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"Marianas Trench" redirects here. For the Canadian band, see Marianas Trench (band).
Coordinates: 11°21′N 142°12′E / 11.350°N 142.200°E
Location of the Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean about 200 kilometres (124 mi) east of the Mariana Islands; it is the deepest oceanic trench on Earth. It is crescent-shaped and measures about 2,550 km (1,580 mi) in length and 69 km (43 mi) in width. The maximum known depth is 10,984 metres (36,037 ft) (± 25 metres [82 ft]) (6.825 miles) at the southern end of a small slot-shaped valley in its floor known as the Challenger Deep. However, some unrepeated measurements place the deepest portion at 11,034 metres (36,201 ft). If Mount Everest were hypothetically placed into the trench at this point, its peak would still be underwater by more than two kilometres (1.2 mi).[a]
At the bottom of the trench, the water column above exerts a pressure of 1,086 bars (15,750 psi), more than 1,071 times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. At this pressure, the density of water is increased by 4.96%. The temperature at the bottom is 1 to 4 °C (34 to 39 °F).
In 2009, the Mariana Trench was established as a US National Monument. Monothalamea have been found in the trench by Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers at a record depth of 10.6 kilometres (6.6 mi) below the sea surface. Data has also suggested that microbial life forms thrive within the trench.
1 Etymology 2 Geology 3 Research history 3.1 Descents
3.2 Planned descents
4 Life 4.1 Pollution
5 Possible nuclear waste disposal site
6 See also 7 Notes 8 References 9 External links
The Mariana Trench is named after the nearby Mariana Islands, which are named Las Marianas in honor of Spanish Queen Mariana of Austria, widow of Philip IV of Spain. The islands are part of the island arc that is formed on an over-riding plate, called the Mariana Plate (also named for the islands), on the western side of the trench.
The Pacific plate is subducted beneath the Mariana Plate, creating the Mariana trench, and (further on) the arc of the Mariana Islands, as water trapped in the plate is released and explodes upward to form island volcanoes and earthquakes.
The Mariana Trench is part of the Izu–Bonin–Mariana subduction system that forms the boundary between two tectonic plates. In this system, the western edge of one plate, the Pacific Plate, is subducted (i.e., thrust) beneath the smaller Mariana Plate that lies to the west. Crustal material at the western edge of the Pacific Plate is some of the oldest oceanic crust on Earth (up to 170 million years old), and is, therefore, cooler and denser; hence its great height difference relative to the higher-riding (and younger) Mariana Plate. The deepest area at the plate boundary is the Mariana Trench proper.
The movement of the Pacific and Mariana plates is also indirectly responsible for the formation of the Mariana Islands. These volcanic islands are caused by flux melting of the upper mantle due to the release of water that is trapped in minerals of the subducted portion of the Pacific Plate.
Ocean trenches in the western Pacific
See also: Challenger Deep
The trench was first sounded during the expedition in 1875, using a weighted rope, which recorded a depth of 4,475 fathoms (8,184 metres; 26,850 feet). In 1877, a map was published called ("Depth map of the Great Ocean") by Petermann, which showed a ("Challenger deep") at the location of that sounding. In 1899, USS , a converted collier, recorded a depth of 5,269 fathoms (9,636 metres; 31,614 feet).
In 1951, surveyed the trench using echo sounding, a much more precise and vastly easier way to measure depth than the sounding equipment and drag lines used in the original expedition. During this survey, the deepest part of the trench was recorded when the measured a depth of 5,960 fathoms (10,900 metres; 35,760 feet) at
11°19′N 142°15′E / 11.317°N 142.250°E, known as the Challenger Deep.
In 1957, the Soviet vessel reported a depth of 11,034 metres (36,201 ft) at a location dubbed the .
In 1962, the surface ship M.V. recorded a maximum depth of 10,915 metres (35,810 ft) using precision depth gauges.
In 1984, the Japanese survey vessel (拓洋) collected data from the Mariana Trench using a narrow, multi-beam echo sounder; it reported a maximum depth of 10,924 metres (35,840 ft), also reported as 10,920 metres (35,830 ft) ±10 m (33 ft). Remotely Operated Vehicle reached the deepest area of the Mariana Trench and made the deepest diving record of 10,911 metres (35,797 ft) on 24 March 1995.
During surveys carried out between 1997 and 2001, a spot was found along the Mariana Trench that had depth similar to the Challenger Deep, possibly even deeper. It was discovered while scientists from the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology were completing a survey around Guam; they used a sonar mapping system towed behind the research ship to conduct the survey. This new spot was named the HMRG (Hawaii Mapping Research Group) Deep, after the group of scientists who discovered it.
