Life

Recordings From The Deepest (Known) Valley Confirm The Ocean Is A Scary Place

The oceans cover 71 percent of the earth, yet what lies below the waves is relatively unknown. As oceanographer Paul Snelgrove famously said, “We know more about the surface of the Moon and about Mars than we do about [the deep sea floor], despite the fact that we have yet to extract a gram of food, a breath of oxygen or a drop of water from those bodies.”

You would think it would be our duty as residents of the planet to figure out what’s literally surrounding us, but the deep ocean simply isn’t as sexy as outer space. That doesn’t mean the ocean can’t have her own moments of genuine creepiness that will hopefully lead to a completely un-needed remake of The Abyss. We still have time.

NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They’re like NASA, but go down instead of up. Last year, they constructed a titanium device that could dive 7 miles below the surface to Challenger Deep, the deepest (known) valley on the sea floor. Their device would be able to withstand pressures up to 16,000 pounds per square inch and hold a hydrophone to record the never-before-heard sounds of the bottom of the (known) sea.

Chief Scientist Robert Dziak and his team discovered that the bottom of the (known) ocean is anything but peaceful:

“You would think that the deepest part of the ocean would be one of the quietest places on Earth. Yet there is almost constant noise. The ambient sound field is dominated by the sound of earthquakes, both near and far, as well as distinct moans of baleen whales, and the clamor of a category 4 typhoon that just happened to pass overhead.”

Dziak went on to tell Gizmodo:

“Light does not propagate underwater very far, but sound waves travel long distances through the Earth’s oceans. Acoustics is really the best way to get a good picture of deep ocean environments.”

Luckily, we don’t have to just take their word for it, NOAA released their findings on Soundcloud, and they’re incredible.

You can hear the propeller of a ship 7 miles above the hydrophone:

A baleen whale call is heard clearly from the (known) bottom of the ocean:

A magnitude 5 earthquake rumbles:

Needless to say, there’s plenty to explore under the ocean, and with a greater emphasis on oceanography, who knows what we can find. Unfortunately, it’s an uphill battle to get to the bottom of the sea. Ocean researcher Robert Ballard said years ago that scientists don’t have the means to explore the (unknown) ocean, with most government research dollars going to NASA:

“If you compare NASA’s annual budget to explore the heavens, that one year budget would fund NOAA’s budget to explore the oceans for 1,600 years.”

And considering NASA’s relatively small budget, you have to think that Steve Zissou probably had an easier time acquiring funding than NOAA.

(Via Gizmodo)

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