Deepest ever dive finds plastic bag at bottom of Mariana Trench

14 Mai, 2019, 04:24 | Auteur: Therese Cote

Making multiple trips almost 11 kilometers, or seven miles, to the ocean floor - one of them four hours in duration - Vescovo set a record for the deepest solo dive in history, his team said.

Down there he found wonderful sea creatures, but also found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers.

Scientists plan to test the newly-discovered creatures to see if they contain microplastics.

It's "a travesty that even at our ocean's deepest reaches, humanity's garbage is having an impact", said TV host Rachel Rudwall.

They also observed a variety of critters.

"We dove to the bottom of the Mariana Trench five times in 10 days, it had had two visits in 60 years before we went there", Vescovo said.

During their descent, the expedition crew saw a number of sea creatures - a spoon worm at 7000 metres and a pink snailfish at 8000m - and believe they discovered four new species of crustaceans called amphipods, similar to prawns.

"So far, we've made up something like 150,000 square kilometers of deep sea floor now - and we're only halfway through it".

Photos showing Victor Vescovo, his launch in Triton submersible, the bottom of Mariana Trench, and Vescovo being congratulated by Don Walsh courtesy of the Deep Five Expeditions and Discovery Channel. Vescovo, a private equity investor, is funding the expeditions. Previously, he climbed the highest peaks on each of the planet's seven continents.

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Before Cameron's dive, the first-ever expedition to Challenger Deep was made in 1960 by the U.S. Navy, which reached a depth of 10,912 metres. That journey was made by filmmaker James Cameron in 2012.

As well as the Mariana Trench in the Pacific, in the last six months dives have also taken place in the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic Ocean (8,376m), the South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Ocean (7,433m) and the Java Trench in Indian Ocean (7,192m).

The Pacific Ocean dive is the fourth in Five Deeps Expedition's plan to dive to the bottom of each of the world's five oceans. Next, he will attempt to reach the bottom of the Arctic Ocean's Molloy Deep.

The extreme pressure and darkness make it extremely challenging to travel deep beneath the sea and capture images.

It can withstand the crushing pressure found at the bottom of the ocean: 1,000 bars, which is the equivalent of 50 jumbo jets piled on top of a person.

His voyage, in a submersible named The Limiting Factor, is part of a landmark odyssey into the world's watery depths that's being filmed for Discovery Channel - dubbed the Five Deeps Expedition.

Deep sea dives have proven that areas thought to be remote and desolate are actually filled with life - and apparently, pollution.

The Mariana Trench is about 124 miles off the coast of the Mariana Islands, which are effectively in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

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