How Deep Is the Ocean?

Mariana Trench, Everest

The Mariana Trench is even deeper than Mount Everest is tall. The deepest spot is called “Challenger Deep” after the HMS Challenger, a British Navy ship that found the Mariana Trench in 1875. The Challenger crew collected samples that laid the foundation for deep ocean research. VectorMine/Shutterstock

We can also compare different sites. A 2019 study published in the journal Earth-Science Reviews used the available data and research to break down the deepest zones in each of the global ocean’s five subregions. Here’s what the authors found:

  • The deepest point in the Arctic Ocean is a place called Molloy Hole. It’s located 18,599 feet (5,669 meters) below the surface.
  • The deepest part of the Indian Ocean? According to the study’s authors, that’s probably an unnamed part of the Java Trench situated 23,917 feet (7,290 meters) underwater.
  • As for the Southern Ocean, which encircles Antarctica, its deepest locality can be found within the South Sandwich Trench, at a depth of 24,229 feet (7,385 meters).
  • With a depth of 27,585 feet (8,408 meters), a Puerto Rico Trench site known as Milwaukee Deep is the deepest part of the mighty Atlantic Ocean.

“But wait!” you say. “What about the Pacific Ocean?” Fear not, we’ve saved the best for last. East of the Mariana Islands, a Pacific archipelago, there’s a yawning underwater chasm that adventurers and science fiction writers can’t get enough of.


Its name is the Mariana Trench and it contains the very deepest place in not only the Pacific, but in the entire global ocean as well, a site that’s labeled on our maps as “Challenger Deep.” The trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean.

Measuring its exact depth has proven tricky, but by a rather conservative estimate the 2019 study endorses, the sea floor here rests an incredible 35,843 feet (10,925 meters) below the water’s surface.

How deep is Challenger Deep? Plenty deep. Indeed, this Pacific point is even deeper than Mount Everest is tall. The peak of that Himalayan landmark is only around 29,026 feet (8,848 meters) above sea level. It’s the movements and interactions of Earth’s tectonic plates that form these extreme trenches, as well as the tallest mountains. 


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