Mariana Trench (Mariana Trench) Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench, or Mariana Trench, is an oceanic trench in the west of the Pacific Ocean, which is the deepest geographic object known on Earth. The depression stretches along the Mariana Islands for 1,500 km; it has a V-shaped profile, steep (7–9 °) slopes, a flat bottom 1–5 km wide, which is divided by thresholds into several closed depressions. At the bottom, the water pressure reaches 108.6 MPa, which is more than 1100 times higher than normal atmospheric pressure at sea level. The hollow is located at the junction of two tectonic plates, in the zone of movement along the faults, where the Pacific plate goes under the Philippine plate.
Studies of the Mariana Trench were carried out by the English expedition of the Challenger vessel, which carried out the first systematic measurements of the depths of the Pacific Ocean. This military three-masted corvette with sailing equipment was rebuilt into an oceanographic vessel for hydrological, geological, chemical, biological and meteorological work in 1872. Soviet researchers also made a significant contribution to the study of the Mariana deep-water trench. In 1958, the expedition on the Vityaz established the existence of life at depths of more than 7000 m, thereby refuting the then-prevailing idea of the impossibility of life at depths of more than 6000-7000 m. In 1960, the Trieste bathyscaphe was sunk to the bottom Mariana Trench to a depth of 10915 m.
The device registering sounds began to transmit noise to the surface, reminiscent of the grinding of saw teeth on metal. At the same time, obscure shadows appeared on the TV monitor, similar to giant fairy dragons. These creatures had several heads and tails. An hour later, scientists at the Glomar Challenger US research vessel were worried that the unique equipment made of beams of heavy-duty titanium-cobalt steel in the NASA laboratory, having a spherical structure, the so-called “hedgehog” with a diameter of about 9 m, could remain in the abyss forever. It was decided to pick it up immediately. "Hedgehog" was removed from the depths of more than eight hours. As soon as he appeared on the surface, he was immediately laid on a special raft. A television camera and an echo sounder were lifted onto the Glomar Challenger deck. It turned out that the strongest steel beams of the structure were deformed, and the steel 20-centimeter cable on which it was lowered was half sawn. Who tried to leave the "hedgehog" deep down and why - an absolute mystery. Details of this interesting experiment conducted by American oceanologists in the Mariana Trench were published in 1996 by the New York Times (USA).
This is not the only case of a collision with an inexplicable in the depths of the Mariana Trench. Something similar happened with the German research apparatus Highfish with a crew on board. Once at a depth of 7 km, the device suddenly refused to surface. Finding out the cause of the malfunction, the hydronauts turned on the infrared camera. What they saw in the next few seconds seemed to them a collective hallucination: a huge prehistoric pangolin, after biting its teeth into the bathyscaphe, tried to crack it like a nut. Recollecting himself, the crew activated a device called the "electric gun." The monster, struck by a powerful discharge, disappeared into the abyss.
The inexplicable and incomprehensible has always attracted people, so scientists all over the world so want to answer the question: "What is hidden in its depths of the Mariana Trench?"
Can living organisms dwell at such a huge depth, and how should they look, given the fact that they are pressed by huge masses of ocean water, the pressure of which exceeds 1100 atmospheres? The difficulties associated with the study and comprehension of creatures living at these unimaginable depths are enough, but human ingenuity knows no bounds. For a long time, oceanologists considered the hypothesis insanity that life could exist at depths of more than 6,000 m in impenetrable darkness, under monstrous pressure and at temperatures close to zero. However, the results of research by scientists in the Pacific Ocean showed that in these depths, well below the 6,000-meter mark, there are huge colonies of living organisms pogonophors ((ogonophora; from the Greek. Pogon - beard and phoros - bearing), a type of marine invertebrate animal living in long chitin tubes open at both ends). Recently, manned and automatic, made from heavy-duty materials, underwater vehicles equipped with video cameras have opened the veil of secrecy. As a result, a rich community of animals was discovered, consisting of both well-known and less familiar marine groups.
Thus, at depths of 6,000 - 11,000 km, the following were discovered: - barophilic bacteria (developing only at high pressure), - of the simplest ones - foraminifera (a group of protozoa of the root class with a cytoplasmic body wearing a shell) and xenophiophores (barophilic bacteria of protozoa); - from multicellular organisms, polychaete worms, isopods, amphipods, holothurians, bivalves and gastropods.
There is no sunlight at the depths, no algae, constant salinity, low temperatures, abundance of carbon dioxide, enormous hydrostatic pressure (increases by 1 atmosphere for every 10 meters). What do the inhabitants of the abyss eat? Food sources of deep animals - bacteria, as well as rain of “corpses” and organic detritus coming from above; deep animals or blind, or with very developed eyes, often telescopic; many fish and cephalopods with photofluorides; in other forms, the surface of the body or its parts glows. Therefore, the appearance of these animals is just as terrible and incredible as the conditions in which they live. Among them are the frightening-looking worms 1.5 meters long, without a mouth and anus, mutant octopuses, unusual starfish and some soft-bodied creatures of two meters in length, which have not yet been identified at all.
So, man could never resist the desire to explore the unknown, and the rapidly developing world of technological progress allows us to penetrate deeper and deeper into the secret world of the most inhospitable and rebellious environment in the world - the World Ocean. There will be enough subjects for research in the Mariana Trench for many more years, given that the most inaccessible and mysterious point of our planet, unlike Everest (altitude 8848 m above sea level), was conquered only once. So, on January 23, 1960, US naval officer Don Walsh and Swiss explorer Jacques Picard, protected by armored 12-cm-thick walls of the bathyscaphe called Trieste, managed to descend to a depth of 10915 meters. Despite the fact that scientists have taken a huge step in the research of the Mariana Trench, questions have not diminished, new riddles have appeared that have yet to be solved. And the ocean abyss is able to keep its secrets. Will people be able to reveal them in the near future?