There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench

By Maddie Stone on at

Need a pick-me-up on this dreary Monday morning? After checking out some of the nightmare-inducing life forms NOAA’s deep-sea diving robot discovered at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, sleep will be the last thing on your mind.

On April 20th, NOAA scientists working on the Okeanos Explorer dispatched their prized Deep Discoverer robot to scour the floor of the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on the surface of the Earth. Little is known about the ecology of this 7-mile crevice—in fact, it’s often said that we know more about the surface of Mars.

Now, NOAA is revealing the secrets of the Mariana Trench to the voyeurs of the internet, by live streaming the footage collected on Deep Discoverer’s three cameras. For best effect, we suggest viewing the stream along with these recent audio recordings from the Mariana Trench, which are best described as a cacophonous blend of frenzied screeches and otherworldly moaning.

If you can’t quite handle that right now, updates from each dive, as well as photos and videos, are being posted regularly on NOAA’s website.

The 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas, which will continue until July 10th, has already revealed a slew of fascinating, bizarre, and in some cases downright disturbing life forms. (That mess of mutated wires pictured up top? A rare, gorgonocephalid basket star.) We’ve collected a few of our favourite critters below. But if you spot something on the live feed, please do not hesitate to share it in the comments. The weirder the better!

 

There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana TrenchA deep-sea holothurian or sea cucumber, swimming at Fina Nagu Caldera D. There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench

A beautiful, stalked crinoid.

There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench
A Chimaera ghost shark, spotted at Northwest Guam Seamount.
There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench
A Chimaera ghost shark, spotted at Northwest Guam Seamount.
There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench
A blind deep-sea lobster, spotted at Northwest Guam Seamount.
There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench
A blind deep-sea lobster, spotted at Northwest Guam Seamount.
There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench
A gorgonocephalid basket stars, a relative of the brittle star.
There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench
Zoomed-out view of a rare aggregation of basket stars.
There Are Some Seriously Gnarly Creatures at the Bottom of the Mariana Trench
A hydromedusa jellyfish, spotted near “Enigma Seamount” at a depth of 3,700 metres.