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Spanish submarine plumbs new depths: National record broken by 11-kilometre Pacific descent
06 May 2021 @ 18:45

A SUBMARINE from Spain has beaten the national depth record by plunging into the second-most profound section of the Mariana Trench, and the third on earth.

The  DSV Limiting Factor at Cumberland East Bay, South Georgia Island, being trialled (photo: Richard Varcoe for Caladan Oceanic, via Wikimedia Commons)

This Trench, which lies in the western Pacific Ocean and runs several hundred kilometres to the south-west of US-owned island Guam, east of The Philippines and north-east of Indonesia, goes down to 36,037 feet, or 10,984 metres.

The DSV ('Deep Submergence Vehicle') Limiting Factor, built by the Catalunya-based firm Triton Submarine EMEA and piloted by engineer Héctor Salvador from the province of Lugo, Galicia, descended to the bottom of the Sirena Deep, which is 10,714 metres or 35,151 feet and the third-furthest down on earth after Horizon Deep and Challenger Deep.

Located in the Tonga Trench between New Zealand and Fiji, the Horizon Deep is approximately 10,800 metres or 35,433 feet down, and Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench and within the offshore territory of Micronesia, is estimated to be around 10,929 metres, or 35,856 feet down.

Along with co-pilot and mission leader Tim MacDonald, from Australia, the 12-hour immersion – the second-deepest in history to date – was aimed at recovering a scientific module that had become trapped on the sea floor the previous day.

The crew then took samples of microbial tissue from the sediment in the Trench, which are of huge interest to scientists and are now being studied in a laboratory.

Other samples from the bottom of the Trench are due to be delivered to the Spanish Navy to be put on display in the Illustrious Marines Pantheon in San Fernando, Cádiz province, as a tribute to the Naval officers who lost their lives during the 16th-century round-the-world trip in the Nao Victoria, the first-ever circumnavigation of the globe led by Portugal's Fernando Magalhães and Spain's Juan Elcano.



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