The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the globe and makes up for 97 percent of all water on earth. Advanced ocean-exploring technology has allowed humans to explore some of the deepest depths of the saltiest waters. This technology includes underwater vehicles called submersibles, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), satellites, rovers, mega corers to obtain samples, and sonar for mapping. This technology is similar to what is used to explore outer space, making the ocean a very similar wonder.
1. Only 5% of the ocean is explored
Despite all of the amazing facts we know about our oceans, there is still so much that is currently a mystery. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that more than 80 percent of the ocean has never been mapped, observed, or explored in any way. They state that only 5 percent of the ocean has actually been explored and charted. Even the most extensive chain of maintains on earth, the mid-ocean ridge, is found lying in the deep ocean. Some say that this mountain range is less explored than both Mars and Venus.
2. Most of life on earth is aquatic
The ocean is filled with creatures of wonder. This includes single-celled organisms, to the largest animals on the planet such as whales, sharks, and squids. Some of the deepest parts of the ocean contain life that looks as if it really does belong on another planet. Since so much of the ocean has not been explored, it makes me curious about what else lurks deep within the water. On average, 2,000 marine species are discovered each year. Yet, researchers estimate that 91 percent of species in the ocean have still been unidentified.
3. Most of volcanic eruptions are underwater
The ocean is filled with impressive landscapes that we could never imagine taking place underwater. However, there are lakes, rivers, and even waterfalls created by interactions of water that are at different temperatures. It is also estimated that there are over a million volcanoes that lie on the ocean floor. Underwater volcanoes remain a large mystery to scientists since the eruptions often happen thousands of feet underwater. More than 70 percent of volcanic eruptions occur in the ocean. Water can get trapped in vents near volcanoes causing surrounding water to reach over 190 degrees F.
4. The ocean provides most of the earth’s oxygen
A misconception that people often have is that the majority of the oxygen we breathe comes from rainforests. However, land plants are only responsible for about 28 percent of the earth's oxygen while 70 percent is coming from the ocean. We can thank marine plants such as phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton for this. Some of the species in these categories are considered the most abundant photosynthetic organisms on the planet. The ocean is more vital to our survival than we know.
5. The ocean contains more ancient artifacts than any museums
There are an estimated 3 million sunken ships that are spread across the planet on the ocean floor. There are 10,000 submerged wrecks and obstructions in the coastal waters of the United States alone. Some of these wrecks can be dated back thousands of years ago, while also containing ancient cultural artifacts. Artifacts from the Titanic have been valued at an estimated $189 million. Ships aren’t the only form of transportation that has ended up in ocean waters. Oceans, rivers, and lakes also contain airplanes from war and civil aviation. Due to the large percentage of the ocean that has not been explored, there is probably much more physical evidence of history that we do not yet know about.