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Earthquakes at Convergent Plate Boundaries

Shallow- to deep-focus earthquakes occur at subduction zones and along the subducting plate.

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Journey into the Abyss

Journey into the Abyss


Credit: U.S. Navy
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bathyscaphe_Trieste.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

What would you do if you had $600 million? James Cameron decided he wanted to go exploring. So he followed in the footsteps of the Trieste to the deepest part of the ocean.

Amazing But True!

Credit: United States Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Philippine_Sea_location.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Mariana Islands (east of the Philippine Sea) - Challenger Deep at the base of the Mariana Trench [Figure2]

The Challenger Deep is the deepest point of the Mariana Trench, which the deepest feature on Earth. If you want to dive to those depths and live, you’d better have a good submersible. James Cameron, the director of blockbusters like Avatar and Titanic, can afford to build a really good sub. He also has a real desire to explore the oceans. In March 2012, Cameron made the first solo dive ever to the bottom of the Challenger Deep. He went to 35,787 feet (almost 11,000 meters) deep! Cameron’s sub took video and samples in the Challenger Deep and at other locations. That data has been studied by a variety of scientists.

Explore More

With the links below, learn more about James Cameron’s trip into the Challenger Deep and his submersible. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Explorers had been to the bottom of the deep in 1960. Why did Cameron need to go back?
  2. For every 33 feet (10 meters) you go down in the ocean, the pressure increases by 1 bar. What was the pressure on the Deepsea Challenger at its deepest point?
  3. What can geologists learn from the dive into the Challenger Deep?
  4. Why is the seafloor at the Challenger Deep thought to be so smooth?
  5. What do geologists want to learn about the pillow lavas in the New Britain Trench?
  6. If you had $600 million to spend on science, what would you do with it?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: U.S. Navy; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bathyscaphe_Trieste.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: United States Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook.; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Philippine_Sea_location.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


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