Deepest points of the world’s oceans revealed

Following one of the most adventurous ocean expeditions ever, scientists have returned precise measurements for the deepest points in each of the world’s five major oceans. 

Data from the Five Deeps Expedition (FDE), which performed dives over the course of 10 months from 2018 to 2019, confirms for the first time the locations of the deepest points of Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean. 

The deepest point of the Indian Ocean is at 7,187 metres, within the Java Trench, just off the coast of Indonesia, the data reveals, while the deepest point of the Southern Ocean has a depth of 7,432 metres, within the South Sandwich Trench. 

Prior to FDE, the deepest parts of some oceans were relatively well known, such as lowest point on Earth – the Challenger Deep, inside the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. 

At a whopping 10,924 metre (6.8-miles), the Challenger Deep still holds the record for the deepest point on Earth, the expeditions confirmed.

While the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean is called Brownson Deep in the Puerto Rico Trench, which descends an impressive 8.378 metres. 

Image shows the location of the deepest points within each of the world’s oceans (Atlantic, Southern, Indian, Pacific and Arctic)

The new measurements for each of the deepest points in the world's five oceans and their coordinates

The new measurements for each of the deepest points in the world’s five oceans and their coordinates 

The Five Deeps Expedition was a successful 10-month mission to travel to the deepest point in each of the world’s five major oceans – Atlantic, Southern, Indian, Pacific and Arctic.  

The expedition, which covered 47,000 nautical miles, completed 39 dives using Limiting Factor (LV) – a two-person submersible built by Florida-based company Triton Submarines.  

LV carried the latest‐generation, full‐ocean depth multibeam echosounder – which emits a series of sound pulses – in order to map each part of the seafloor.     

Now, a team of researchers, including experts from the British Geological Survey, has authored a new study on the mission’s findings, published in Geoscience Data Journal

The study was led by Cassandra Bongiovanni chief hydrographic surveyor for the FDE. 

‘The global Five Deeps Expedition allowed us a unique opportunity to accurately map some of the most remote and deepest places in the world, and to validate these depths with measurements collected by the submersible and support landers,’ she said.    

Mariana Trench, is about 124 miles east of the Mariana Islands off the coast of the Philippines, is already known to be the deepest spot in the Pacific Ocean

Mariana Trench, is about 124 miles east of the Mariana Islands off the coast of the Philippines, is already known to be the deepest spot in the Pacific Ocean 

Triton DSV Limiting Factor can dive to depths of 36,000 feet and fits two passengers plus a pilot

Triton DSV Limiting Factor can dive to depths of 36,000 feet and fits two passengers plus a pilot

‘Access to state-of-the-art full-ocean depth technology allowed us to map an area equivalent to continental France in only 10 months. 

‘Around 61 per cent of where we went had never been mapped using modern technology.’ 

Prior to Five Deeps, there had been some uncertainties regarding the deepest points in the Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean. 

For example, two possible locations for the deepest point in the Indian Ocean had previously been identified – Java Trench and Diamantina Fracture Zone (DFZ).

FDE data now shows Java Trench takes the title of deepest point in the Indian Ocean, at 7,187 metres (4.4 miles), more than the DFZ’s 7,019 metres. 

The expedition, which covered 47,000 nautical miles in 10 months, completed 39 dives using Limiting Factor (LV) ¿ a two-person submersible built by Florida-based company Triton Submarines. Graph shows how the depth of Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench - the deepest point on Earth - exceeds the height of Mount Everest

The expedition, which covered 47,000 nautical miles in 10 months, completed 39 dives using Limiting Factor (LV) – a two-person submersible built by Florida-based company Triton Submarines. Graph shows how the depth of Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench – the deepest point on Earth – exceeds the height of Mount Everest 

As for the Southern Ocean, the South Sandwich Trench, located just north of the Antarctic continent, had not been thoroughly explored prior to FDE.

South Sandwich Trench is the only sub-zero hadal zone (deeper than 6,000 metres, or 20,000 feet) in the world. 

The recently named Factorian Deep, located at the southern end of the trench, measures 7,432 metres deep. 

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