The ocean covers 70% of the world's surface, and it is full of countless mysteries and undiscovered secrets. What scientists know about the ocean is expanding every day, though. Complicated sonar mapping offers further insights, as does the discovery of new, sometimes terrifying species. There is a lot left to learn, but the facts about the ocean we know now are already strange and astounding.
Oceans greatly affect life on Earth, so our fascination with these large bodies of water makes sense. Despite their sometimes terrifying natures, oceans and the creepy creatures that live in them are worthy research topics.
There are many examples of incredibly large creatures residing in the deep ocean. Scientists believe deep sea gigantism affects these water-dwellers. They likely exist because larger animals survive more efficiently in the deep ocean.
Additionally, a larger body mass protects them from the extremely cold temperatures.
In space, black holes exert powerful gravitational pulls that prevent anything from escaping them. The oceans have large eddies that operate in a similar manner. Some are over 150 kilometers (approximately 93 miles) in diameter, spinning in a way that traps water in a giant loop, like an underwater black hole.
These eddies help redistribute water of different temperatures and salinity levels.
In 2011, a group of scientists estimated that 86% of all species on Earth were still unknown to man. The researchers also concluded that approximately 91% of all oceanic creatures still await discovery, as well.
While most of these species are likely microorganisms, the 1925 discovery of the colossal squid suggests larger creatures may lurk in the ocean, too.
Scientists estimate phytoplankton create between 50% and 85% of the world's oxygen. These tiny plants drift along the surface of the ocean, soaking in sunlight in order to create the essential element through the process of photosynthesis.
In fact, scientists believe the oxygen produced by phytoplankton helped create the ozone layer in the Earth's upper atmosphere.