Far beneath the surface of oceans and land, lie Earth’s deepest points. And even there, life flourishes.
Click start to play today’s Spell It to go with us on a journey to the planet’s ‘deepest’ places.
Here are five spots worth knowing:
1. Denman Glacier
The deepest place on land is in Antarctica, at a depth of 11,500 feet below sea level. Only in the ocean are valleys any deeper. The discovery was made in 2019, and illustrated in a new map of the white continent called BedMachine Antarctica, which reveals the bedrock beneath the ice sheet in incredible detail.
2. The Dead Sea
As the deepest exposed point on Earth, the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan dip 1,355 feet below sea level. The natural wonder has a unique ecosystem, and is the world’s deepest hypersaline lake. The water body itself is some 4 million years old, and one of the saltiest on Earth.
3. Atacama Trench
Located off the coasts of Peru and Chile, the Atacama Trench is one of the deepest ocean trenches in the world, with a maximum depth of 26,459 feet. Earlier this year, the first-ever crewed mission reached the bottom of the trench – the deepest region of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Scientists found a ‘pasture’ of holothurians or sea cucumbers grazing on the sea floor – a remarkable discovery that led to more questions than answers.
4. Mariana Trench
This crescent-shaped trench in the western Pacific, near Guam, is home to the true deepest point on Earth. Challenger Deep, in its southern end, is the deepest point in the ocean, with estimates placing it at a depth of 35,876 feet. The ocean’s second-deepest place is also in the Mariana Trench – the Sirena Deep is a crushing 35,462 feet deep.
5. Tonga Trench
As the deepest point in the southern hemisphere, and the second-deepest point on Earth after the Mariana Trench, the Tonga Trench lies at a depth of 35,702 feet in the south-west part of the Pacific Ocean. The region is home to the fastest plate tectonic velocity occurring on Earth. In 1952, a vessel named Horizon discovered the location, which is why the deepest part of the trench is named Horizon Deep.