What is the ‘midnight’ zone, the ocean area where the Titan submersible may be?
Located at depths of up to 4,000 metres, the ‘midnight’ zone is one of the most inhospitable areas of the ocean.
The search for the Titan submersible has reached a critical point. The authorities tasked with seeking the missing vessel are working day and night to locate it, after it lost communication with its support ship on Sunday.
Under two hours earlier, the Titan had begun a dive to the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, to visit the remains of the ship the Titanic, which sank in 1912 and sits some 3,800 metres below the surface. With the five Titan occupants’ oxygen supply expected to be used up today, time is running out.
Where is the ‘midnight’ zone?
Having set off on such a deep dive, the Titan may well currently be in an area of the ocean known as the ‘midnight’ zone. At this sea depth, which is also known as the bathypelagic zone, there is complete darkness.
The midnight zone is located between 1,000 metres and 4,000 metres below the surface. As natural light is quickly absorbed by water, it cannot reach a depth greater than about 1,000 metres, leading to total, permanent darkness.
High pressure, low temperature
In the midnight zone, there is also an extremely high degree of hydrostatic pressure - the force that liquid exerts on an object. Indeed, everything at this depth must endure 40 MPa of pressure - some 390 times higher than on the surface.
The average temperature of the water in the midnight zone is around just 4ºC.
Little life can survive in midnight zone
Per Geoenciclopedia, there are very few animals that can survive such harsh conditions. According to the resource, there are living beings in the environment that are capable of creating their own light. Their ability to survive is also aided by the fact that they expend less daily energy than other species.