Published: Wed, May 15, 2019
Science | By

Deepest ever dive made by man into the Mariana trench unearths plastic

Deepest ever dive made by man into the Mariana trench unearths plastic

Deep sea explorer Victor Vescovo, a 53-year-old financier and former Navy Reserve commander, traveled almost seven miles to the floor of the Challenger Deep, a relatively uncharted area at the southern tip of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific.

Vescovo's journey was filmed for Discovery Channel and has been dubbed the "Five Deeps Expedition".

Vescovo, the Dallas-based co-founder of private equity fund Insight Equity Holdings, found the man made material on the ocean floor and is trying to confirm that it is plastic, a spokeswoman for Vescovo's Five Deeps Expedition said. "As for the plastic, the team found a man-made object at the bottom of the Mariana Trench that resembles a bag, but it is hard to confirm it".

In the recent dive, Walsh accompanied a team up above on the ship, as Vescovo descended alone in a submersible called the DSV Limiting Factor.

He spent four hours exploring the bottom of the trench in his sub, built to withstand the huge pressure of the deep ocean.

This deepest point in the Mariana Trench is known as Challenger Deep, and it's only the third time human beings have reached the extreme depths.

Challenger Deep was first investigated by oceanographers Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard in 1960, but this will be the first on-camera evidence of what lies at the bottom of the Pacific.


American deep-sea explorer Victor Vescovo's undersea solo dive was 10,927 meters below the Pacific Ocean, 16 meters lower than the previous record which was set in 1960. Its next stop will be the Horizon Deep in the South Pacific Ocean's Tonga Trench, which measures at just under 11,000 meters deep to stack in as the second-deepest ocean trench in the world. The Mariana Trench is deeper than Mount Everest is tall.

The scientists now plan to test the creatures they collected to see if they contain microplastics - a recent study found this was a widespread problem, even for animals living in the deep.

"It is nearly indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did", Mr Vescovo said after arriving in Guam after the completion of the dives. More specifically, a plastic bag and sweet wrappers, along with new forms of marine life and creatures.

What's more shocking in the report is the epidemic proportions of plastic in the world's oceans, with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date. Atlantic Productions for Discovery Channel/Tamara Stubbs/Handout via REUTERS.

What can you find at the deepest point of the ocean?

For the fourth time, the Five Deeps Expedition has successfully dived to the bottom of one of the world's five oceans.

Like this: