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text and art by Thor Wickstrom

We need to find
So much of out what’s down
the ocean is there!
unexplored.

Let’s go!
October 2019 Volume 18 Number 7 cricketmedia.com $6.95

Here’s some fish, and So what lives deeper


down? Good luck,
some other fish, and Bot!
a rat, and a hippo... It’s too deep for us,
so we’ll have to send
our robot explorer.

Marvin to Bot- What do Hey! What are you


doing here?!?
you see? What new and
strange life forms? We live here!
What are you doing
I’m almost here?!
there...
Deep
Dark
Ocean
Volume 18, Number 8 October 2019

Liz Huyck Editor


Tracy Vonder Brink Contributing Editor
Emily Cambias Assistant Editor

Anna Lender Art Director


Erin Hookana Designer
David Stockdale Permissions Specialist

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Departments
Floor Panorama, Bruce C. Heezen and Marie Tharp, 1977. Copyright by Marie Tharp 1977/2003.
Reproduced by permission of Marie Tharp Maps LL; 11 (RB) Nicolas Primola/Shutterstock.com;
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4 Nestor’s Dock
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26 Ask Ask
Image courtesy of NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater Exploration
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Marianas, Leg 3; 16 (LT) NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Deepwater
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33 Marvin’s Clever Tricks


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back cover: Marvin and Friends
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t h e d e e pe st ocean?
in
What lives
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page 9
Features

map water?
6 Into the Deep
8 Marie Maps the Sea

u
by Liz Huyck

o y o
12
d
The Deepest Dive
o w
by Tracy Vonder Brink
H
16 Life in the Deep
by Carrie Tillotson page 22
20 Secrets of the Sea Vents
by Sarah Roggio
uzzy?

24
crab f

When a Whale Falls


27 Internet Ocean
s this

by Colette Parrinello
Why i

Is there life
after whale
page 25 ?
by
Elizabeth
Preston

S u r p r i s e
Tree Squid a r c h e r s th in k this bit of
R e se
c le a r y ellow stone. It come from a
Am b e r is a
ich drips amber may have
starts a s tr e e sa p , w h
e n e a r a se a sh o r e. A blob of
tre
d r ie s, and eventually the beach
do w n a tr e e , sticky sap fell onto
es pieces of monite, which
hardens. Sometim an d tr a p p e d th e a m
m b e r h av e p r e h is toric bugs lre a d y w a sh e d u p on the
a
as the sap had a blew the
e d in si d e , c a u g h t m a y b e a st o r m
trapp sand. Or
d o w n th e tr e e . But a little ell in to the forest,
dripped amm o n ite sh
b e r fr o m Asia held sticky tree.
chun k o f a m
ght inside where it met the
an unusu a l su r p r is e . C a u
ith e r w a y , th e r esin picked up
E
a n a m m o n it e — a n ancient ss en g e r s b efo re fossilizing.
was other p a

art © 2019 by Rupert van Wyk


relative of squid. about 40
The chunk holds
es climbing s, beetles,
Were sea creatur critter s, in c lu d in g w a sp
years ago?
trees 100 million and flies.
Probably not.

I think I took
a wrong turn
somewhere...

How did this ammonite,


an ancient shelled squid,
get stuck to a tree?

2 ask
Getting it is half the fun!

Slingshot Spider
Most spiders spin stic
ky webs and wait
for bugs to run into at one cornner off th
he triangle, pulling
them. But one
spider is not content the web taut. It anch
to just sit around. ors its back legs
Instead, the triangle-w to another object. Th
eaver spider turns en it waits. When
its web into a slingsh a tasty bug nears the
ot. web, the spider
Spider scientists made lets go of the anchor
slow-motion . This launches the
videos of the spider ca spider’s body forward
pturing its prey. and wraps the
First, the spider makes web’s sticky threads ar
a triangle-shaped ound the prey.
web. The spider hangs Who says mealtime ca
on to a thread n’t be fun?

Ca ll in g D r . P h o n e Is it an earache? But you always


Maybe this app can tell. say not to put
things in my ear!
Soon, a new tool could help parents
figure out whether kids have an ear
infection—no doctor visit needed. All
they’ll need is a smartphone. And some
paper, tape, and scissors.
Researchers created a phone app that
can listen for fluid in a person’s ear.
The first step is to make a little paper
cone. Tape the wide end around the
smartphone’s speaker and microphone.
The skinny end goes in a kid’s ear. The The reflected sound will be different
app plays a sound through the phone’s if there’s extra fluid inside the ear. That
speakers, then uses the microphone to can be a sign of infection. Then you
listen to the sound that bounces back. can use the phone to call the doctor.
ask 3
What are we doing How about light-
for Halloween this up costumes?
year? OK, ready. Lights on!

Lots of
animals in the
deep sea light
up. Look!

Hey, where’s
Phil?

Are you an angler fish? It sure attracts bugs. Cuttlefish use their
Yes, I use my light to colorful patterns to
attract food. Like lots hypnotize their prey.
of candy?

