Where the sunlight has never reached. Somewhere icy water and boiling springs. Pressure for a human’s bones to be broken right now. 11 thousand meters below the surface of the water lies a world that has contained many puzzles and sensational scenes. What is compared to the lunar surface and where scientists look for life like other planets – this is the story of the deepest point of the Mariana Trench in the world.
One of the most dangerous places in the world
The depth of the Mariana Trench makes it one of the most dangerous places on the planet. The sunlight does not reach here and the sheet of darkness still remains. A freezing temperature of zero degrees Celsius on it. Most terrible is the pressure of the water, which can break human bones in an instant. There is 8 tons of pressure on every square inch, which increases even more with depth. This water pressure affects the human body in such a way that any part where the air is full, it is not left. Slowly the lungs sag and the bones break.
The Mariana Trench is the outermost surface of the earth, the deepest place in the crust. How deep it is, it can be measured from the fact that even if Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is placed at the deepest point of the trench, its top will remain 7 thousand feet below sea level. Dr Ram Karan told the Navbharat Times Online during a conversation about making the trenches. He explained: “The Mariana Trench is formed by the collision of two tectonic plates – Pacific and Mariana. In this, one plate was buried under the other, due to which the old and dense crust sagged into the mantle below the surface.
No one believed what he showed in the depths of hell
Oceanographer Jack Peka and Lieutenant Don Walsh intervened for the first time in this unknown world of deep water. On January 23, 1960, glancing out the window of a submersible named Trieste, the two witnessed such scenes that no one had seen before. The biggest question in the minds of the desperate world to know their experience was whether there is a possibility of life under such depth, cold water and terrible pressure? After reaching the surface in four hours and 47 minutes, due to the commotion in the sand, the two were unable to take any photos but what their eyes saw was a long debate.
Jack saw a flatfish through the window. He immediately told Walsh. Walsh saw this fish as well, then the sand from below came to his window. However, marine biologists claimed that it was impossible for the fish to be under such pressure and that what Peka and Jacques saw would have been different, but these senior US Navy officials made it clear that until what scientists prove to them otherwise. They still believe that what they saw was fish. Even after this mission, the question remained whether life was possible in the Mariana Trench.
… is life therefore possible here?
Dr Ram Karan explains that there isn’t a lot of information about life in the Mariana Trench, but life is definitely flourishing. He explains, “An astonishing number of organisms are found right here under conditions such as light, acid, temperature and pressure. More than 200 microorganisms, including crustaceans and xipods, including C. cucumber, octopus and fish are present here. In 2014, snails found near Guam at a depth of 8,000 meters were discovered. In the photographs taken by James Cameron, marine life could be seen even in the deepest depths. Scientists are researching these to find out how life is possible here.
How does life flourish even under these circumstances?
It is believed that due to the pressure, calcium, which makes bones, cannot exist. The lives of boneless fish also remained in question. However, Dr Ram Karan points out that nature has been amazing to science and the evidence for the discovery of snail fish in Mariana is proof of this. They reported: “Fish living near the surface have a swimming bladder in which the air is full. With this help, they do it backwards, but the fish living in the depths do not have airbags. The pressure therefore does not affect them. Not only that, the organisms found here have a greater reliance on cartilage in addition to bones. Their skulls also have space to reduce the risk of breakage. The biggest change is at the genetic level. Regardless of the process, proteins in their bodies can change their structure with stability, so the genes that make up TMAO (trimethylamine oxide) are more likely to be copied in the snail. To live in ice water, these organisms have fat that does not freeze. Apart from that, even after being dark, some creatures rely on keen eyes, while others seek the help of touch and vibration. Some produce their own light, so the prey is captured and protected from hunting. The lack of food without sunlight depends on the remains of dead organisms from above, pieces of wood.
Why are scientists engaged in research here?
Dr Ram Karan explains that by revealing the secrets hidden in any trench, products like medicines, food, energy sources can be found, preparations can be made to avoid disasters like tremors. earth and tsunamis. The biggest question that can be answered here is the change in Earth’s environment. The science of organisms living under such deep water, darkness, pressure and temperature can tell us how evolution happened in them. Researchers have discovered microorganisms living in deep water that can be used for antibiotics and cancer drugs. In such a situation, from diabetes treatment to laundry needs, it can be met here.
The result of human mischief, plastic in the trough
According to a research article published in Nature Ecology and Evaluation, the level of pollution in the Mariana Trench has been found to be higher than in neighboring areas where there is heavy industrialization. This indicates that pollution from human activities continues to accumulate until depth reaches (bioaccumulation) and is now found even in the deepest places of the world. Its effect is also visible. Many items like plastic utensils, boxes, bags were found in Mariana. According to a report published in the British journal The Royal Society Journal, amphipods in the Mariana Trench have been found in organisms ranging from plastic bottles to our clothes. These microplastics usually reach water from Asian industries such as China and Japan. Apart from that, Dr Ram Karan explains that the earthquake at the bottom of the sea can reach the elements found above. He says: “The discovery of pollutants here at this level opens the truth about the destructive effects of humans on earth.”
What is the risk of “poison” killing fish?
A report from the University of Michigan said the dead fish carried mercury into the trench. The presence of mercury in the sea shows very dangerous signs. It is a neurotoxin that affects the brain. According to research, this poison from coal-fired power stations, cement factories, incinerators, mines and other such factories reaches the sea through rivers through rain and dust. Microbes also convert it to the more toxic methylmercury. It can pose a huge threat to the nervous system, immune system and digestive system of humans and wildlife through fish and other seafood. Dr Ram Karan says India and other countries South Asia should limit mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.
How did humans get to the depth of the broken bones?
In 2012, famous Hollywood director James Cameron set a unique world record by touching a depth of 10,989 meters inside a submersible. In 2020, former NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan became the first woman to touch the Challenger Deep. Kathy was also the first American woman to walk in space. The Mariana Trench is now in the United States Protected Area under the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. Research clearance at Sirena Deep is obtained from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and research clearance at Challenger Deep in the Federated States of Micronesia. Personally, it is also difficult for anyone to descend 100 feet. Scientists use human-occupied vehicles (HOVs) to get to the Challenger Deep. (All photos: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Meet NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan touching the deepest point on Earth
Meet NASA astronaut Kathy Sullivan touching the deepest point on Earth