Why do most of the oceans still remain unexplored?

by Madonna Watts D'Souza
Why do most of the oceans still remain unexplored?

May 5, 2021

While humans have been planning to establish space colonies since the 21st century, however, the deep waters of the ocean on our very own earth remain unexplored. So why the explorers, the scientist, the stalwarts of marine discovery have been unable to unlock the deep blue mystery which covers 3/4th of our earth?

That stretch of the sea, meeting the horizon, that blue ocean with the flipping dolphins, that ride on a cruise or just a walk by the beach where a sudden wave of water gently kisses our feet. Water, has been “gram” favorite for a while now and rightly so. The vibrant and tumultuous waters of the sea and the ocean have been mysteriously soothing. However, is that the only mystery these large water bodies carry?

While waters might find the soothing, calming effect of waters mysterious, others find the unfathomable ecosystem inside water bodies intriguing too. What do those waters hide? What is the reason as to why the scientists could never explore a major portion of our Hydrosphere?

The scientists have only managed to map 5-8% of the Earth's oceans!

Take a moment and imagine, scientist have managed to figure out how can we create oxygen on Mars or the Moon may have water frozen under its surface. We have predicted how the universe will possibly come to an end, or what led to the start of the universe.

However, around 95-97% of our oceans remain unexplored. Imagine the magnitude of this mystery.

So what makes these oceans such a difficult task for our scientists? Here are some of the reasons:


The depth and the ever-increasing pressure


The pressure below the ocean exponentially increases with the increase in depth. While you are safe at around 40 meters deep within the ocean, going beyond that will take a toll on human body. Even with atmospheric suits, we can dive up to 700 meters but beyond that, human body is likely to suffer from painful conditions like decompression sickness or nitrogen narcosis which can be fatal.  

The lowest pressure an average human body can bear is 6300 Pascals and a maximum of 101,325 Pascals, which is the standard pressure of the Earth. Human body is designed to bear a little bit above 1 atm but at 2,000 meters the ocean pressure can approximately be 200 atm. which enough to squish a human.

Adding to the fact, that light can only penetrate up to 1000 meters inside the ocean. Beyond that, only darkness prevails. The Abyssmal zone which begins at about 4000 metres is dark and can go well below zero degrees Celsius.

Darkness, unexplored creatures and living fossils thrive around in these regions.

Hadal Zone, which begins at 6000 metres deep remains completely unexplored.

It is obvious for you to question, what are the submarines doing?


Space is much easier to access than the oceans

Renowned director and ocean enthusiast set a record in 2012, where he dove all the way to the Mariana Trench, which is the deepest part of the oceans in a “vertical torpedo” sub. The Marina Trench extends 10,994 metres deep into the ocean.

However, even in 2021, we have been unable  to devise appropriate devices for sea exploration. This is primarily due to three reasons:

  1. It would take a significant money to innovate devices and vehicles, which would would allow  humans to explore the unexplored.
  2. As discussed, the pressure beneath is so intense, that if a device not designed right, the results will be catastrophic.
  3. Our current radars cannot map the ocean floor efficiently enough and research remains fairly stagnant in the field of ocean exploration.

However, another major obstacle swim deep below and have caused some of the greatest accidents in the history of sea exploration – The Giant Squid and the Colossal Squid

Beware! Once caught, The Giant Guardians of the Sea will not leave your submarine

Thriving within the depths of 300 meters to 1000 meters, the Giant Squid, true to its name has a size of 13-16 metres! Constantly picking up battles with the sperm whales, Giant Squids are also known to attack submarines. Although the attacks are rare, there are substantial records of them. A Greenpeace submarine with two men in it was attacked by giant squids during their exploration in the Bering Sea in 2014.

The Colossal squid, which thrives in the same depth range as the giant squids are even bigger with their size reaching to 19 meters! Researchers predict that they could be bigger, however they are a little shy and live near the Antarctic waters and swim up all the way to New Zealand. Being aggressive and fast hunters in nature, these squids don’t hesitate to demolish anything in its way, especially the human submarines!

Looks like the Scandinavians were right about the Krakens, they do exist, but what else does?

NASA have revealed their underwater robot, which will look for alien life on Europa

Why look at the space, when Aliens might exist underwaters?

While tales of mermaids have always made rounds, can evolved life like ours actually exist in the ocean? Owing to hostile and dark conditions in the sea, can we actually be surprised?

Although researchers reckon that a lot of animals do not live in the abysmal and Hadal zone, we might be able to discover many different species closer to aliens.

For the time being, let’s hope that we are able to explore what’s on our earth as much as we explore what’s far away from it. 

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