It's actually funny when you think about it. A living species that is capable of creating technology that has left the solar system and is in interstellar space, should also know everything about its own planet. But the truth is far from it. According to reports, only about 5% of Earth’s ocean floor has been mapped. We’ve mapped Mercury for crying out loud! Yet 65% of Earth’s crust remains unmapped.
It's not that the ocean floor can’t be explored. There are a lot of reasons why the ocean floor is unmapped and oceanic exploration has remained a nascent subject. The number one reason why ocean exploration has remained insignificant is because of the emergence of space travel. The sheer excitement and hype towards space travel just undermines oceanic exploration. The Cold War era added to this hype and the Space Race just ensured that people look towards the sky and not to the abyss below them (EHEHE! Metaphors). This social conditioning has deprived oceanic exploration of having a WOW factor and prevents people from taking interest in the subject.
Since oceanic exploration can’t be privately handled due to international laws and expenses, governments are responsible for it. For example, U.S.A. has the NOAA(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). These organizations don’t get the necessary funding and they have a very tough time innovating with negligent funding.
The second reason is that ocean exploration is expensive and, if it's seriously considered, it’s expenses might even be more than space travel. Space travel is technically easier. There are set laws to it that rarely change and a satellite millions of miles away follows the same rules as a satellite just outside the atmosphere. In the ocean, nothing is consistent. The biggest danger to oceanic exploration is water itself. The atmospheric pressure increases for every 10 meters, so after a certain depth, submarines can literally get crushed. The depth also makes satellite imaging nearly impossible though new technology is being developed to counter this. The existence of living organisms, currents and underwater volcanoes change the tech requirement and the lack of funding prevents creation of new tech.
A Personal submarine
Let’s hope someone popularizes ocean exploration the same way space exploration has been popularised.
The mid - Atlantic ridge is a mid ocean ridge. The ridge lives along North South axis of the Atlantic oceans. The elevation of the ridge is about 2,350 meters and the highest point is Mount Pico.
The ridge is about 40 km crack in the ocean floor. It is formed by the movement of the continental plates (North American and Eurasian tectonic plates).
As the plates slowly separate, they leave gaps in the earth. This makes it possible for molten rocks that are beneath the earth to reach the earth surface which leads to the formation of a new part of the ocean floor and the formation of an underwater mountain system.
Abyssal plain are plains found underwater. They are large, flat areas seen between the continental rise and the mid ocean ridges. Abyssal plain is known to cover about 40% of the ocean floor. It is usually found at depth between 3000 meters and 6000 meters. Abyssal plains cover over 50% of the Earth’s surface.
Abyssal plain is created as a result of the spreading of tectonic plates and the melting of the lower oceanic crust. They are covered in sediments; the sediments are brought by ocean currents and by assortment that rain from above. It covers more area in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and less of the Pacific Ocean.
A whale fall is the carcass of a dead whale that sinks down to the floor of the sea. The massive carcass sinks to the seafloor, where it provides and serves as food for a deep sea ecosystem. There are different stages in the decomposition of a whale carcass. Scavengers consume the soft tissue. Organic fragments or detritus enrich the sediments in the sea.
The whale skeleton can support rich communities. The decay organic compound of the whale bone serves as a source of sulfides. Microbes live off of the energy released from this food web at deep sea levels.
Many organisms live under whale fall, the organisms that have been observed to live at deep whale falls include organisms like; squat lobsters, bristle worms, shrimp, osedax, crab, sea cucumber, sleeper shark, hagfish and giant isopods. These organisms first eat of the meat off the meat of the carcass.
When a whale dies in the ocean, the body sinks to the bottom and when the body come to rest at the sea floor it is referred to as whale fall. A whale fall can support an entire ecosystem for about 50 to 100 years.
According to the Guinness World Records, the deepest sunken ship that has been wreck and identified is a German blockade runner from World War II. The ship was called the SS Rio Grande. In early the ship was sunk by American ships in the South Atlantic Ocean in January 1944. The wreck rested 3.57 miles below the ocean.
The wreck ship was discovered on November 28, 1996 by the company responsible for finding it, the Blue Water Recoveries using the sonar technology and remotely operated vehicles. The depth of the wreck was 18,900 feet (3.57 miles).
Benthic zone is the ecological zone in a body of water. It is usually at the bottom of the water as the benthic zone starts at the shore and extends until it reaches the bottom of the water (ocean floor or bottom of a lake).
Organisms live in this zone and the zone also acts as a source of food for bottom feeding organisms. It is also the region closet to the sediment of a water body. Organisms found in this region are generally known as BENTHOS. Some examples are; Polychaete worms, corals, sea anemones, turbellarians, lobsters, crabs and cumaceans.
Guyots also known as seamount or table mount is a term in geology used for an isolated undersea mountain. Erosion caused by waves destroys the top of the seamount causing it to appear flat in shape. The flat top can have a diameter greater than 10km (6 miles).
It is usually about 200 meters (600 feet) below sea level. Due to the movement of the ocean floor away from the oceanic ridges, the seafloor sinks and this causes the flattened guyots to be submerged to become undersea flat topped peaks.
Guyots have been found mostly in Pacific Ocean but they are present in all the oceans except the Arctic Ocean.
Ahmed Gabar, an Egyptian diver holds the record of the deepest depth a deep sea diver has gone. Scuba organization advices recreational divers not to go below 130 feet but Ahmed went a bit deeper.
He went as deep as 1090 feet (322.35 meters) into the Red Sea off the coast of Dahab, Egypt. This broke the previous record held by a South African named Nuno Gomes 318.25m (1,044 feet) in 2005 also off the coast Dahab. It took Ahmed Gabar about 12 minutes to reach this depth and it the whole of the day to return to the surface.