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April 10, 2012 6:54 AM   Subscribe


 
Can someone explain the "Marianas Trench (Actual Horizontal Scale)" thing? Is it just so wide that it's depth doesn't compare?
posted by griphus at 6:57 AM on April 10, 2012


Did somebody say 'Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald'?
posted by box at 6:58 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, that the Edmund Fitzgerald/Kursk/Lusitania sank in water shallower than they were long blew my mind.
posted by troika at 7:00 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think "Actual Horizontal Scale" means the horizontal scale matches the vertical scale (whereas the main image is compressed horizontally compared to vertically).
posted by exogenous at 7:01 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is fantastic. However, in the spirit of nerdery, I have to point out that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in two pieces, not one.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:02 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the shallow water sinkings were amazing but the Titanic one is even more amazing. I don't know whether to hope those poor people were drowned first or crushed by pressure first. Could they even have survived in air pockets at that depth? Would there even BE air pockets at that depth? How long would it take to sink 4 km? (Holy Moses, 4 kilometers.)
posted by DU at 7:08 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


It reminds me a lot of the 'Tallest Mountain to Deepest Ocean Trench' infographic that came out after Deepwater Horizon spilled its guts all over the Gulf of Mexico and provided some great perspective on the depths of the ocean.
posted by librarylis at 7:10 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


What's that white line about halfway down, but horizontally between the Titanic and the aircraft carrier? What are you trying to tell us, Randall?!
posted by barnacles at 7:11 AM on April 10, 2012


Well, if we're going to look at how deep everything is, it behooves us to also see how high.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:12 AM on April 10, 2012


I'm shocked by the free-diving and scuba depth records, the Ohio submarine's incredibly shallow depth limit, and the insane depths sperm whales achieve! Talk about a taste for calamari!
posted by jeffburdges at 7:14 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's really impressive is the depth of restraint Munroe used to not include a Cthulhu/R'lyeh/Mythos reference.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have to say I was kind of heartbroken to find out the Marianas Trench was not actually much of a trench but just a spot where the ocean floor gradually went down and then back up again. I always had visions of those deep diving subs descending into a narrow canyon with steep walls on either side.

Facts can be jerks sometimes.
posted by bondcliff at 7:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


this needs an "eldritch horrors of the deep" tag
posted by elizardbits at 7:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


XKCD does this kind of thing very well. At this point in time better than the comics, I would say.
posted by Harald74 at 7:18 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


No, no survivability to the bottom. But the reality is worse, as more than 1000 floated around dying of hypotermia over the course of 20 minutes while the survivors listened from the lifeboats.
posted by DU at 7:20 AM on April 10, 2012


I don't know whether to hope those poor people were drowned first or crushed by pressure first. Could they even have survived in air pockets at that depth? Would there even BE air pockets at that depth?

I actually saw something about this on the Discovery Channel once - they addressed the issue of "anyone caught in air pockets", and I forget what the explanation was but the takeaway was that they'd be crushed by the pressure before too long anyway. (And mercifully would pass out first.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:21 AM on April 10, 2012


Yeah, the shallow water sinkings were amazing but the Titanic one is even more amazing. I don't know whether to hope those poor people were drowned first or crushed by pressure first. Could they even have survived in air pockets at that depth? Would there even BE air pockets at that depth? How long would it take to sink 4 km? (Holy Moses, 4 kilometers.)

The sinking of the USS Scorpion wiki page might offer some insight. The picture of the control fin is amazing.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:22 AM on April 10, 2012


But the reality is worse, as more than 1000 floated around dying of hypotermia over the course of 20 minutes while the survivors listened from the lifeboats.

On the big list of Horrible Ways To Die, hypothermia isn't supposed to be all that bad once you stop shivering. You just sort of drift off as all the various layers of your brain shut down.

So there's that.
posted by bondcliff at 7:23 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


. . . yay?
posted by Think_Long at 7:24 AM on April 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I switched modes there from "horrible way to die" (trapped in air pocket over a mile under water) to "horrible way to survive" (listening to the screams of the dying inches away).
posted by DU at 7:25 AM on April 10, 2012


> the Ohio submarine's incredibly shallow depth limit

Published depth limit.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:27 AM on April 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can anybody clue me in on what exactly he's talking about with the "mysterious door" James Cameron wanted to open? Is that an in-joke or something? I haven't heard anything about that, and googling is useless so far (maybe I'm doing it wrong.)
posted by koeselitz at 7:36 AM on April 10, 2012


koeselitz: "Can anybody clue me in on what exactly he's talking about with the "mysterious door" James Cameron wanted to open? Is that an in-joke or something? I haven't heard anything about that, and googling is useless so far (maybe I'm doing it wrong."

It's just XKCD silliness. See: other XKCD strips.
posted by barnacles at 7:41 AM on April 10, 2012


Can anybody clue me in on what exactly he's talking about with the "mysterious door" James Cameron wanted to open? Is that an in-joke or something? I haven't heard anything about that, and googling is useless so far (maybe I'm doing it wrong.)

Yeah, it's XKCD having fun with the recent diving activity/stunt James Cameron did to the bottom(?) of Marianas Trench.
posted by inigo2 at 7:43 AM on April 10, 2012


hovertext: 'James Cameron has said that he didn't know its song would be so beautiful. He didn't close the door in time. He's sorry.'
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:44 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked learning about the Kola borehole, which is one of those things that makes you realize we live in an era of diminished expectations. We used to drill to the center of the Earth just to see if we could. How did we get so boring (no pun intended)?

