While areas like the Mariana Trench may not be preserved in a human sense, they remain inaccessible by ordinary means and are subjects of numerous theories.
The ocean’s blue depths form one of the largest and perhaps least understood frontiers of our world. This fascinating and mysterious underwater realm covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface, yet 80% of it remains largely unexplored.
Submarine mountains, deep-sea trenches, thermal springs, and biologically rich coral reefs present numerous mysteries waiting to be discovered.
One such mystery is the renowned Mariana Trench…
The Mariana Trench: Earth’s Deepest Point
The Mariana Trench, located in the Pacific Ocean, is the world’s deepest ocean trench. Its structure significantly differs from surrounding water depths, sharply sloping between the sea floor and the western ocean basin.
Key facts about the Mariana Trench include:
- Location: Near the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean, this trench is part of an island chain known for including Guam.
- Depth: Known as the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the Mariana Trench is approximately 10,994 meters (36,070 feet) deep, about 2.2 times the height of Mount Everest, making it the world’s deepest ocean trench.
- Discovery: First discovered on January 23, 1875, by HMS Challenger, this expedition conducted the deepest marine measurements of its time, identifying the trench’s depth.
- Limited Life Presence: The trench’s deepest regions offer a challenging environment for life due to extreme pressure, cold, and lack of light. However, unique organisms, like the amphipod crustacean, have been found even in these depths, such as in the Challenger Deep.
The Mariana Trench serves as a significant region for submarine research and deep-sea exploration. Factors like oxygen levels and pressure, significantly different from other marine areas, make it an important laboratory for environmental studies and a better understanding of the oceans.
As the world’s deepest point, the Mariana Trench has sparked numerous speculations and theories. These often involve hypothetical life forms or unusual natural events yet to be discovered in its depths.
- UFO or Ancient Civilization Theory: Some suggest that remnants of an ancient civilization or even alien technology might be found in the depths of the Mariana Trench.
- Secret Government Activities Theory: Others propose that the trench could be an ideal hiding place for secret submarine operations or underwater facilities by governments or private organizations.
- Mysterious Marine Creatures Theory: Due to its extreme depth and harsh conditions, some theorize that the trench could house previously unseen or undiscovered giant marine creatures.
Scientists view the depths of the oceans, similar to deep space explorations, as the ‘final frontiers’ of Earth. In the depths of the oceans, like the Mariana Trench, we may encounter yet unknown species, geological structures, and potentially new forms of life.
What creatures are rumored to live in the Mariana Trench? Let’s first discuss those whose existence has been observed and recorded, and then delve into claims including eyewitness accounts.
Historic Descents into the Mariana Trench
The first successful descent into the Mariana Trench occurred on January 23, 1960. Swiss ocean engineer Jacques Piccard and American Don Walsh reached the Challenger Deep, the trench’s deepest point, in the Trieste bathyscaphe.
This historic journey, reaching a depth of about 11 kilometers (7 miles), marked the deepest point ever reached by humans.
Notably, James Cameron, famed director of movies like Titanic and Avatar and an ocean explorer, made a dive into the Mariana Trench on March 26, 2012.
This was the first solo dive to such depths, and Cameron used the specially designed submarine Deepsea Challenger for this journey.
Deepsea Challenger’s Remarkable Features
The Deepsea Challenger was designed to withstand the harsh conditions of about 11 kilometers (approximately 7 miles) deep, where the water pressure is about a thousand times greater than at sea level. The submarine was reinforced to withstand this pressure, and a special pilot chamber was designed to protect Cameron.
During his dive, Cameron reached the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench, spending about 3 hours there and capturing photos and videos of the ocean floor.
However, Cameron found very few signs of life at this depth, observing some small amphipods and other microorganisms but no larger sea animals.
This dive provided valuable insights into the Mariana Trench and enabled Cameron to produce a documentary about his deep-sea explorations. However, it also highlighted how little is known about the world’s deepest point. Post-dive, Cameron stated that, based on his observations, there were no avatar-like creatures in the trench, but it still needed more detailed exploration.
Cameron described his experience as akin to landing on the moon, saying, “It was like a moon landing. I never took my eyes off the outside, but beyond amphipods, I didn’t see any other life.”
Contrasting Observations: Kathy Sullivan’s Findings
In contrast to Cameron, Kathy Sullivan, who is notable for being the first person to travel both to space and the ocean’s deepest point, reported signs of life during her exploration in 2020.
