Mariana Trench – Into The Deep

By | December 25, 2018

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Bush Establishes Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. Source: (Photo Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images)

The deepest ocean trench on Earth, the Mariana Trench (also known as the Marianas Trench) is located in the Western Pacific Ocean, just southeast of the Mariana Islands near Guam. Because the Mariana Islands are a U.S. Commonwealth and Guam is a U.S. territory, the trench falls under the United States jurisdiction; and, in 2009, the 195,000 square mile area surrounding the islands was established by President George W. Bush as a protected marine reserve called the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.

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Marianas Trench location. Source: (Photo from

The trench is 1,580 miles long, which is more than five times the length of the Grand Canyon, and forty-three miles wide. The depth, however, is a bit more difficult to ascertain. The trench was first discovered in 1875 by the HMS Challenger, which used recently invented sounding equipment to estimate a depth of 26,850 feet near the southern end of the trench. In 1899, Nero Deep was discovered with a depth of 31,693 feet. That remained the deepest reading until thirty years later when a hole with a depth of 32,197 feet was discovered. The deepest point of the trench is Challenger Deep, named for the Challenger expedition, which is over 36,000 feet deep. The second deepest point, Sirena Deep, is located 124 miles east of Challenger Deep and has a depth of 35,462. The highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, is 29,026 feet tall, meaning that the entire mountain could fit inside either of these two points in the Marianas Trench and still be underwater.