This Illustration Shows How Deep The Ocean Is, And It's Absolutely Mindblowing

Diply 17 Aug 2018

Randall Munore, who draws the web comic xkcd, is just as fascinated by the unexplored depths of the ocean as anyone else, but he took it a step further by drawing up a map showing just how deep the oceans are.

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And the depths involved are pretty mind-boggling.

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To help viewers really grasp the depths we're looking at, Randall included some of the more familiar markers, like the Great Lakes, Death Valley, and the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

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The Edmund Fitzgerald, the Russian submarine Kursk, and the Lusitania, were all disasters, and all happened in water shallower than they were long. 

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Note where the lines are for the current free-diving and scuba diving records are: not even 500 meters down. And Randall's illustration does get into the reason we've had so little success diving deep.

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You don't have to go too far below the surface for intense pressures to start building up. 

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And seeing just how much further down the Titanic came to rest — 12,460 feet, or about 3,700 meters — makes its discovery that much more amazing.

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Even nuclear submarines, which we often think of as owning the deep, don't operate all that far down. 

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And neither do many of the animals we associate with deep dives. Sperm whales do go down an impressive depth, about 7300 feet (2225 meters). And, as Randall notes, they have been known to surface with evidence of weird things happening, but we don't actually know what else might lurk down there.

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Guys, there is so, so much more to the ocean than what sperm whales see.

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Way, way down, well beyond where the Titanic sits, we have deep sea trenches. The deepest is the Pacific Ocean's Marianas Trench, which contains the deepest known point on earth: Challenger Deep. At 6.8 miles (11 kilometers) down, it has only ever been visited by three people. One of them was Titanic director James Cameron.

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Back in 2012, James Cameron became the first person to visit Challenger Deep since the voyage of the Trieste in 1960 took Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh down. Cameron went alone. 

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It took him two and a half hours to make the journey — think of that the next time you drive seven miles.

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He didn't see any sea monsters down there, as the sperm whales might have led us to expect.

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It wasn't completely desolate, but he also said he "didn't see anything bigger than about an inch long." However, video he took of the journey showed some bigger things, like amphipods and sea cucumbers. Really, finding anything living at the incredible pressures so far down is amazing.

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For the sake of scale, Randall also included a couple of man-made holes that have gone as deep as James Cameron did.

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Deepwater Horizon's oil well sinks down to 35,000 feet (at least, it did before the explosion), the world's deepest.

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And to the right on the map is the Kola Borehole, a crazy experiment undertaken by Soviet scientists back in the '70s just to see what would happen.

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They drilled for 24 years, eventually reaching a depth of 7.5 miles, making it deeper even than Challenger Deep. Here's the cap.

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What did the Soviets discover by drilling so far down? A few neat things. For one, water, at an incredible 4.3 miles down.

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Also at that depth, some microscopic fossils. Way down at 7.5 miles, the pressure ratcheted the temperature up to a balmy 356 F (180 C), which led them to stop drilling.

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Still, it's fun to imagine what might be waiting for us in all that unexplored territory at the bottom of the ocean.

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If you want a taste, check out what Russian fisherman Roman Fedortsov has found in his nets on some deep sea trawls.

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He regularly posts his weird and creepy finds on social media.

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And you won't see anything else like it anywhere. He swears up and down that none of the pics are photoshopped.

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But if these are the kinds of things lurking in the ocean's depths, I kinda wish the pics were photoshopped.

Instagram | @rfedortsov_official_account

And maybe I'm not so curious about the unexplored ocean after all.

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