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Earth is 70% oceans

Water is the lifeblood of our Earth.  The salty brines are constantly moving with the currents that churn a kaleidoscope of life.

Only 5-10 percent of the planet’s vast seas have been explored – leaving more than 90% of the aquatic world unmapped, unobserved and unexplored – offering endless mysteries to discover.

Moving water transports heat from the Sun around the planet, which governs the weather and has an effect on climate. The ocean moves with the tides, in an endless cycle, created by the moon’s gravitational force. Upwelling is a process that brings water from the deep ocean to shallow areas, and downwelling, sends water from the surface to the deep ocean.

There are four major oceanic sections:

  • Pacific,
  • Atlantic,
  • Indian, and
  • Arctic.

Smaller ocean regions are called seas, gulfs, and bays:

  • the Mediterranean Sea,
  • Gulf of Mexico, and
  • the Bay of Bengal.

These oceans are home to the majority of Earth’s plants and animals – from the tiny single-celled organisms to the blue-whale,the planet’s largest living animal and hold about 320 million cubic miles (1.35 billion cubic kilometers) of water; roughly 97 percent of Earth’s water supply.

Most of Earth’s oxygen comes from tiny ocean plants – called phytoplankton – that live near the water’s surface and drift with the currents – contributing to 50 to 85 percent of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere.

10 Most Mysterious Places in the Ocean:

  1. Never before seen sea anemones and peculiar upside-down swimming fish underneath the Ross Sea Ice Shelf.
  2. Running between Greenland and Siberia, the Gakkel Ridge is the deepest mid-ocean ridge in the world, reaching depths of up to three miles.
  3. On the Cascadia margin, the temperature at his cold seeps tends to be slightly warmer than the surrounding ocean, and because of this the seeps are host to a whole biome of species.
  4. Greenland’s coral reefs are capable of thriving in water with a temperature as low as 4 degrees Celsius and in total darkness.
  5. The Tonga Trench is the second deepest place on Earth (only 150m shallower than the Mariana Trench) and home to a host of strange hadal zone creatures, such as jellyfish and sea cucumbers. The Tonga Trench  is over 10km deep at some points.
  6. The Von Damm Vent Field is part of the mid-ocean ridge system within the Caribbean Sea. Huge numbers of shrimp flock to the talc mounds as minerals are fired out of the hydrothermal vents. The water from the vents can reach up to 200 degrees Celsius and the vent field transfers 500 megawatts of energy into the surrounding sea. These hhydrothermal vents, made from talc (magnesium silicate), were discovered in 2010, and tower as high as 75m from the sea floor. Hydrothermal vents are usually made of sulphide compounds.
  7. Carter Seamount rises to 200m below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean and is covered in a rich ecosystem of corals and sponges. It is estimated that there are over one million submarine volcanoes, many of them still active, found in hot spots around the world. Seamounts are one of the most common marine ecosystems, and attract a variety of fish, corals and mammals.
  8. The Silfra Fissure, located in the middle of Iceland, is the only place where you can swim inside the crack between two continents. This is where the Eurasian and North American plates meet, creating a crevice with a depth of up to 63 metres. Its fissure is getting 2cm wider every year, building tension between the plates and the Earth, which is released by earthquakes.
  9. Twilight zone reefs in the Chagos Islands offer a refuge for shallower species that may be threatened by coral bleaching due to exposure to the Sun.
  10. Thousands of deep sinkholes, created Mexico’s on Yucatán peninsula, of collapsed limestone bedrock, have formed part of the longest underwater cave system in the world has a high density of cenotes found around the rim of the Chicxulub crater, created by an asteroid or comet 66 million years ago.

 

 

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