From mythical creatures to underwater waterfalls, the oceans are full of extremes. Let’s take a look at a few examples
Majestic, beautiful, and yet, terrifying. The world’s oceans cover the majority of our planet’s surface; however, we have only managed to explore around five percent of what they hide. Here are some surprising facts about the world’s oceans.
Giant squid does exist
Often depicted in old sailors’ stories and frightening fairy tales for children, the giant octopus was always considered a mere legend. However, in 2004, Japanese researchers took first images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat, finally proving its existence. Since then, many other recordings and studies have been published and we finally know a little more about these mysterious cephalopods.
Unlike the picture literature and legends have painted about this creature, the giant squid isn’t the cruel beast that spends its time fighting sperm whales or sinking ships.
In fact, they usually end up as said sperm whales’ prey. However, their dimensions are extraordinary, and there is no wonder why sailors speak of them with respect. A female giant squid can reach a length of 13 meters while males are slightly shorter, with 10 meters on average.
Underwater lakes, rivers, and even waterfalls
The universe under water is actually very similar to the one on the surface, with only two differences — there is water everywhere, and everything is simply many times bigger. There are huge mountains, cliffs, volcanoes, but even lakes and rivers that can flow for thousands of kilometers. These water masses appear as seawater makes its way through layers of salt, which makes it denser and separate from the surrounding waters.
Similarly, oceans can even have their own waterfalls, such as the Denmark Strait cataract located between Iceland and Greenland. This world’s highest underwater waterfall has water falling for more than 3,500 meters and is formed because of a difference in temperature — the eastern side is much colder than the western.
There is a place called White Shark Café
The life of the infamous great white sharks is still covered in mysteries. The solitary creatures spend their lives migrating all around the world’s oceans without the intention to disclose anything intimate. But in 2002, scientists managed to find out that sharks, like many humans, have their commonplace for winter vacation. Often dubbed as White Shark Café, the Colorado-sized area lies between Baja California and Hawaii offers refuge to countless sharks each year.
There are more artifacts in the ocean than in all museums combined
Sailing on the world’s seas and oceans always bore a significant mark of danger, and rightfully so. It is estimated that over three million shipwrecks have found their last resting place on the bottom of the sea. The majority of the ships carried countless treasures and artifacts. Together, it would outnumber all objects gathered in the world’s museums.
Corals can produce sunscreen
But oceans are not only an epitome of extremes and danger. It is also a place of constant development and improvement. For instance, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is home to the largest colony of corals in the world; which has a considerable impact on the environment. And apart from giving a home to various examples of marine life, the symbiotic partnership of algae and plants prides itself with other unique features.
Recently, researchers have discovered that corals can also produce natural sunscreen compounds to protect themselves — as well as the fish that feed on them — from ultraviolet light.
Fishing in the Mariana Trench
Stretching to the depth of almost eleven kilometers, the Mariana Trench is considered the deepest hole in the whole world. With a lack of sunlight and a tremendous level of water pressure, the area here is more than hostile to the majority of beings.
However, there is a species that has taken advantage of the conditions and even managed to become the main predator of the area — Mariana Snailfish. This pale, tadpole-like creature isn’t afraid of the dark emptiness and was once captured at a depth of 7,966 meters below the sea level, which made the event the deepest act of fishing ever recorded.