Top 10 Deepest Parts Of The Ocean

Infographics of Deepest Parts Of The Ocean
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The oceans and seas surrounding the continents offer several wonders, many of which humans have yet to discover.

The vast bodies of water that cover over 70% of the planet’s surface, holding around 1.35 billion cubic kilometres of water, have plateaus, valleys, plains, mountains, and trenches.

And interestingly, the underwater formations are enormous compared to those on dry land.

The mountains in the ocean basin are higher than those we see on land; similarly, the plains are flatter, so the ocean trenches are much more profound.

Of all the features that oceans offer, the very depth of these water bodies makes them so enchanting.

Indeed, the ocean is deep, and the average depth of the oceans and seas surrounding the continents is around 3.5km.

The part of the ocean that is deeper than just 200 meters is considered the “deep sea.” However, some parts of the oceans go up to several kilometres. But what is the deepest part of the ocean exactly?

Scientifically speaking, the deepest part of the ocean refers to the maximum depth of a point that can be accessed or defined. Every deep part of the ocean is called a deep trench.

They are known as the hadal zone, and the deepest sea trenches are created by shifting tectonic plates.

Currently, there are 46 hadal habitats across the oceans, and humans know very little about these regions since it’s challenging to study these parts of the oceans. Here is a list of ten points that mark the deepest points of oceans.

1. Mariana Trench

The Marina Trench is the deepest part of the Earth’s surface in the western Pacific Ocean. It contains the Earth’s deepest point, called the Challenger Deep. While many have reached Mount Everest, only two people have descended the Challenger Deep.

Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh reached a 10,916 m depth in their Trieste bathyscaphe in 1960. The first unmanned vehicle to reach the Deep was controlled by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s researchers, reaching up to 10,902 meters.

Appearing as a crescent-shaped scar in the Earth’s crust, the trench measures around 2,550 km long, 69 km wide on average, and has a maximum depth of 10.91 km at the Challenger Deep. At the same time, some other efforts measured the deepest portion at 11.034 km. The deep runs several hundred kilometres towards the US island of Guam in the southwest direction.

Mariana Trench
Image credits: wikipedia.com

The deep holes in the Mariana Trench were formed due to the collision of converging plates of the oceanic lithosphere. During the collision, one plate descended into the Earth’s mantle, and the downward flexure formed a trough at the line of contact between the plates.

At the bottom of the Marina Trench, the density of water increases by 4.96% due to the high pressure at the seabed. However, the expeditions conducted at various times have observed the presence of large creatures such as flatfish, large shrimp-type amphipods, crustaceans, and even an unknown type of snailfish. Scientists believe there are many new species in the Mariana Trench awaiting discovery.

2. Tonga Trench

Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean and at the northern end of the Kermadec Tonga Subduction Zone, the Tonga Trench lies around 10.882 km below sea level.

The deepest point in the Tonga trench, known as the Horizon Deep, is considered the second deepest point on Earth after the Challenger Deep and the deepest trench in the Southern Hemisphere.

Tonga Trench Map

Stretches at a distance of 2,500 km from New Zealand’s North Island northeast to the island of Tonga, the Tonga trench was formed due to the subduction of the Pacific plate by the Tonga plate.

Researchers have also found that these plate movements cause large volcanoes in the Japan and Mariana Trench. According to marine scientists, the sediments of the Horizon Deep house a community of roundworms.

3. Philippine Trench

Philippine Trench
Credits: Wikipedia

The third deepest point in the world, the Galathea Depth in the Philippine trench, is 10.54 km below sea level. Also known as Mindanao Trench, this submarine trench is located in the Philippine Sea and spreads in a length of 1,320km and 30km in width in the east of the Philippines.

Prominent among other trenches in the Philippine Sea, this trench was formed due to a collision between the Eurasian plate and the smaller Philippine plate. The other significant trenches in the Philippine Sea include Manila Trench, East Luzon Trench, Negros Trench, Sulu Trench, and Cotabato Trench.

It is said that scientists considered the Philippine Trench to be the planet’s deepest point until 1970. Scientists say the Philippine trench was younger than 8-9 million years ago.

