Space & Innovation

Listen to the Sounds at the Deepest Part of the Ocean

Capturing the eerie sounds at 36,000 feet below the ocean surface

<p>Photo via NOAA</p>

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oregon State University, and the U.S. Coast Guard collaborated last year on a massive research project. They wanted to send an unmanned hydrophone down to the deepest known parts of the ocean and listen. At 36,000 feet (11 km), the titanium-encased hydrophone descended to the Challenger Deep, an area in the Mariana Trench near Micronesia. As you might expect, the pressure at that level is extreme--16,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). To put that in perspective, a typical home's pressure is 14.7 PSI, according to the NOAA.

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So, what did they hear? The team was surprised at all the sounds the hydrophone picked up. It was able to detect the noise of a Category 4 typhoon passing over the ocean's surface. It was also able to pick up sounds triggered by earthquakes and the calls of balleen whales. Gizmodo posted a few of the recordings, including these:

Listen to a magnitude 5 earthquake rumble nearby:

Listen to a balleen whale just before and after the earthquake.