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The Surreal Animal and Human Sounds of the Mariana Trench

A mission seven miles down reveals a surprisingly raucous soundscape.
A new octopod species discovered 14,000 feet deep in the Hawaiian Archipelago (image not connected to the Challenger Deep mission).
A new octopod species discovered 14,000 feet deep in the Hawaiian Archipelago (image not connected to the Challenger Deep mission).NOAA

Plunge to the most abysmal reaches of the ocean, roughly seven miles down in the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep trough, and what do you hear? Groaning behemoths, seismic rumbles, and yes, even the noise of ships far above churning the waves.

This surreal soundscape is now ours to trance out to thanks to scientists at NOAA and elsewhere, who dropped a microphone 36,000 feet down in the seas near Micronesia. Here’s some of what they noted during three weeks of monitoring, according to NOAA: