What’s it like at the bottom of the ocean?
Depending on which ocean, and where – the depth varies from 27,144 to 35,800 feet. Considering that Mount Everest is 29,028 feet…that’s quite a dive.
The abyss is characterized by intense cold, 0.6 C to 3.5 C (water freezes at 0 C), no light, and lots of pressure. At these great depths, the pressure can equal about 8 tons per square inch and at that pressure, because of the liquid nature of water, is exerted in all directions.
One would think that nothing could live in this extremely hostile environment. But research has proven this to be untrue. Creatures with names such as the whip tail gulper eel, sea cucumber, grenadier or rattail fish, a host of marine isopods, and the glass sponge, Eupleetella asperfillum, live down there.
And at the bottom of these depths…ooze! Not like the kind you associate with the bottom of a muddy pond, or saltwater marsh, but a grayish, yellowish, tarnish ooze with a butter-like consistency; slippery and very cold.
Ooze is composed of particles of sediments, the dead bodies of microscopic plankton which, year after year, eon and eon, has fallen to the bottom – a biological history of the life in the ocean.
Maybe that’s why I feel such a kinship with the ocean. I think a lot of us do.
It holds such mystery and beauty.
“Abyss” is a recent Encaustic piece I created this weekend.
The above information was taken from The Rhode Island Sea Grant Fact Sheet – a paper by Prentice K. Stout.