Deep-Sea Dump: ROVs Expose Trashed Ocean Floor
by Nadia Drake
Think all those tires, bags, shoes and bottles discarded into the ocean somehow make it back to land?
Instead of washing ashore, much of what we throw in the ocean stays there, slowly sinking to the bottom, releasing pollutants into the water, wrapping around corals, or, in some cases, becoming part of a critter-covered landscape. In the deep sea, low oxygen levels, scarce sunlight, and freezing water limit the rate at which items decompose: Something that might survive a few years on land could exist for decades underwater.
Off Southern California, an abandoned shoe rests on the ocean floor, 1,548 feet down. There’s a tire 2,850 feet beneath the surface in the Monterey Canyon. Also in the canyon? An enormous shipping container, now under 4,200 feet of water…
(read more: Wired Science)
images by MBARI:
T - This chair looks like it escaped from a classroom and plunged into the Monterey Canyon, where it now sits, nearly 10,500 feet down
M - This can of Coors has boldly gone where no Coors can has gone before (we think): It’s resting on lava, 8,444 feet down, at Taney Seamounts off central California
B - A metal box submerged in nearly 8,000 feet of water is now in the realm of crabs and octopuses