The five deeps: The location and depth of the deepest place in each of the world's oceans
The exact location and depth of the deepest places in each of the world's oceans is surprisingly unresolved or at best ambiguous. Out of date, erroneo…
Volume 197, October 2019, 102896
The five deeps: The location and depth of the deepest place in each of the world's oceans
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Heather A.StewartaAlan J.Jamiesonb
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Under a Creative Commons license
The location and depth of the deepest place in each ocean is unresolved as eroneous or misleading data perpetuates.
For clarification, we review and assess best resolution bathymetric datasets currently available from public repositories.
The deepest place in each ocean is presented with caveats and recommendations for nomenclature and feature definition.
The exact location and depth of the deepest places in each of the world's oceans is surprisingly unresolved or at best ambiguous. Out of date, erroneous, misleading, or non-existent data on these locations have propagated uncorrected through online sources and the scientific literature. For clarification, this study reviews and assesses the best resolution bathymetric datasets currently available from public repositories. The deepest place in each ocean are the Molloy Hole in the Fram Strait (Arctic Ocean; 5669 m, 79.137° N/2.817° E), the trench axis of the Puerto Rico Trench (Atlantic Ocean; 8408 m 19.613° N/67.847° W), an unnamed deep in the Java Trench (Indian Ocean; 7290 m, 11.20° S/118.47° E), Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench (Pacific Ocean; 10,925 m, 11.332° N/142.202° E) and an unnamed deep in the South Sandwich Trench (Southern Ocean; 7385 m, 60.33° S/25.28° W). However, discussed are caveats to these locations that range from the published coordinates for a number of named deeps that require correction, some deeps that should fall into abeyance, deeps that are currently unnamed and the problems surrounding variable and low-resolution bathymetric data. Recommendations on the above and the nomenclature and definition of deeps as undersea features are provided.Previous articleNext article
BathymetryDeepest placesHadal zoneOceanic trenches, five oceans
Much of the world's ocean, in particular the open ocean, deep-sea and polar regions are profoundly inaccessible. Their great depths, remoteness and immense size also renders exploration and the mapping of undersea features an ongoing laborious process and as such only a small fraction has been bathymetrically mapped (Weatherall et al., 2015; Mayer et al., 2018). Yet humankind has always had great enthusiasm for not only discovering new territories and features but naming them in pursuit of cultural ownership and in order to establish their place within the known landscape. Therefore, in addition to the political and economic advantages associated with exploration, there is an underlying curiosity-driven, subjective appreciation of the Earths landscape. Furthermore, within sometimes arbitrary topographical categories, humans are intrinsically drawn to those at the ends of any given extreme. Fascination and inspiration is habitually drawn from the highest mountain, the longest river, the biggest ocean, the deepest trench, amongst many others at national, intercontinental or global levels. These world-record places are part of the heritage of humankind and not only tell us a lot about the planet in which we inhabit but provide the platform for awe and wonder.
Through relative ease of accessibility there is a far greater body of knowledge about the terrestrial landscape than that of our undersea landscapes, and indeed, the oceans are still often referred to as the last frontier on Earth. Yet looking at any large scale map of the seafloor, our knowledge regarding depth and morphology appears complete. However, much of the water depth information is derived from satellite altimetry rather than acoustic surveys (Smith and Sandwell, 1997; Becker et al., 2009) and as such there are dramatic variations in the resolution of our mapping of the seafloor. This variation is not only born from the difference in ever-evolving technological capability but the collation of information spanning very long timescales. The immense area occupied by the ocean makes a complete high resolution up-to-date map a long way off, but within the current body of marine geomorphological mapping it would be reasonable to assume we have as much of an understanding of where the deepest places are as we do the highest mountains, however, this has not been the case.
Satellite altimetry-derived global bathymetry datasets have represented a significant advancement in large-scale ocean mapping (Harris et al., 2014), yet only provide a generalised view of the shape of the seafloor (Smith and Sandwell, 1997; Becker et al., 2009), as they do not provide sufficient resolution to perform robust geomorphometric analyses (Lecours et al., 2016). They provide general estimates of water depths and coarsely fills gaps between sparse ship soundings (Smith and Sandwell, 1997; Becker et al., 2009), but it is, however, less precise than single-beam echosounder-derived data and has far less resolution than multibeam echosounder systems.
