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First Sounds Ever Heard from Bottom of the Mariana Trench Are Out of This World

If you’re wondering what Aquaman’s neighborhood sounds like during any given day (or night—they’ve got the same amount of light down there), then wonder no more!

Thanks to researchers from Oregon State University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Coast Guard, we now know what the deepest part of the ocean—Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench—sounds like. And heads up, it’s pretty spooky.

The sounds were recorded using a “titanium-encased hydrophone,” which is an instrument that’s just as cool as it sounds. It was developed specifically for this task by engineers at OSU and the NOAA, and is an underwater microphone that can withstand more pressure than Poe Dameron in dog fight. Seriously, this hydrophone is incredible, and is capable of handling pressures of up to 16,000 pounds per square inch. Average atmospheric pressure here on good ol’ land? About 14.7 pounds per square inch.


A picture of the titanium-encased hydrophone.

And although the scientists involved in this research thought that the bottom of the Mariana Trench—which is 36,000 feet below the ocean’s surface and can be seen in a 3D image in the gallery below—would be relatively quiet, their findings revealed the exact opposite.

Here are four of the coolest, and creepiest, sounds that the researchers found:

A baleen whale call at Challenger Deep.

The calls of an odontocete (which is a toothed whale or dolphin) and a baleen whale.

The sound of a magnitude 5.0 earthquake from 36,000 feet below the ocean’s surface.

A baleen whale “vocalizing” during the magnitude 5.0 earthquake.

But if you think this is impressive, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Literally. Which is why in 2017, a different OSU research team plans on dropping down another titanium-encased hydrophone, as well as a camera, to get a more complete picture of Earth’s final frontier. And who knows, maybe we’ll even run into Aquaman while we’re looking around down there. Or James Cameron.

What do you think about the soundscape researchers have found at the bottom of the ocean? Is it the stuff of nightmares, or a wondrous mystery that’s slowly unraveling before our very ears? Send out your nerd calls in the comments section below!

HT: Gizmodo

Images: Oregon State University


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