August 30, 2014, 2:13 pm

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  • The Deep
The manipulator arm of the ROV Victor collects a deep-sea sample, Porcupine Seabight © Ifremer & AWI (2003).

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Where is the deep?

The ocean dominates the southern hemisphere, covering almost 80% of the surface. There is less ocean in the northern hemisphere, but it still covers 61% of the surface. The Pacific Ocean is the largest water body on the earth, covering almost a third of the earth's surface (a massive 180 million square miles).

On average the ocean is 4000 metres deep, and over 84% of the ocean bottom is found deeper than 2000 m. The greatest depth reached by a human free diver is just 214 m. Even breathing sophisticated mixtures of gases, the deepest human dive is currently 610 m by a US Navy diver off La Jolla California in 2006, conducted in a specialised hard suit.

For now, routine diving to the depths of the deep-ocean is impractical, and scientists rely on sophisticated technology to investigate the deep sea. To visit abyssal depths of several thousand metres, expensive and technologically advanced submarines are needed.



Visit the deep, use the scaleable map to zoom through some of the deepest oceans in the world. The continental shelves are represented as bright yellow, the deepest areas as dark blue, and oceanic ridges as aqua blue.