Ocean Blog

Expedition Sets Ocean Depth Record in May

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Carbon chimneys seen at depths of 3,000 meters in the Mariana Trench, May 29, 2019. PC: Patricia Fryer

A scientific expedition to the depths of the Mariana Trench in May led by extreme explorer Victor Vescovo and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Professor Patricia Fryer set a record for reaching the deepest ocean.

The deep-submergent vehicle (DSV) Limiting Factor dove four times in the Challenger Deep area and the Mariana Trench during Vescovo’s Five Deeps Expedition with the goal of reaching the deepest point in each of Earth’s five oceans. Vescovo brought back sediment and a couple of rocks from the Sirena Deep that Fryer is examining at UH Mānoa to learn more about the mantle’s stress history in this geologically active area.

Patricia Fryer (center) with filmmaker and explorer James Cameron (L) and submersible designer Ron Allum (R) at the end of the Deepsea Challenge expedition in front of the submersible Deepsea Challenger Submersible. May 29, 2019, PC: Chris Symons

Fryer is interested in understanding the limits and origins of life and what factors influence itThe Limiting Factor submersible will be made available for future dives and will open a new era of hadal marine discovery.

Fryer, who is also an alumna of the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) Department of Earth Sciences (formerly Department of Geology and Geophysics), was requested on this expedition for her expertise on the Mariana Trench


“Being a part of this recent expedition was thrilling!” said Fryer. “This exemplifies the incredible, incremental advances we are making as a scientific community in looking at the world’s deepest ocean.”

The Limiting Factor was designed and built by Triton Submersibles as the only submersible certified to dive to unlimited ocean depth. The Molloy Deep in the Arctic is the last of the remaining dives to complete the Five Deeps Expedition goal.

Extreme explorer Victor Vescovo, May 29, 2019. PC: UH Mānoa

The Five Deeps Expedition is being filmed by Atlantic Productions for a five-part Discovery Channel documentary series due to air in late 2019.


For more information and photos, go online

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