The Mariana Trench is the deepest place on our planet. This absolute depth got its name thanks to the nearby Mariana Islands. The entire depression stretches along the islands for one and a half thousand kilometers and has a characteristic V-shaped profile.
In fact, this is an ordinary tectonic fault, the place where the Pacific Plate goes under the Philippine, just the Mariana Trench is the deepest place of its kind. Its slopes are steep, on average about 7-9 °, and the bottom is flat, 1 to 5 kilometers wide, and divided by rapids into several closed sections. The pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench reaches 108.6 MPa, which is more than 1100 times higher than normal atmospheric pressure!
The first to dare to challenge the abyss were the British - the military three-masted corvette Challenger with sailing equipment was rebuilt into an oceanographic vessel for hydrological, geological, chemical, biological and meteorological work back in 1872. But the first data on the depth of the Mariana Trench were obtained only in 1951 - according to the measurements carried out, the depth of the depression was declared equal to 10 863 m. After that, the deepest point of the Mariana Trench was called the “Challenger Deep”. It is hard to imagine that in the depths of the Mariana Trench, the highest mountain on our planet, Everest, will easily fit, and more than a kilometer of water will remain above it to the surface.
The next researchers of the Mariana Trench were already Soviet scientists. In 1957, during the 25th voyage of the Soviet research vessel Vityaz, they not only declared the maximum depth of the depression equal to 11, 022 meters, but also established the existence of life at depths of more than 7, 000 meters, thereby refuting the notion prevailing at that time about the impossibility of life at depths of more than 6000-7000 meters.
On January 23, 1960, the first and only human dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench was carried out. Thus, the only people who have been "at the bottom of the Earth" were the US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and the researcher Jacques Picard.
During the dive, they were protected by armored, 127 millimeters thick, walls of the bathyscaphe called "Trieste". The bathyscaphe was named after the Italian city of Trieste, in which the main work on its creation was carried out. According to the instruments on board the Trieste, Walsh and Picard plunged to a depth of 11, 521 meters, but later this figure was slightly corrected - 10, 918 meters.
The dive took about five, and the ascent took about three hours, the researchers stayed at the bottom for only 12 minutes. But even this time was enough for them to make a sensational discovery - at the bottom they found flat fish up to 30 cm in size, similar to a flounder.
Research in 1995 showed that the Mariana Trench is about 10, 920 m deep, and the Japanese Kaik probe, launched into the Challenger Abyss on March 24, 1997, recorded a depth of 10, 911.4 meters.
The Mariana Trench has repeatedly frightened researchers with monsters lurking in its depths. For the first time the expedition of the American research vessel "Glomar Challenger" collided with the unknown. Some time after the start of the descent of the apparatus, the device recording sounds began to transmit to the surface some kind of metallic rattle, reminiscent of the sound of metal being sawn. At this time, some obscure shadows appeared on the monitor, similar to giant fairy dragons with several heads and tails. An hour later, scientists were worried that the unique equipment, made in the NASA laboratory from beams of ultra-strong titanium-cobalt steel, with a spherical structure, the so-called "hedgehog" with a diameter of about 9 m, could remain in the abyss of the Mariana Trench forever. It was decided to immediately lift the device aboard the ship. The "hedgehog" was removed from the depths for more than eight hours, and as soon as it appeared on the surface, they immediately put it on a special raft. The camera and echo sounder were lifted to the deck of the Glomar Challenger. The researchers were horrified when they saw how deformed the strongest steel beams of the structure were, as for the 20-centimeter steel cable, on which the hedgehog was lowered, the scientists were not mistaken in the nature of the sounds transmitted from the water abyss - the cable was half-sawn. Who tried to leave the device at depth and why - will forever remain a mystery. The details of this incident were published in 1996 by the New York Times.
Another encounter with the unexplained in the depths of the Mariana Trench happened with the German research vehicle "Highfish" with a crew on board. At a depth of 7 km, the vehicle suddenly stopped moving. To find out the cause of the problem, the hydronauts turned on the infrared camera. What they saw in the next few seconds seemed to them a collective hallucination: a huge prehistoric lizard, gripping its teeth into the bathyscaphe, tried to gnaw it like a nut. Recovering from the shock, the crew activated a device called an "electric cannon", and the monster, struck by a powerful discharge, disappeared into the abyss.
On May 31, 2009, the automatic submarine Nereus sank to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. According to measurements, it sank 10, 902 meters below sea level. At the bottom, Nereus filmed a video, took some photos and even collected sediment samples at the bottom. Thanks to modern technology, researchers have managed to capture a few representatives of the Mariana Trench.
On April 1, 2012, Yandex created a comic panorama of the Mariana Trench: on it one could find a sunken ship, a drain, the eyes of an underwater monster.
Some scientists believe that giant prehistoric shark megalodons 24 meters long and weighing 100 tons could have survived in the Mariana Trench. The width of the mouth of this predator reached 2 meters. It was believed that these monsters lived in the earth's oceans 2-2, 5 million years ago. But recently, in the area of the Mariana Trench, perfectly preserved 10-centimeter teeth of a megalodon were found. And their age was only 24 to 11 thousand years.
In favor of large life forms, the mysterious emergencies that occurred with deep-sea vehicles in the Mariana Trench also speak. In the 90s, American researchers submerged an unmanned platform with powerful searchlights and sensitive television and video systems to the bottom of the crevice. The platform was lowered on six steel cables an inch in diameter. After a few hours of research, silhouettes of large strange objects began to flicker on the screens of monitors - no less than 12-16 meters in length. And the microphones recorded sharp sounds - blows and rattling on metal. When the platform was lifted, its heavy-duty titanium steel structures were bent, and the thick cables seemed to be sawed.
Something similar happened to the German Highfish bathyscaphe at a depth of only 7000 meters. The device landed with the crew on board, and when the work was completed, it suddenly refused to surface, and began to shudder from unknown aftershocks. To find out the cause of the problem, the researchers turned on the infrared camera. The sight that presented them in the next few seconds left them in indescribable horror. A huge foot and mouth disease bit into the bathyscaphe and tried to literally gnaw it like a nut. The crew launched the "electric cannon". Having received a powerful discharge of current, the monster retreated into the abyss. However, no pictures of this deep-sea dragon were taken.