The ocean is one of Earth’s greatest enigmas. It completely overpowers our planet, covering much more area than land, yet we seem to know less about it than Mars, a planet that is millions of miles away. Here are 10 mind-boggling ocean facts that will forever change your perspective of our planet Earth.
Corals Produce Sunscreen: On the Great Barrier Reef, scientists have discovered the production of natural sunscreen within the corals.
Treasure Trove: There is nearly 20 million tons of gold hiding in all that salt water.
It Just Keeps Going: The ocean is incredibly deep, with its deepest point being Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench at about 11,000m below sea level.
Most of Our Planet is Dark: Oceans have an average depth of 12,100 feet, and because light waves can only penetrate 330 feet of water, everything below that point is dark. Seeing as water makes up most of the planet, this means that most of Earth exists in absolute darkness all the time.
The Loudest Ocean Sound Came from an Icequake: In 1997, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) captured one of the loudest sounds ever recorded, which they named “The Bloop.” The sound was loud enough to be picked up by sensors over 3,000 miles away.
The Ocean’s Canyons Make the Grand Canyon Seem Small: Not to take anything away from the gorgeous Grand Canyon on Earth, but the Zhemchug Canyon, located in the Bering Sea, has a vertical relief of 8,520 feet —almost 2,500 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon.
The Biggest Ocean Waves are Beneath its Surface: The biggest ocean waves are not the ones that you can see from the shoreline. As physical oceanographer Kim Martini told Deep Sea News, the largest waves that occur in the ocean are called internal waves, which take place between two fluids with two different densities. As these internal waves travel—for thousands of miles—they can grow to be 650 feet tall.
Water at the Bottom of the Ocean is Incredibly Hot: In these deepest parts of the ocean, the water temperature may only be 2º to 4º Celsius, with the exception of water coming out of hydrothermal vents in the seafloor. The water released from these vents can be up to 400º Celsius (750º Fahrenheit).
These are just a few of the many fascinating facts about the ocean. There is so much more to discover and learn about this mysterious and awe-inspiring body of water.