Then again, the comparison to the Deepwater Horizon is revealing. We may end up actually drilling to the center of the Earth to get any remaining oil. Or to build the mother of all geothermal plants.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:39 AM on April 10, 2012


I hadn't realized that Deepwater Horizon was the deepest oil well ever dug. That really sucks that BP botched it.
posted by straight at 8:51 AM on April 10, 2012


I thought that was a joke about the movie "The Abyss," only most of which I have managed to forget.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:53 AM on April 10, 2012


Googles "mercury" and "bowie"
Slaps head
Posts his shame
posted by rahnefan at 8:55 AM on April 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


This is fantastic. However, in the spirit of nerdery, I have to point out that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in two pieces, not one.

Send him an e-mail so he can fix it before the poster gets printed.

XKCD does this kind of thing very well. At this point in time better than the comics, I would say.

I'd think the most annoyed XKCD hater would be forced to give the guy a pass because the comic lets him make these awesome infographs once in a while. I'd be wrong.
posted by straight at 9:05 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain the "Marianas Trench (Actual Horizontal Scale)" thing?

He's proposing that the Marianas Trench is the hole left from where God took the earth to make Hawaii.
posted by Flashman at 9:17 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked learning about the Kola borehole

You may also come across mentions of the 'sounds of hell' being recorded from deep inside the hole. Every now and then the story comes back up in the tinfoil hat scene. I first heard of it from a friend in high school who was from a very Pentecostal family who was played the recordings at some revival/church service to get a good 'devil fear' going in the crowd. She was surprised at how effective (read: a few hours of near-mass hysteria) it was on the crowd.
posted by chambers at 9:21 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Moria! Moria! Wonder of the Northern world.
Too deep we delved there, and woke the nameless fear."

(Ain't working with Deepwater Horizon replacing Moria)
posted by jeffburdges at 9:25 AM on April 10, 2012


I am surprised the Marianas (Mariana?) Trench doesn't have an aymmetric profile - it's a subduction trench, which suggests it should be asymmetric.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:30 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]



This is fantastic. However, in the spirit of nerdery, I have to point out that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in two pieces, not one.

Send him an e-mail so he can fix it before the poster gets printed.


Well, actually, it is the subject of some debate as to whether the Fitzgerald broke up and sank, or sank and broke upon the bottom.

Personally, I tend to think that the ship dove in under a large series of waves, the pellets shifted forwards (combined with water intake from leaky hold covers), and she nosed into the bottom. The torque from the props and the ship's own momentum cause the ship to tear itself in two-ish and then settle there on the bottom with all 29 men in her crew.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:02 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Blame George Clooney, I suppose, but it's the perilously-placed Andrea Gail that really freaks the hell out of me, for some reason.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:33 PM on April 10, 2012


I am surprised the Marianas (Mariana?) Trench doesn't have an aymmetric profile - it's a subduction trench, which suggests it should be asymmetric.

Geographical authorities seem to have a preference for "Mariana" nowadays, but historically and in popular usage "Marianas" predominates. (I edited the Wikipedia article to put the second form back in; some pedant wanted it excised permanently.)

Anyway, that is just a diagram to illustrate a point. It's in no way a true profile of the trench. I found this one that looks pretty good.

the perilously-placed Andrea Gail

Well, vertical exaggeration, again. The actual edges of the continental shelf resemble ancient low mountains like the Appalachians more than sharp uplift mountains like the Rockies or the Alps. Some of the subduction zones, such as along the edge of the Pacific Plate, would probably be steep overall. Of course any shelf would vary its topography and have some steep dropoffs just like mountains.

In this example the total drop off is about 150m -- but over up to 20 km (some areas are much steeper, though). Call it a 1% grade, more or less -- well below the maximum grade of a railroad track (typically 2%). It's not really as dramatic as the whole "edge of the continental shelf" terminology would lead you to believe.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure anybody still on the Gail is already dead.
posted by dhartung at 4:18 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure anybody still on the Gail is already dead.

You would be surprised at how completely my terror of/for dead ships renders that fact entirely irrelevant and actually makes the whole thing somewhat more horrifying.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:27 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


y u brake xkcd?
posted by beerbajay at 3:26 AM on April 11, 2012


wut?
posted by Doohickie at 8:42 AM on April 11, 2012


What's that white line about halfway down, but horizontally between the Titanic and the aircraft carrier? What are you trying to tell us, Randall?!

I noticed that too. I think it might be the Cloverfield monster that Cameron unleashed, slowly working it's way to the surface.
posted by Theta States at 9:57 AM on April 11, 2012


The short white line seems to be 1337 meters below sea level.

I noticed the Deepwater Horizon well isn’t shown at the same depth in librarilys’s link (above the Marianas rather than below), and found out Deepwater Horizon is a platform that has drilled several deep wells, and Randall shows the record for the deepest oil and gaz well (10683m drilled + 1259m water; here’s more about Kola and others that went deeper); the fireball, sinking and oil spill happened at another well, dug at the “Macondo prospect”, both in the Tiber oilfield.
posted by Tobu at 11:49 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


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