On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic endured a tragic fate in the North Atlantic Ocean as it collided with an iceberg during its maiden journey from Southampton to New York. Despite carrying 2,224 passengers and crew, the vessel’s deterioration led to its collapse, sinking more than 13,000 feet below the ocean’s surface off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Captain Edward Smith, the commanding officer, was at the helm of the ship when the disaster occurred, resulting in the death of over 1,500 individuals.
According to data from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, with an average depth of 12,080 feet. Interestingly, this depth is nearly equivalent to the height of Mount Fuji. Despite the vast expanse of the world’s oceans, only 5% of it has been explored by human beings. The oceanic depths are separated into distinct zones including the euphotic zone or “sunlight zone,” which extends downward to roughly 656 feet. Within this zone, sunlight can penetrate and support the growth of various plant life, such as macro algae and phytoplankton. This information is based on research conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The geographical region encompassing the Yellow Sea, located between China and Korea, has a maximum depth of approximately 499 feet. If the Statue of Liberty, standing at 305 feet, were to descend into this zone, it would be entirely submerged. Ranging between depths of 656 to 3,280 feet lies the dysphotic zone, also known as the “twilight zone.” Within this region, there is a significant reduction of sunlight as the depth increases.
At a depth that the Baltic and Red Seas share, both the magnificent Eiffel Tower and the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, would be engulfed. Standing at approximately 1,083 and 2,716.5 feet respectively, they would be encompassed by the zone. Once reaching a depth of approximately 3,280 feet, the aphotic zone commences with no light able to penetrate. Within this zone, the midnight zone comprises an expanse up to approximately 13,000 feet and the abyss extends to about 19,685 feet. Beyond this point is the hadal zone.
The wreckage of the Titanic is situated in the midnight zone of the North Atlantic, at an approximate depth of 12,500 feet. To put this into perspective, the depth is equivalent to the height of approximately nine Empire State Buildings when they are stacked on top of one another.
The regions of the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea, Red Sea and all the other oceans worldwide that are commonly referred to as the aphotic zone, have the distinction of being areas where only organisms generate light. Consequently, the aphotic zone contains less food and life forms. However, it is noteworthy that occasionally carcasses of marine creatures such as whales and sharks sink to these extreme depths.
According to NOAA, the Mariana Trench, situated in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan, is recognized as the deepest known point in the world’s oceans. Its depth measures approximately 36,070 feet or nearly seven miles in the hadal zone. The trench has been previously explored.
Hamish Harding, one of the few individuals who have expertly traversed the Mariana Trench, passed away whilst journeying on the Titan submersible to the Titanic wreckage. In 2021, he successfully completed an underwater journey of 2.5 miles and established a new record for the longest distance traveled in the deepest section of the ocean by a crewed vessel.
According to NOAA, life exists in the trench despite the enormous pressure of 8 tons per square inch. Foraminifera, which are single-celled organisms, were found in the Challenger Deep, the trench’s deepest point, in 2005. The maximum depth a fish has been observed was 27,460 feet in the Puerto Rico Trench situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
According to the National Ocean Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the pressure exerted by the Earth’s atmosphere at sea level is approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch. This pressure, although imperceptible, intensifies as one submerges deeper, causing an increase in hydrostatic pressure on the body. The human eardrum is sensitive to this change and begins to register the heightened pressure. It is important to note that for every 33 feet of descent, the weight of the liquid surrounding the diver increases one atmosphere, which is the accepted unit of measurement for barometric pressure.
Many animals, such as whales, have the ability to endure extreme depths and pressures in aquatic environments. In contrast, the deepest known scuba diving record achieved by a human was accomplished by Ahmed Gabr in 2014. After extensive training, Gabr successfully dived to a depth of around 1,090 feet, where the pressure capacity was measured at approximately 470 pounds per square inch.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the optimal limit for depth in conventional scuba diving is advised to not exceed 130 feet.
It is rare for a vessel to possess the capability to withstand the tremendous pressure at extreme depths. However, Victor Vescovo, an American explorer, and his partner, Harding, were able to navigate the Challenger Deep with a submersible valued at $48 million.
The Titan, a submersible built by OceanGate Expeditions, was purportedly capable of withstanding a maximum pressure of 1,300 meters or 4,265 feet, as per testimonial from an ex-employee of the company, David Lochridge, who worked as the sub’s pilot before being discharged. In 2018, Lochridge filed a lawsuit against OceanGate Expeditions, accusing the company of falsely advertising the Titan’s capabilities by claiming it could undertake dives of up to 13,000 feet, a depth previously unattainable by a sub with a carbon fiber hull like the Titan’s.
The Titanic submersible
On Sunday, five individuals on board the Titan embarked on a journey from Newfoundland, Canada to the site of the Titanic wreckage, situated approximately 350 miles from Newfoundland. However, while the Titan was approximately an hour and 45 minutes into its dive, communication was lost with the crew members positioned on the Polar Prince research ship above.
Following an intensive and prolonged search, remnants of the submersible were discovered roughly 1,600 feet from the Titanic wreckage. According to officials, it has been ascertained that the submersible collapsed while still in the early stages of its descent, leading to the expiration of all five individuals aboard.
According to Stefano Brizzolara, who is the co-director of the Virginia Tech Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics, the implosion of the sub can be attributed to the probable failure of its pressure hull. He pointed out that at a depth of 4,000 meters, the pressure is approximately 400 times greater than what we experience at sea level. In his statement to CBS News, Brizzolara emphasized that this would amount to approximately 13,000 feet or almost 2.5 miles.
According to Brizzolara, the pressure at this depth is 200 times higher than that of inflated car tires, which typically have around 2 atmospheres of pressure. Moreover, there is a complete absence of light at this depth, and in the rare instance that a powerful light is utilized, its penetrative ability is limited to a mere 65 feet. As such, Brizzolara notes that sonar technology is an essential tool for navigation purposes.
ROVs, or remotely operated vehicles, were employed by search and rescue teams in order to locate the wreckage of the Titan. These types of vessels possess the ability to withstand immense underwater pressure, reaching depths of 13,000 feet with a tolerance of 6,000 pounds per square inch. Following a rigorous search effort, the debris of the Titan was ultimately discovered by an ROV from a Canadian vessel.
The discovery of neutrons, which possess no electric charge and nearly the same mass as protons while remaining electrically neutral,...Read more
The Louvre Museum houses one of the most iconic portraits in the history of art, namely the Mona Lisa painting....Read more
The Hyundai Motor Group produces luxurious automobiles under the name of Genesis. In 2015, the company announced its intention to...Read more
The response to the aforementioned inquiry appears to be apparent for the majority of individuals, as they were educated in...Read more
The journey towards the creation of the atomic bomb was initiated by a moment of profound realization in London. Subsequently,...Read more
In response to an inquiry of utmost interest, it has been revealed that the individual with the most followers on...Read more
The end of a friendship can be an excruciatingly painful experience, potentially overshadowing other kinds of heartbreak. The betrayal of...Read more
The ever-changing wealth landscape in Asia has continually garnered international attention, as a vast number of individuals have left their...Read more
With a net worth of $239.3B, Elon Musk currently holds the top position on the list of the world's wealthiest...Read more
On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic endured a tragic fate in the North Atlantic Ocean as it collided with...Read more
Data published by the World Bank reveals that in 2021, the 25 most populous countries in the world accounted for...Read more