Thursday, March 27, 2008
The Deep and Open Ocean
Beyond the beaches, coral reefs and fertile shallow waters of the narrow continental shelves lies the deep and open ocean, covering more than sixty percent of the planet's surface. It regulates our climate, conditions our atmosphere and contains some of the least known and most extraordinary animals on Earth. --"Planet Earth, As You've Never Seen It Before."
It's one crazy realm down there. Not only are the animals truly alien looking, but the environment itself is unlike anything at the surface. There is no light down there, not ever, not even after Daylight Savings Time goes into effect. Though currents must vary in temperature somewhat, truth is, seasons as we think of them have absolutely no meaning at the bottom of the big water. It's like another planet! And it covers sixty percent of the Earth. Wow.
I like thinking about deep ocean volcanic vents, super hot, spewing lava right and left. The bacteria and viruses who live on and in these vents are happy as clams to be uber boiled. It's HOT.
I love trying to imagine the subduction trenches, where the edges of gigantic tectonic plates sink little by little back down into the mantle, melting and churning, only to come back to the surface every time there's an eruption somewhere. I'll never see any of this with my own eyes, no. We humans have yet to build a "space" ship sturdy enough to go all the way down. We can fly to Mars, but can not tolerate the environment at the bottom of the ocean. Deep ocean is so unsuitable to our species that any attempt to dive that deep without a ship would mean death by implosion long before we found the subduction zones. Crushed by water. Imagine how much water. Crazy.
Planet Earth is alive in so many ways. I salute you Mama Gaia! L'Chaim!!