We have explored (by conservative estimates) less than 5% of the undersea world, yet have found extraordinary things, like the greatest mountain range on the planet in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This stretches an amazing 50,000 miles and has thousands of peaks higher than the Alps and valleys deeper, wider and larger than the Grand Canyon.
We have also found – in this measly 5% – massive undersea rivers, undersea lakes (of brine) and undersea waterfalls, all of which dwarf their land-based equivalents.
Undersea waterfalls occur where the undersea rivers drop from the continental shelf into the ocean basin and the biggest waterfall in the world – by a massive margin – is found beneath the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland where the cold arctic waters spill over into the Atlantic basin. These waters drop an astonishing 11,500 feet, which is three times as high as the highest land-based waterfall – Venezuela’s Angel Falls.
But it’s not just in height that this waterfall is a record breaker…it also carries at least 5 million cubic metres of water a second, which may be hard to visualise but when I tell you that Niagara comes in at a measly 2,400 cubic metres a second, you can get some sense of the extraordinary scale of this monster…
As far as land-based waterfalls are concerned, the biggest was the Guaira Falls on the border of Brazil and Paraguay (which ironically has itself now become an underwater waterfall, drowned by the artificial lake created by the Itaipu Dam). However, it still can’t compete with the whopper in the Denmark Strait, which is estimated to carry about 350 times as much water as the Guaira Falls.
You just have to ask yourself – if all this is in the 5% we have even vaguely explored, what else is out there, just waiting to be discovered?