We’ve all seen photos of the bizarre creatures that inhabit the bottom of the sea and now a new project has allowed us to hear them as well.
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oregon State University and the U.S. Coast Guard have managed to record audio from the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean – and what they’ve captured has surprised them.
One would assume being 10.9 kilometres underwater would make things pretty peaceful, but the audio – taken from a trough known as Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, 322 km southwest of Guam in Micronesia – says otherwise.
“You would think that the deepest part of the ocean would be one of the quietest places on Earth,” Robert Dziak, a NOAA research oceanographer and chief scientist on the project, said in a statement.
“Yet there really is almost constant noise from both natural and man-made sources.
“The ambient sound field at Challenger Deep is dominated by the sound of earthquakes, both near and far was well as the distinct moans of baleen whales and the overwhelming clamor of a category 4 typhoon that just happened to pass overhead.”
To give you an idea of just how far down the Challenger Deep is, you could fit Mount Everest (the world’s highest peak) into the trough and it would still be nearly two kilometres from touching the surface.
As a result, the water pressure is extreme and researchers had to exercise extreme caution.
“We had to drop the hydrophone mooring down through the water column at no more than about five meters per second. Structures don’t like rapid change and we were afraid we would crack the ceramic housing outside the hydrophone,” Oregon State ocean engineer Haru Matsumoto said.
“It is akin to sending a deep-space probe to the outer solar system,” Mr Dziak explained.
The researchers have kindly shared the audio from titanium-encased hydrophone online so you can hear the eerie noises they captured for yourself.