Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench is the deepest point in Earth's oceans. The bottom there is 10,924 meters (35,840 feet) below sea level. If Mount Everest, the highest moutain on Earth, were placed at this location it would be covered by over one mile of water. The Challenger Deep is named after the British survey ship Challenger II, which discovered this deepest location in 1951.
Map of the Mariana Trench - Deepest Point in Earth's Oceans - Image by CIA
The Mariana Trench is located at a convergent plate boundary. Here two converging lithospheric plates collide with one another. At this collision point, one of the plates descends into the mantle. At the line of contact between the two plates the downward flexure forms a trough known as an ocean trench. An example of an ocean trench is shown in the diagram below.
Uri ten Brink, Chief Scientist
U.S. Geological Survey
The Puerto Rico Trench is the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean, with water depths exceeding 8,400 meters (figure 1). Its depth is comparable to the deep trenches in the Pacific Ocean. Trenches in the Pacific are located in places where one tectonic plate subducts or slides under another one. The Puerto Rico Trench, in contrast, is located at a boundary between two plates that slide past each other with only a small component of subduction. The trench is less deep where the component of subduction is larger. The unusually deep sea floor is not limited to the trench, but also extends farther south toward Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Trench is also associated with the most negative gravity anomaly on earth, -380 milliGal, which indicates the presence of an active downward force. Finally, a thick limestone platform, which was originally deposited in flat layers near sea level, is now tilted northward at a uniform angle. Its northward edge is at a depth of 4,200 m, and its southern edge can be found on land in Puerto Rico at an elevation of a few hundred meters. Many tectonic models have been proposed to explain this geologically fascinating, tectonically active region; however, none have gained acceptance, and the region remains poorly understood, largely because its underwater location makes it difficult to study.
The Grand Canyon of Mars, Valles Marineris, is 2,485 miles long, carving about one-fifth of the Martian circumference. The canyon is up to 370 miles wide and more than four miles deep. Compared to the Grand Canyon, the Mars canyon is almost 10 times longer, about 20 times wider and about four times deeper. But the Grand Canyon is not the Earth's deepest. The Mars canyon is two miles deeper than what is typically identified as the deepest canyon on Earth, Peru's Colca Canyon.
|Satellite image of Hells Canyon. In the southern part of this image the canyon, occupied by the Snake River, can be seen trending northeast-southwest. The canyon turns northwest and meanders in that direction in the northern part of the image. A Landsat Geocover image from NASA.|
|Photograph showing the Snake River flowing through Hells Canyon. Image © iStockphoto and Norman Eder.|
Labels: deepest places on earth
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