A recent study (Mayer et al., 2018) reviewed the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO_2014; www.gebco.net) global compilations of bathymetric data and concluded that despite the appearance of complete global coverage of ocean depths, these datasets are deceptive as modern interpolation and visualization techniques produce apparently complete representations of ocean depth from apparently sparse data points. When the GEBCO_2014 dataset is interrogated and divided into its resolution of 30 arc-second grid cells (926 m at the equator), approximately 82% of the grid cells do not include a single depth measurement (Weatherall et al., 2015), in other words, the percentage of the seafloor that has been constrained by measured data or pre-prepared grids that may contain some interpolated values is <18% (Weatherall et al., 2015; Mayer et al., 2018).
The Mariana Trench: Earth's Deepest Place
Students locate the Mariana Trench on a map, discuss who has jurisdiction over it, and identify the challenges of exploring the deepest place on Earth.RESOURCE LIBRARY
ACTIVITY : 20 MINS
The Mariana Trench: Earth's Deepest Place
Students locate the Mariana Trench on a map, discuss who has jurisdiction over it, and identify the challenges of exploring the deepest place on Earth.
GRADES 6 - 8 SUBJECTS
Earth Science, Geography, Physical Geography
CONTENTS 1 Video, 2 Links IMAGE
A diver swims by Jarvis Coral in the Mariana Islands, Guam.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
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NG MapMaker Interactive: Northern Mariana Islands—World
NOAA: Ocean Explorer1. Build background on the deepest place on Earth.
Have a whole-class discussion. Ask:
What is the highest point in the world and where is it located? (Mount Everest at approximately 8,850 meters, or 29,035 feet; located on the borders of Nepal and China)
What is the deepest location on Earth and where is it located?
Elicit student responses. Then explain to students that the Mariana Trench is the deepest part of the ocean and the deepest location on Earth. It is 11,034 meters (36,201 feet) deep, which is almost 7 miles. Tell students that if you placed Mount Everest at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the peak would still be 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) below sea level. Show students NOAA’s Mariana Trench animation. Tell them that the animation reflects actual digital bathymetric data, which is measurement data of water depth.2. Have students locate the Mariana Trench on a map.
Show students the NG Education interactive map and invite a volunteer to pinpoint the location of the Mariana Trench, which is just to the east of the Mariana Islands. Ask: The Trench is in what ocean? (the Pacific Ocean) Have students note the nearest bodies of land—Guam and the Mariana Islands. Tell students that the Trench is 2,500 kilometers (1,554 miles) long and 70 kilometers (44 miles) wide.3. Discuss who has jurisdiction over the Mariana Trench.
Review the concept of jurisdiction. Tell students that jurisdiction is the power or right to exercise authority. Have students look at the location of the Trench again. Ask: Who do you think has jurisdiction over, and therefore responsibility for, the resources of the Mariana Trench? Explain to students that according to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) a country has the rights to all living and non-living resources up to 200 nautical miles from its coastline. To help students understand this distance in terms they recognize, have them convert the nautical miles to standard miles by multiplying nautical miles by 1.15 to get an answer of 230 standard miles. Point out that Guam is a territory of the U.S. and the Mariana Islands are a commonwealth of the U.S., so the U.S. has jurisdiction.4. Have students identify how researchers can access the Trench.
Ask students to share their ideas about how researchers might access an area this deep. Go to NOAA’s Ocean Explorer website and explore the technology and photos as a class. Ask students to identify the challenges of exploring the deepest location on Earth. Students’ responses should include darkness, cold, and crushing pressures.
Subjects & Disciplines
Earth Science Geography Physical Geography
locate the Mariana Trench on a map
identify the depth, length, and width of the Trench
identify the country that has jurisdiction over the Mariana Trench
Discussions Reading Visual instruction
This activity targets the following skills:
Critical Thinking Skills
Understanding Geographic Skills
Acquiring Geographic Information
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
National Geography Standards
Standard 16: The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources
National Science Education Standards
(5-8) Standard D-1: Structure of the earth system
What You’ll Need
Internet Access: Required
Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector, Speakers
The Mariana Trench, in the Pacific Ocean, is the deepest location on Earth. According to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the United States has jurisdiction over the trench and its resources. Scientists use a variety of technologies to overcome the challenges of deep-sea exploration and explore the Trench.
Recommended Prior Activities
Protecting the Mariana Trench
Resources in the Deep Sea
information on the depth of the ocean, lakes, or other bodies of water.exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
zone extending 200 nautical miles off a country's coast. A country has the right to explore and exploit the living and nonliving things in its EEZ.