4. Kuril- Kamchatka Trench

Another deepest part of the ocean belonging to the Pacific Ocean, this trench lies at a considerable depth of 10.5 km below sea level. Lying close to Kuril Island and off the coast of Kamchatka, this trench is responsible for many ocean bed volcanic activities in the region.

Kuril- Kamchatka Trench Map

The trench was formed by the subduction zone developed in the late Cretaceous, which created the Kuril Island and Kamchatka volcanic arcs.

5. Kermadec Trench

Another submarine trench lies on the floor of the South Pacific Ocean. The Kermadec Trench stretches around 1,000 km between the Louisville Seamount Chain and the Hikurangi Plateau.

Formed by the subduction of the Pacific plate under the Indo-Australian Plate, the Kermadec Trench has a maximum depth of 1o.04 km.

Kermadec Trench Map

Along with the Tonga Trench to the north, the Kermadec Trench creates the 2,000 km-long, near-linear Kermadec-Tonga subduction system.

The trench is also home to various species, including a giant amphipod, which measures approximately 34 cm in length at the bottom. A few years ago, the Kermadec Trench was in the news after the Nereus, an unmanned research submarine, imploded because of the high pressure at a depth of 9,990 meters while exploring the Kermadec Trench.

6. Izu-Ogasawara Trench

Located in the western Pacific Ocean, the Izu-Ogasawara Trench has a maximum depth of 9.78km. Also known as Izu-Bonin Trench, this deep trench stretches from Japan to the northern section of the Mariana Trench and is also an extension of the Japan Trench. Apart from the Izu-Ogasawara Trench, the western Pacific Ocean houses the Izu Trench and the Bonin Trench.

Izu-Ogasawara Trench Map

7. Japan Trench

Another deep submarine trench located east of the Japanese islands, the Japan trench (as shown in the image above), is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire in the northern Pacific Ocean.

With a maximum depth of 9 km, the Japan trench stretches from the Kuril Islands to the Bonin Islands. It also extends the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench and the Izu-Ogasawara Trench to the north and south, respectively.

The trench was formed due to the subduction of the oceanic Pacific plate beneath the continental Okhotsk Plate. The tsunamis and earthquakes led to the movement of the subduction zone with the Japan Trench.

8. Puerto Rico Trench

Located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the Puerto Rico trench marks the deepest point in this region and the eighth deepest point found on the Earth’s surface.

It lies at a depth of 8.64 km, is spotted at Milwaukee Deep, and measures a length of over 800 km; this trench has been responsible for many tragic tsunamis and earthquake activities in this region.

Puerto Rico Trench

Efforts for a complete mapping of this trench have been ongoing for a long time. The French bathyscaphe Archimède first attempted to explore the seafloor in 1964, and a robotic vehicle was sent to the trench in 2012 to study its characteristics.

9. South Sandwich Trench

The deepest trench in the Atlantic Ocean after Puerto Rico Trench, South Sandwich Trench, is at a depth of about 8.42 km, described as Meteor Deep, and runs for over 956 km, making it one of the most noticeable trenches in the world.

South Sandwich Trench
Credits: Wikipedia

Located 100 km east of the South Sandwich Islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean, this trench was formed by the subduction of the South American Plate’s southernmost portion beneath the small South Sandwich Plate. This South Sandwich Trench is also associated with an active volcanic arc.

10. Peru–Chile Trench

The Peru–Chile Trench (the Atacama Trench) is located around 160 km off the coast of Peru and Chile in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Atacama Trench has a maximum depth of 8.06 km below sea level. The deepest point of the trench is known as Richards Deep.

Peru–Chile Trench

The trench measures around 5,900 km in length and 64 km in mean width, while it covers an area of about 590,000 square kilometres. The Atacama Trench was formed due to a convergent boundary between the subducting Nazca and the South American Plates.

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The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.


About Author

Raunek Kantharia is a marine engineer turned maritime writer and entrepreneur. After a brief stint at the sea, he founded Marine Insight in 2010. Apart from managing Marine Insight, he also writes for a number of maritime magazines and websites.

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7 Comments

  1. What is the trench called near the Farralones outside of San Francisco Bay that is supposed to be very, very deep?

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