What really lies beneath our oceans? It’s a question that has both baffled and intrigued marine biologists for many centuries. After all, vast swathes of the sea remain unexplored, and it’s unlikely we will have discovered the contents of the entire seven seas anytime soon.
To put things into perspective, only 27% of our planet is formed of dry land. That means a staggering 73% of the Earth’s surface is covered by the sea, of which only 5% has been explored. In other words: Oceanic expeditions won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
However, our knowledge of the ocean, compared to previous generations at least, isn’t bad, but unless you’re an ocean boffin or a marine biologist, you probably haven’t come across these interesting facts that, for both good and bad reasons, will make you view the ocean in an entirely different light.
1The majority of the sea is entirely dark
If your science teacher taught you anything in school, it was probably the meaning of photosynthesis rather than the fact that light can only travel 200 meters down in the ocean. If you think about that long enough, you’ll realize that the ocean is Earth’s last remaining unknown. Pretty trippy, right? 200 meters is, after all, only the equivalent of two soccer pitches. That may seem deep, but in reality, that’s just treading the surface.
After 200 meters, everything becomes pitch black. This area is known as the Aphotic Zone, where less than 1% of sunlight penetrates. There you will find fascinating fish such as piglet squid and helmet jelly, but there are many more species yet to be discovered.
However, one man who overcame the suffocating pressure of the deep sea was the legendary film director James Cameron, who used his very own submarine to go where no man has gone before and set a new world record for venturing 35, 756 feet below sea level. He didn’t discover any new species, but it was a pretty impressive feat nonetheless.