By spending our time gazing at the stars, we can sometimes forget to look down, and think about what is under the waves. The expanse and depths of the oceans and some of our largest lakes can in fact often escape our notice. However, submarine depths count for 95% of our planet’s living space, and huge parts of these areas are as of yet unexplored.
In order to put the depths of our oceans and lakes into perspective, the website Xkcd.com have created the infographic below (click on the image to enlarge it). As you can see, the majority of the ocean never sees sunlight. We start with the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, an American ship that once sailed the Great Lakes of North America. This is now lying 160 meters deep in Lake Superior. Loch Ness, a fresh water lake in the Scottish Highlands, extends down 227 meters deep. But it is small fry compared to Crater Lake (in the US), at 593 meters deep, or Lake Baïkal (in Siberia), at 1,642 meters deep.
Burj Khalifa, the highest tower in the world, pales into insignificance at only 828 meters high. You can almost fit two of them on top of each other into Lake Baïkal. This is followed by the Titanic, whose wreck lies 3,800 meters deep in the Atlantic. If the ship had sunk a few kilometers to the south, it would now be at a depth between 5,000 and 6,000 meters. Next, we move on to the Porto Rico Trench, situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean off the island of Porto Rico. It was formed 70 million years ago. With an average depth of 8,400 meters, its deepest part is the Milwaukee Trench (8,605 meters deep). And finally the Mariana Trench, the deepest known ocean trench and the deepest area on the Earth’s crust, at 10,994 meters deep.
The creator, James Cameron, visited the Mariana Trench in 2012, the deepest place on Earth, in a small self-funded submarine vessel. He was only the second ever person to visit this area in the ocean. He found no sea monsters, but described the experience as being “out of this world”.