Mariana Trench

The Mariana Trench, also known as the Mariana trough, is a deep groove ( deep ditch ) in the western Pacific Ocean, with a maximum depth of 11,034 ( 10,994 ± 40) meters is the deepest part of the ocean and is about 2400 ( 2500) kilometers long. The water pressure is at its lowest point around 1070 bar. It was named as the archipelago of the Mariana Islands after the Spanish Queen Mariana of Austria.


Far north of the equator of the Mariana Trench runs directly east of belonging to the Micronesian Islands of the Marianas chain. He averages about 2,000 kilometers east of the Philippines, north and south of Marian island of Guam. With its lowest point of about 11,000 meters of trench shall be deemed tiefstgelegener seabed of the earth. To the north, this semi-circular deep groove opens into the ditch bonuses, which is adjoined to the north of the Japan trench. To the north are the Marshall basin, in the south of the Caroline Islands, in the southwest of Yapgraben and in the West - Behind the Mariana Islands - the Philippines pool. There lies the Mariana Trench approximately between 12 ° and 25 ° north latitude and 142 ° and 147 ° east longitude. The trench itself has a length of about 2400 kilometers.

The Mariana Trench is part of a system that consists of the West Mariana Ridge, the Mariana basin ( backarc basin ), the Mariana island arc, the Mariana forearc basin and the Mariana Trench ( subduction zone ). The West Mariana Ridge is the western edge of a former island arc that has split millions of years ago. Meanwhile, the two parts move since at a rate of a few centimeters per year away from each other, whereby the current Mariane pool is created. Was triggered by the immersion of the ocean floor into the Earth (where the Mariana Trench is located ) resulting tensile forces.

Sea ​​lows

In the Mariana Trench are among other things these marine lows:

  • Witjastief 1 ( 11,034 meters); deepest known point of the ocean
  • Challenger Deep ( 10,994 meters)
  • Triestetief ( 10,916 meters)
  • HMRG Low ( 10,809 meters)

A study of the University of New Hampshire from December 7, 2011 was for the Challenger Deep, a depth of 10,994 meters.


The Mariana Trench forms the eastern part of the deep seam of Philippine plate to the west and the Pacific plate to the east. Here subducted oceanic plate under an older to a younger oceanic plate. The Pacific plate, which is subducted, is about one hundred and fifty million years old in the area of the Mariana Trench, and accordingly the oceanic lithosphere has become there since their formation very heavy and thick ( during cooling take both the density and the thickness of the lithosphere to ).

Exploration of the Mariana Trench

Already in 1899 was determined by the U.S. ship "Nero" in the Mariana Trench by Drahtlotung a sea depth of 9,660 meters.

1951 to a depth of 10,899 m was found with soundings ( 10,863 meters per Drahtlotung ) by the crew of the British surveying ship " Challenger II"; this point they gave the name of the Challenger.

In 1957, the International Geophysical Year Witjastief 1 ( 11,034 meters) was discovered by the same Soviet research vessel in the Mariana Trench.

On January 23, 1960, the Swiss Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh of Americans explored the gutter with the submersible Trieste and increased it to 10,916 m ( Triestetief ) from.

More recently (1997/2001) dedicated, for example, the Hawaii Mapping Research Group ( HMRG ) the mapping of the Mariana Trench.

2012 James Cameron came to the U- boat " Deepsea Challenger " before the deepest point of the sea. He collected there over three hours data and filmed the deep sea world ( 10,898 m). After Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh ( 10,916 m) Cameron is thus the third man to reach the deepest point of the oceans.

Deepest previously known location of the ocean

First, the Galatheatief was in the Philippine Trench with 10,540 meters sea depth as the deepest part of the oceans, since 1957 the Witjastief 1 holds in the Mariana Trench 11,034 meters with this item; numerous sources give 11,022 meters as local depth - the first value refers probably to echo sounding and the second to Drahtlotung.


On 18 January 2009, the Mariana Trench of President George W. Bush was declared a national monument in the United States. As part of a survey in 2011, conducted by Geoforschern the University of New Hampshire in the United States with an underwater robot, it should be examined whether the United States is entitled to greater ocean regions around the U.S. islands of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The results were published in late 2011. A sea zone of 200 nautical miles belongs to international recognition for their respective territories. The university researchers have identified on their maps four underwater mountains that could be considered as an extension of the American territory of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands from.