We reach out to distant worlds trying to find new life, while still pretty clueless about what is going on right here, on our own planet. Scientists and researchers who study oceans estimate that only 3% of the Earth’s waters are now “known” to us; what’s hiding in the other 97% is a complete mystery.
5 Oceans and their Seas
The world with its continents and oceans is constantly shifting and changing, and so is our knowledge of them. Until a little over ten years ago, we divided the Earth’s water into four oceans; now we agree there are five of them: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and the Southern Ocean. They consist of many seas and the biggest among them are the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the South China Sea. This is a lot of water – 70% of the whole planet! – and it’s an unlimited territory for finding out new things.
For example, it’s been discovered that the underworld has some features that are very similar to the mainland: there are lakes, waterfalls and even impressive mountain ranges down there with tops higher than the Himalayas! The longest continuous mountain range is the underwater mid-oceanic ridge system which stretches across 23% of the Earth’s surface, or across 56,000 km. There are also amazing volcanoes that, instead of lava, spill out mud and methane.
Underwater hot springs One of the most curious features of underwater landscape must be the underwater hot springs. Temperature of the water coming out of them is 343°C, and yet, they are home to many fantastic creatures: three meters long tubeworms and giant clams, among many others. No science-fiction movie aliens we’ve seen since the beginning of cinematography look as other-worldly as our ocean’s creatures, and many movie directors have probably taken inspiration in the depths of our seas.
“Aliens” on our planet
Imagine living in total darkness, a place that not a streak of sunray can reach. That’s what it is like in oceans, bellow 100 meters. Yet, many creatures live there without difficulty. Judging by the photos from underwater life researchers, aquatic creatures are very diverse. There are animals down there that glow in the dark. They are bio-luminescent for different purposes, speculate the scientists. They most probably use their “glow” to attract prey or to avoid predators. There are fish with glowing pulsating eyes, fat fish that look like turkeys, creatures that look like poppy flowers.
The pressure down there is very high and it keeps divers from exploring greater ocean depths; however, amazingly enough, little fish swim and live there without any trouble.
Masters of Deceit
Similar to some land creatures, there are aquatic animals that can change their pattern completely to blend in with their surroundings and thus avoid danger. One of the most interesting examples of that is the male squid that can change parts of its skin, so that it shows the “attractive” side to the female it is courting, and the “aggressive” side to its enemies. The fun thing is that the female never gets to see this aggressive side as the male is smartly keeping it from her sight.
The Role of Oceans
Oceans are the cradle of life and the “controllers” of climate. They absorb solar radiation and moderate the weather using currants that distribute heat across the planet. They have a great energy potential, and if we use them wisely, they could be a sustainable source of food. And who knows what the uncovered 97% of waters have yet to reveal.
Sailors looking to explore the oceans should first look for a rya approved first aid course to make sure their mates are safe on the seas. This will grant sailors and seamen the confidence to go yachting and boating with safety.