Exploring the Sea Floor and Why it is Difficult

Complications with Exploring the Seafloor



“Multibeam Sonar on the Seafloor” by OceanNetworks Canada is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By: Evan Nanthavong, Journalist

Over 71 percent of the Earth is made out of water. Humans have only uncovered about 5% of the seafloor. Over the many years that humans have been on this Earth, the depths of the sea remain somewhat unclear to us. We have explored the tallest mountains and have been all over the world’s continents, yet we have not yet uncovered all the mysteries of the depths of the ocean.

We do have some information about the seafloor. The seafloor is the terrain at the bottom of the ocean. The bottom of the ocean has a similar terrain to areas above the ocean. This includes plains, mountains, canyons, and other natural formations. The seafloor includes natural resources like oil, fossil fuels, and minerals (Copper, Zinc, Nickel, Gold, Silver).

Humans have not explored as much of the seafloor compared to other places on the Earth because of a multitude of different reasons. One of the reasons is sea pressure. Sea pressure is caused by the weight of the water above and gets more intense the deeper down you go into the depths of the ocean. The average depth of the ocean is approximately 12,100 feet. At the depth, there is a huge amount of sea pressure pushing down on you. Humans are simply not made to go that deep. The farthest a human can go safely without gear is about 60 feet. This is why we rely on technology and submarines/drones to explore great depths. Another reason we have yet to explore much of the seafloor is that we lack the technology to explore efficiently and effectively. Keep in mind we do have technology on the seafloor, but because there is so much to cover, the technology we have is not yet adequate.

Perhaps in the future, we can explore the seafloor more as technology improves and we learn more about it. Currently, many people are working hard to learn more about the seafloor. All the mysteries of the seafloor may someday all be unraveled.

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