Speaking with the Marine Technology Society, Sullivan described the ocean floor as: “The bottom was a pale skin tone color, covered with a thin layer of silt, but numerous small protrusions and indentations were noticeable. This suggests a lot of life, digging and foraging for food.” Recorded inhabitants of the Mariana Trench include:
- Anglerfish or Lanternfish: These deep-sea fish have a toothy jaw and a light-emitting organ, like a lantern, which they use to attract prey and for mating purposes.
- Sea Sponges: Living on the ocean bed, these organisms filter-feed and can be found even in the ocean’s deepest regions.
- Snails and Sea Butterflies: These mollusks form a symbiotic relationship with sulfur-eating bacteria found on the ocean floor.
- Vampyroteuthis infernalis: Known as the “Vampire Squid from Hell,” this creature resembles a mix between a squid and an octopus.
- Goblin Shark: These deep-sea creatures usually dwell between 250 and 1,300 meters, but some can reach depths beyond 1,300 meters, up to 2,743 meters. Found in temperate and tropical oceans worldwide, they are rarely seen and not well-studied.
- Fringed Shark: This species lives in the deep waters of the great oceans, often along continental shelves and submarine slopes. They are among the less known inhabitants of the world’s oceans, with ongoing research to learn more.
- Dumbo Octopuses: Found worldwide in various oceans, they often live in deep waters and can descend to depths of 3,000-4,000 meters, making them some of the deepest-dwelling sea creatures. Named for their large, ear-like fins that resemble the ears of Disney’s famous character Dumbo, these “ears” are actually fins that help the octopus swim.
- Barreleye Fish: Typically found at depths of 600-800 meters in the Pacific Ocean, these fish have large eyes and light-gathering abilities, crucial in the low-light conditions of deep waters. Their eyes are usually positioned to look upwards, aiding in observing overhead activities and capturing surface light to detect prey.
But these are just the recorded species.
What other types of creatures are believed to live in the Mariana Trench?
Due to the largely unexplored nature of the Mariana Trench’s depths, scientists speculate that unknown species may be found there. Some claim that massive and unknown marine creatures could inhabit the Mariana Trench.
- Megalodon: A massive shark species that lived approximately 3.6 to 23 million years ago. Known for its size and power, the Megalodon was likely one of the most formidable predators in the seas. Its extinction, around 3.6 million years ago, is thought to be due to climate changes, dwindling food sources, and competition. However, some believe that Megalodons could still exist in the unexplored depths of the oceans.
- Giant Squid: Many still believe that giant squids lurk in the depths of the oceans. These massive sea creatures have been the subject of numerous myths and legends and featured in stories by ancient sailors and pirates. Contrary to popular belief, their size could reach up to 30 meters, posing a threat even to boats.
To date, we haven’t encountered these giant creatures, but some believe, like the Megalodons, they hide in the unexplored, dark regions of the oceans.
This idea, while frightening and fantastic, is something adventurers hope to prove true. After all, the deepest parts of the oceans, like the Mariana Trench, continue to hold their mysteries and will likely remain a topic of fascination for a long time.
The First Person to Fall into the Mariana Trench: A Surprising Tale
Before concluding, let’s mention the first person who reportedly fell into the Mariana Trench – and surprisingly, he was Turkish.
In 2013, Cemil Çakır, a worker on a cargo ship traveling from Taiwan to Mexico, reportedly fell into the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, with a depth of 11,000 meters, the world’s deepest point. Unfortunately, no trace of Çakır was found during the search, and his family pleaded for information on his whereabouts.
The Özgür Aksoy Ship, owned by a Turkish company and transporting goods from Taiwan to Mexico, was sailing in the Pacific Ocean near Japan on October 21 when Cemil Çakır, a 26-year-old crew member, fell into the sea near the Mariana Trench. Nuri Çakır, his father, once stated: “I don’t know who informed me or how. I received a call, and they said, ‘Condolences.’ They’re trying to portray it as a suicide. But there’s no relation to suicide. We have no proof that he’s lost or dead. If he’s dead, we want his body; if he’s alive, we demand his return.”
As our journey of information and exploration concludes, it’s evident that places inaccessible or extremely difficult to reach reveal the mysteries and diversity of our world. From Area 51, guarded with high-security measures, to massive man-made underground complexes and the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on Earth, these places ignite our curiosity and desire for exploration.