Explorer dives to deepest point in the ocean, stunned to find plastic

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 18, 2019

Victor Vescovo is a retired naval officer and the Dallas-based co-founder of Insight Equity Holdings, a private equity fund. Robotic landers were also deployed to explore the remote terrain.

"Vescovo's discovery of plastic in the deepest part of the ocean is disturbing but not surprising because plastic is found throughout the water column in our oceans", he said in a statement.

Explorer and businessman Victor Vescovo descended 35,853 feet (10,927 meters) into the Pacific Ocean, breaking the record for deepest dive ever. Vescovo is only the third adventurer to ever accomplish the feat. Film director James Cameron also made a second dive into the trench 2012.

His dive went 16 meters lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench in 1960.

To show how deep it is, think about this: If you were to drop Mount Qomolangma, which is more than 8,000 meters tall, into the Mariana Trench, there would still be almost two kilometers of water between the mountain's summit and the surface.

Scientists have found large amounts of microplastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

"Now in the winter of my life, it was a great honour to be invited on this expedition to a place of my youth".

Lieutenant Don Walsh, USN, and Jacques Piccard in the bathyscaphe TRIESTE. This is where Victor Vescovo broke the record for the deepest dive, reaching just shy of seven miles.

Mr Vescovo found a plastic bag and lolly wrappers, as well as four new species of prawn.

"We feel like we have just created, validated, and opened a powerful door to discover and visit any place, any time, in the ocean-which is 90 percent unexplored", Vescovo said on April 28 after completing his dive down into Challenger Deep, the world's deepest spot at the southern end of the Mariana Trench.

This is a spoon worm (Echiura) like the one Vescovo saw in the Mariana Trench.

Media reports stating that an American explorer spotted a plastic bag lying on the floor of the world's deepest ocean floor may or may not be true, according to a spokeswoman for people who actually visited the ocean floor. According to CNN, the team plans to test these samples to check how much plastic underwater species may be ingesting.

The challenges of exploring the deep ocean - even with robotic vehicles - has made the ocean trenches one of the last frontiers on the planet.

"I think nearly exactly 12 hours, [i.e.] four hours on the bottom, which I think is the longest anyone has ever been on the bottom of the Challenger Deep".

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