Tuesday, 26 May, 2020

Plastic waste among new discoveries made during record breaking Marana Trench dive

Deanna Wagner | 14 May, 2019, 16:22

Vescovo, the Dallas-based co-founder of private equity fund Insight Equity Holdings, found the man made material on the ocean floor and is trying to confirm that it is plastic, a spokeswoman for Vescovo's Five Deeps Expedition said.

"It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean", Vescovo said.

An announcement made Monday said that on May 1, the 53-year-old Vescovo descended 35,853 feet, or almost seven miles into the bottom of Challenger Deep, which is part of the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, according to CNN.

Now Victor Vescovo has broken the record for the deepest dive - by an extra 11m.

Vescovo's dive was one of five made by the team between April 28 and May 5, which included the deepest marine salvage operation ever attempted.

Discoveries in the Challenge Deep included "vibrantly colorful" rocky outcrops that could be chemical deposits, prawn-like supergiant amphopods, and bottom-dwelling Holothurians, or sea cucumbers.

Millions of tonnes of plastic enter the oceans each year, but where it all goes it a bit of mystery.

View from "Limiting Factor" submarine during a Mariana Trench dive.

While discovering plastic in the ocean's depths isn't new, scientists will now begin testing the creatures collected to see if they contain microplastics.

Victor Vescovo and his team are in the middle of the Five Deeps Expedition.

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What is the Mariana Trench? Canadian movie maker James Cameron was the last to visit in 2012 in his submarine, reaching a depth of 35,787 feet (10,908 meters).

The submarine "Limiting Factor" is prepared at a drop point above the Mariana Trench.

"Most importantly we have opened the door to the final frontier - the exploration of the hadal zone and the workings of the deepest parts of the world's oceans".

"It is nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", Vescovo told the BBC.

It can withstand the crushing pressure found at the bottom of the ocean: 1,000 bars, which is the equivalent of 50 jumbo jets piled on top of a person.

Diving isn't Vescovo's only passion- he's also a climber. "I'm hopeful that we'll be able to study the ocean before we destroy it".

These conditions also made it challenging to capture footage - the Five Deeps expedition has been followed by Atlantic Productions for a documentary for the Discovery Channel.

The dive series has helped the Five Deeps research team identify three new species of marine animals, including a type of long-appendaged Amphipod. They also found pollution.

Once thought to be remote, desolate areas, the deep sea teems with life.