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Ocean Trenches

The Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench is the deepest known part of the Ocean.

The Challenger Deep is 10 994 metres below sea level. If Mount Everest was placed here it would be covered by one mile of sea water. The Mariana Trench is located in the western Pacific ocean, about 200 kilometres from the Mariana Islands. Deep ocean trenches lie above subduction zones.

The whole ocean is full of deep trenches formed by this subduction process. Here, part of the ocean floor bends beneath another plate of Earth's crust. The steepest wall is formed by the upper plate.

The whole ocean is full of trenches formed by the subduction process, but in the Pacific ocean the deepest trenches can be found. The second deepest ocean trench is the Tonga Trench, which can be found near Tonga and Samoa. In the Mariana Trench the subduction process not only formed this chasm but it also formed an arc of volcanic islands.

Life on the ocean floor is mesmerising. It is permanently dark, freezing cold and consists of featureless plains. Much of the ocean floor is made up of dead creatures which provide food for the specially adapted creatures which live down here. Only a small fraction of the mind-blowing creatures that live down here are known due to the depth. Some of the creatures that live down here are the rat-tailed grenadier fish and chimaeras (relatives of sharks and sometimes referred to as spookfish)

The deep ocean is a scary yet incredible world which we can only begin to imagine.

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