The Ocean Remains The Most Psychedelic Place On Earth
The deep sea's most psychedelic feat is not its contribution to bacon-wrapped scallops, as mind-blowing as they are. We know little about the ocean; we've barely scratched the surface (only 21 people have hit up the Challenger Deep, after all). Yet, what we do know is pretty wonderous, and reality at that. No zonked-out caterpillar smoking a pipe on a mushroom here, Alice. (I mean, how would he even light the thing?)
Do you think you'd be able to distinguish much detail on Earth from miles away in space on the clearest day? Your apartment building, though? Nope. Yet, even in a red-eyed bong haze, you'd be able to catch a glimpse of the Great Barrier Reef, also known as the largest living form in the world.
Nature's original drugless psychedelia, some corals are able to absorb ultraviolet light via a protein they produce, and as a result, they emit a fluorescent glow. Just like the neon purples and yellows of a lava lamp, to put it in stoner terms. A defense mechanism, some researchers believe this to be a naturally occurring sunscreen to protect them from the sun's rays.
Too much hot water will kill a coral reef. As for the Great Barrier Reef, it has endured much danger as a result of rising ocean temperatures, and scientists have talked about creating low-rise clouds that would diffuse some light, allowing for the water to cool.
If this does not heighten your senses, then take a look at another aspect of the ocean. Fin whales.
Typically 60 to 85 feet long, these biological miracles can sing and be heard up to 600 miles away. Approximately five miles further than people hearing your shower performances every morning. Scientists are using fin's best hit singles to track down sound waves, helping us learn more about what the ocean floor might look like in a less harmful way.
According to Scientific America, "Seafloor imaging, which is important for studying things like earthquake mechanics and carbon storage capacity, typically uses large air guns that send blasts of sound downward." The sound waves seep into the Earth's crust and spring back to release info via special instruments on the seafloor. This is not cost-efficient, nor is it eco-friendly, as marine mammals who depend on sound communication find the air guns confusing and obnoxious. Fin whale songs provide a natural, non-harmful workaround for scientists.
Now let's dive a little deeper into the South Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench – home to the aforementioned Challenger Deep. As we mentioned, it's rarely visited, not because folks aren't into the idea, but rather the pressure down there is devastatingly crushing. Would you jump at the opportunity to travel down the deepest part of Earth over 36,000 feet? No sun, freezing temperatures, and home to the goblin shark (not a fairytale, an actual monster of the sea.) According to the BBC, "The trench is so deep, it would be possible to fit Mount Everest (8,848m) inside it and still have more than 2km of water above the peak. The pressure at the trench floor is crushing - some 100 million pascals, almost 16,000 pounds per square inch."
You'd probably look like this too if you inhabited the deepest part of the world with no sunlight.
Finally, on the bad acid trip side of oceanic marvels are the salt traps hiding in The Gulf of Mexico. See, the Gulf was shallow before it became, well … identifiable as water. Over one million years ago, as the little water it contained evaporated, it created thick layers of salt to build, hiding beneath the sediment. The layers continued to thrive, and as the salt began to escape the cracks, a highly concentrated brine took effect and is now considered the Jacuzzi of Despair.
A toxic underwater wasteland, the Jacuzzi of Despair hails "a lethal hellscape on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico" and "essentially pickles you to death." Small fish and crabs never make it out alive, and the best advice? Never go in cause the water's never fine.
For more of Oona’s sarcasm and attempted wit, visit her website oonaoffthecuff.com.
Top Image: PXFuel