RSS SciShow explains 7 things we don’t know about the ocean

MASA Admin

8 May 2007
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The oceans are a deep, dark and still very mysterious place to humans, and indeed this is a great part of the reason for the appeal of saltater aquariums and reef tanks. But the ocean is not just mysterious to you, but it is also mysterious to science and the people that study it.

Despite all of our best technologies, we still know very little about the ocean and especially the bottom of it. The old saying that ‘we know less about the sea floor than the bottom of the ocean’ is something the schoolkids know and repeat ad-infinitum and it’s still true. Our best maps of the sea floor have a resolution of about 5 km while we already have maps of Mars with a resolution of less than 100 meters, that difference in detail is a factor of 50!

This is really significant as we are constantly finding new features about the seafloor. The most surprising of these are underwater lakes and rivers on the seafloor which are made up of much higher salinity water called brine. This super dense brine water forms alien-looking pools and streams on the seafloor which are too saline for animals to live in, but many kinds of mussels and other creatures live on these underwater seashores, perhaps feeding on bacteria which thrive on the hypersaline environment.

Furthermore, we are just now beginning to confirm age old legends about the sea which were once believed to be just sailor myths. One such phenomenon is called Milky Seas and these were thought to be simply legends. But new analysis of some old satellite imagery has shown huge swaths of the ocean turning white and glowing for days on end, all but confirming the age-old tales.

Finally, ocean researchers don’t know why, but certain deep sea animals are really, really large. This deep sea gigantism is found in a wide range of sea creatures from deep sea squids and cephalopods to huge Japanese crabs and giant isopods. While we know that this effect is common among a many different types of sea creatures, we don’t know why it happens or what causes it.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of what we don’t know about the depths of the ocean. To learn more about some other ocean mysteries including the 52KHz whale, unknown sounds from the ocean and other ocean mysteries, be sure and give a watch to the informative video below from SciShow.
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