September 5th, 2007
Relax, there’s no pressure now!
Science trivia hunters loved this sciensational physics fact:
At the ocean’s deepest point, due to immense pressure, an iron ball would take more than an hour to sink to the ocean floor.
This is because of pressure (hydrostatic pressure in this case.) Let’s see, or rather, feel what it is.
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you must have noticed how your ears pop when the plane reaches a certain altitude. That’s pressure playing tricks on us, as the airplane makes it comfortable for us by adjusting its cabin pressure, because the pressure outside would simply suck us right out of the plane!
And it’s all the same with a heavy iron ball deep near the ocean floor, where the ball has to fight water pressure. You see, water is heavy – much heavier than air, so naturally it exerts more pressure. The deeper we go into the sea, the more water above us, meaning more weight above us – more pressure! We can feel a little sample of this pressure when we’re right at the bottom of a swimming pool and feel our ear drums being pinched — kind of ears popping on an airplane above.
The deepest location on Earth is Mariana Trench, about 11km deep in the North Pacific ocean.
Now the pressure at the Mariana Trench is an amazing 8 tons per square inch! Compare that to a measly 1 kg right now to most of us on sea level, ha!
What this means is that a heavy iron ball to us now feels heavy because of such little pressure around us. But, when it meets its true pressure match under ocean, at mighty 8 tons, it would be like a breadcrumb floating inside your goldfish’s bowl!
Speaking of Mariana Trench, Sciensational reader Nikhil gave us an idea of just how deep that is:
If Mount Everest were placed at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean, its peak would still be a mile underwater.
Now that’s deep!