Deep under the waves, the ocean is not just a dark place. The underwater landscapes hold ancient events, mysterious animal behavior, and vast gardens of glass and octopuses. Each contributes new facts and riddles to this incredible aquatic world. However, the ocean also has a scary side—from wrecking the weather on land to blowing giant holes in the seafloor and countries.
1 The Loudest Fish
One can be forgiven for not associating fish with noise. More often than not, they are mute. One species, however, can be very vocal during reproduction. The Gulf corvina is a large, silverfish about the size of a snowboard. During spring, when the tides and lunar phases are perfect, shoals migrate to the Colorado River Delta. The event is an unforgettable one and worth seeing. When corvinas gather, they pack together in a sheet that can span for miles. In 2014, scientists followed the spawning shoal and used underwater equipment to record their sounds.
The loudest noise captured during the study hit a deafening 150 decibels, which is a record among fish. Additionally, the sound also rated among the loudest ever recorded underwater—and very capable of damaging the hearing of other creatures, including sea mammals. Researchers believe that male corvinas are responsible for the chorus. Similar to frogs and crickets, the boys produce a throaty croak to attract females.
“The blob” is not as adorable as it sounds. This massive anomaly—a patch of hot water in the Northeast Pacific—affects the weather in extreme ways. The blob was blamed for the persistent California drought (2013–2015), Seattle’s hottest year (2015), and the freakish polar vortex intrusions of two winters (2013–2014 and 2014–2015).In 2018, the return of the oceanic hot spot was caused by unusually warm weather in Alaska during the fall. Though the blob is famously crabby, it remains hard to predict the phenomenon’s moods.When it made another appearance in 2016, the spot showed many signs of troubling times ahead but faded away before anything could go wrong. The latest manifestation leans toward weakening in the same way, but even the experts admit that nothing is certain when it comes to the blob.Either way, Alaska has already suffered notable damage. The southeastern rain forest is in the grip of a persistent drought, and snowfall showed a record delay.
2 Rectangular Iceberg
In 2018, an unusual photo turned an iceberg into a social media star. A far cry from the usual mountain-shaped behemoths, this icy wonder was almost perfectly rectangular and flat.As it turns out, this shape is not unknown to scientists. Called “tabular icebergs,” they form during calving (when pieces dislodge from a parent iceberg).
The rectangles commonly occur after an ice shelf extends too far and then breaks off at the tip. This gives them a geometric shape. A whopping 90 percent of the tabular iceberg remains hidden underwater. This unseen part is usually perfectly angular, too. In this case, the sheet came from the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. Even though these floating tabletops are known to science, this one was unusual. For once, it was almost short enough to be a square. The size of the object remains unknown. But judging from the image, it could be as long as 1.6 kilometers (1 mi). 7 Largest Octopus Nursery
Most octopuses live solitary lives. This made the discovery of about 100 nesting together near Costa Rica a sensational find. However, this nursery paled in comparison to another found by accident in 2018.Off the coast of California, marine biologists steered a remotely operated vehicle at a depth of 3.2 kilometers (2 mi). The goal was to study an underwater volcano called the Davidson Seamount.As the vehicle turned a corner, it happened across the world’s biggest deep-sea octopus garden. The species was Muusoctopus robustus, and over 1,000 huddled together. Nearly 99 percent were females guarding eggs between the volcano’s cracks.
Their unprecedented conglomeration is not the only unanswered question about the Davidson group. Researchers do not know why the water appears to shimmer around the octopuses.One theory suggests that heat is behind the glitter, which could explain why the creatures gathered at Davidson to successfully incubate their eggs. Since the volcano is extinct, the heat could be coming from an unknown source. 6 Canyon That Removes CO2
3 The Porcupine Bank Canyon
Ths is an underwater trench marking the border of Ireland’s continental shelf. In 2018, an effort was made to map the sheer cliffs and contours. Near the canyon’s edge, the research drone discovered something amazing: The underwater trench removed carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere using two species and death. Porcupine Bank came fringed with corals snacking on dead plankton. While dwelling near the surface, living plankton grow by packing their bodies with CO2 from the atmosphere.
When they die, they sink down into the ocean, taking the CO2 with them. In turn, the corals eat the plankton and use that carbon to build their own structures. When the coral perishes, it tumbles deeper into the canyon. Researchers found a massive amount of dead coral inside the canyon, all with CO2 locked up inside them. Sadly, this process cannot stop climate change. But at least, it showed that nature has ways to remove some of the greenhouse gas from the air.
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