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Oceanic Pressure

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Pressure in the Ocean

How much pressure can someone really withstand?

Credit: Steve Evans
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Barrier_Reef_107_(5395084484).jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

[Figure1]

Creative Applications

As we know, the deeper you get in water, the more pressure there is. When we dive into pools, which are generally about 8 feet deep, the pressure from the water is much greater than the pressure inside our ears, which causes ear discomfort. Divers in the ocean have to be particularly aware of the pressure because of how it can affect them underwater. James Cameron currently holds the record of completing the deepest solo dive to the Mariana Trench, which is seven miles beneath the surface of the western Pacific. The Mariana Trench is deeper than Mount Everest is high!

  1. Convert 7 miles to feet, and determine how many swimming pools James Cameron dived. 
  2. Why is it extremely difficult for a human to go to the absolute bottom of the ocean? 
  3. How are people able to go down so far?
  4. What could you compare the pressure of James Cameron’s expedition to? 
  5. How are deep sea animals able to withstand the pressure? 

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Steve Evans; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Great_Barrier_Reef_107_(5395084484).jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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