction process a subduction angle arises, which in the case of the Mariana Trench is estimated to be approximately 90 °.

We must bear in mind that the Mariana Islands, together with the Mariana Trench, are part of the Pacific Belt of Fire, which is known to concentrate some of the most important subduction zones in the world that cause great seismic and volcanic activities. It is believed that in the subduction that gave rise to the Mariana Trench, the Pacific plate subducting under the Philippine plate.

Here you can learn more about What is the Pacific Ring of Fire.

What's in the Mariana Trench

Like everything related to this extraordinary marine depression, it is not known with precision what's at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. With regard to biodiversity, it seems that the environment of the Mariana trenches is not conducive to life: extremely high pressure, low temperature and darkness that once the first meters have passed is absolute. However, many research efforts made it possible to discover that there is life in the pit and, therefore, in this section we will talk about the fauna of the Mariana Trench.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the trench can be divided into three sections:

  • First layer: it ranges from the surface to about 200 meters deep. Sunlight penetrates through this layer and coral reefs were observed as in other parts of the planet.
  • Second layer: It ranges from the end of the first layer to a depth of 600 meters. Here volcanoes were found and also animals common in other areas of the ocean with the same depth.
  • Third layer: It spans from the end of the second layer to Challenger's Abyss, being the most enigmatic part of the pit. Sea cucumbers, amphipods (small crustaceans), more than 200 species of microorganisms and xenophiophores were found there. Within the animals of the Mariana Trench, xenophiophores are the most difficult to study. They are giant unicellular organisms that by their appearance resemble sea sponges and are highly specialized to live in extreme conditions.

Finally, it should be noted that during 2022 plastic remains were found at depths never before imagined. This raises the question of how far pollution caused by human activities can go.

Below you can see more photos of the Mariana Trench. Also, now that you have learned more about the deepest part of the planet known so far, we encourage you to read this other article about the Abyssal Plains: what they are and characteristics.

Image: YouTube Euronews

If you want to read more articles similar to Mariana Trench: where is it and what is thereWe recommend that you enter our Nature Curiosities category.

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