Whittling the Earth Wednesday


Edited Landsat 8 image of one of the deep blue holes in the Caribbean Sea. Once seen as too remote to harm, the deep sea is facing new pressures from mining, pollution, overfishing and more. (Photo: Stuart Rankin / Flickr)

Imagine sinking into the deepest parts of the Central Pacific Ocean, somewhere between Mexico and Hawaii. Watch as the water turns from clear to blue to dark blue to black. And then continue on for another 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) to the seafloor — roughly the distance from the peak of California’s Mount Whitney to the bottom of nearby Death Valley.

“As soon as you start to descend, all of the wave action and bouncing goes away and it’s like you’re just floating and then you sink really slowly and watch the light fade out through the windows and then you really are in another world,” says Erik Cordes, a researcher at Temple University and frequent visitor to the deep ocean.

Finally, you come to a stop 12,000 feet (3,700 meters) below the last bits of light from the surface. The water here is strangely viscous yet remarkably transparent, and the light from your flashlight extends for hundreds of yards. You are in the heart of the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, a region of the ocean seafloor roughly the size of the United States, populated by colorless invertebrates adapted in astounding ways to the sparse, crushing conditions found here.

And all around you — as far as the eye can’t see — are small, spherical rocks. Varying from microscopic to the size of a volleyball, they look like something stolen from the set of “Gremlins” or maybe “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

And they’re worth millions. Because inside these mysterious little eggs are untouched stores of copper, titanium, cobalt and especially manganese — crucial for making anything from the steel in your car’s frame to the circuitry that tells you how much gas is left in it. Some metals exist in larger quantities here than on all the continents of the world — and you had better believe they have caught the eye of mining companies.



About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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17 Responses to Whittling the Earth Wednesday

  1. Den says:

    A blazing, towering inferno that did not collapse in its own footprint..


  2. Den says:

    Of course the media is focused on the shooting in VA, tragic but not surprising given the level of violence portrayed on TeeVee and video games, a 66 YO man from Illinois an apparent,disgruntled by the election, Bernie supporter, out to get puggers.


    • Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

      They shouldn’t be shocked, they’re the ones easing our pathetic gun rules. The mentally ill can now get a gun, in Michigan you don’t need a permit or classes in order to carry around a handgun. They want chaos, they’ll get chaos.


  3. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Not hot today so far, but still very humid. I heard thunder when I got up this morning, it started to rain and it was just enough to dampen and everything a tad and that was that. Shoot. MICHIGAN NEEDS RAIN!


  4. Den says:

    People are snapping everywhere, in San Fran a UPS guy went berserk and killed several employees. Lock and load, you might have to shoot back!


  5. Den says:

    Anyone know who Mickey Gilley is?


    • Den says:

      I take that as a no.


    • Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

      Had to google him:
      Mickey Leroy Gilley is an American country music singer and musician. Although he started out singing straight-up country and western material in the 1970s, he moved towards a more pop-friendly sound …


  6. Den says:

    For all you non-Mickey Gilley fans there is this:


  7. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    I’m afraid I’ve never heard his music. I’ve never been a country/western fan. Jill tells me I’m to say “country” from now on, it’s not country/western.


  8. Carol ٩(-̮̮̃-̃)۶ says:

    Been in the house for awhile then I heard thunder, heard rain. Got my shoes back on, grabbed a beer and went out to the garage patio to watch the rain. Humph. It was done in minutes, ended up the walkway and patio were mostly dry, and alas, the thunder dried up. Now I’m back in the house, party over.


  9. David B. Benson says:

    Old Post Office took 26 minutes.


  10. Den says:

    His song was used in the Urban Cowboy movie, a ‘Country’ drama:


  11. Den says:

    A Room Full of Roses:


  12. Den says:

    The Girls All Get Prettier @ Closing Time:


  13. Den says:

    That is Mickey Gilley!


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