Water makes up about 71% of the Earth’s surface. It has often been said that, “we know more about the surface of the moon than we do of the ocean floor”, or that we know more of space in general than we do of our oceans. This is not necessarily true, depending on how you define the parameters of the statement. We actually do have the ocean floor fully mapped to a resolution of five kilometers. But the detail of our knowledge with regards to the ocean floor is less than our nearest celestial neighbors: the moon, mars and venus. Of the ocean, we can make out great, big ridges and deep canyons, but anything smaller than that is largely beyond our understanding. Satellite imagery has been our best method to date, because we generally can’t send humans very deep: the mere pressure of all the water would crush us. However, we are accruing more knowledge of the deep ocean all the time, largely thanks to (usually unmanned) deep-sea submersibles.
10. The Ice Finger of Death!
As far as the names given to the species, objects, and phenomena on this list, “The Ice Finger of Death” is number one. And it looks super cool, too. And when first discovered, scientists were taken aback, unsure of what it was. What the Ice Finger of Death actually is, is a brinicle. What? Still not clear? You see, the ocean covers some pretty cold places, like the Arctic and Antarctic. But ocean water doesn’t freeze like tap water in the freezer. The thicker, saltier components –the brine– swirl together and form a cone, like an icicle. Hence, brinicle. Because the brinicle is significantly colder than the rest of the water around it, it can be very dangerous and even deadly to nearby sea life, such as sea urchins and starfish.