4 ask
You want to give me I think that was
lots of candy. too much hypnosis.
That’s too bright.
Let me try.
All of you go away!
Firefly squid use
their lights so all
their friends can
see them.

Trick or
Treat!

Sometimes the best way to use


I hardly got I did. light is to hide in the dark.
any candy.

ask 5
Into the
Sunlight zone
200 meters
Coral reefs
Twilight zone
Deepest human
scuba dive
1,000 meters
(3,280 feet)

Do you think
Midnight zone

of the ocean as
twinkling blue
water filled with
fish? That blue
zone is actually
just a thin layer
at the very top.

4,000 meters
(2.5 miles)

Deep and Dark


As you go deeper, the sunlight from above
gets dimmer and dimmer. Below 1,000
Abyss

meters, the ocean is completely dark.

The dark water stretches down for another


2 to 7 miles (3 to 11 km). That makes the
dark ocean the largest habitat on earth.
It’s also the one we know the least about.
6,000 meters
Hadal zone (trenches)
down to 10,900 meters
(7 miles)

6 ask art © 2019 by Alice Feagan


Deep
art by Alice Feagan
What’s earth’s largest
habitat? Hint: It’s wet!

Up and Down
Every night, huge numbers of small fish,
squid, and krill rise up to the surface to
feed. During the day, they sink down to
the dark zone to hide.

Sperm whales breathe air,


but they can dive 2,000
meters to hunt giant squid.
Cuvier’s beaked whales can
go even deeper.

Cold
Below 2,000 meters, the temperature
drops to near freezing.

Under Pressure
Water is heavy. For every 10 meters
Home sweet
(33 feet) you go down, it’s like home!
having an extra kilogram sitting on
every centimeter of your body (14.7
pounds per inch).

Muddy Sea Floor


The bottom of the deep sea is too far for sand
to reach. So most of the sea floor is muddy ooze.
Worms, crabs, and other creatures live in it.

ask 7
the Sea
Y
oung Marie Tharp thought father always told her,“When you
her dad had the best job find your life’s work, make sure it
ever. He traveled around the is something you can do, and most
country, making maps. His maps important, something you like to do.”
were special—they revealed hidden She took classes in art, and music, and
things. They showed where different math, and teaching, and geology. She
kinds of soil were, and wet and dry couldn’t quite make up her mind.
places. That helped farmers know Then one day, her geology teacher
what to plant. pointed to a big map of the earth.
He taught Marie to draw maps Almost three-fourths of it was plain
too. They moved around a lot. Marie blue ocean. What was under all that

art © 2019 by Seaerra Miller


A good map changed schools often. But she loved water? Was it flat, like a beach? Or
tells you
where you And to see the country, and draw, and were there mountains and valleys,
are. where the
treasure is! play her violin. as on land? No one knew. That got
In college, Marie tried Marie’s attention. All that blue blank
lots of different subjects. Her space—waiting to be mapped.

8 ask
art by Seaerra Miller

Exploring with
Numbers
Marie became a geologist.
She got a job with a group
studying the oceans. But
Marie wasn’t allowed to
go to sea. The Navy did
not let women on ships.
Marie’s job was to stay
in the office and do
math and draw. But
that didn’t mean she
couldn’t explore.
Part of Marie’s
Marie
job was to keep track of all with some of her
the ships sent back. One number she often maps. She put
together the black
wrote down was the depth of the water. Ships squiggly lines to make
measured this with sonar—sending out a a 3-D view.
sound ping and timing the echo. Often
they made many measurements each
day. In the old days, sailors lowered a
weight on a string until it hit bottom,
then measured the string.
The office had huge books listing
how deep the ocean was along routes
where ships sailed. Over the years,
many sailors had noticed that the Boats measure the
ocean got shallower down the middle depth of the ocean
with sonar, sending
of the Atlantic. Were there mountains sound pings and
under the sea? listening for the echo.

It does seem a bit shallow here.

In the old days, sailors


measured depth with
a weight on a string.

ask 9
She put the slices together to
maake a 3-D map. Where the sound-
inngs showed a deep bottom, that was
a valley or canyon. Where it stayed
thhe same for a long way, that meant
a flat plain. The numbers revealed
uunderwater mountains. And lots of
bblank places.
With the help of her fellow
geologist Bruce Heezen, Marie
set out to fill in the empty places.
is is thee oc n All th
those
s books filled with depth
epth Bruc
B ce went out on ships and collected
map that Marie
and Bruce made. measurements gave Marie an idea. data, and together they made the
Some areas Could she use them to make a new maps. Ocean scientists from other
had not been
measured, so they kind of map—of the whole sea floor? countries shared their measurements.
had to guess. She plotted the numbers on It took many years. But eventually, all
Scientists are still
discovering new graphs. Each graph made a picture of those thousands of depth readings fit
mountains and the depth along a line east to west, like together to make the very first map of
valleys under the
sea. a slice of the sea floor. the ocean floor.
Numbers reveal all.

Marie used herr


drawing skills to show
undersea mountains
as if seen from the
side, not just as lines
on a paper.

10 ask
Sea Floor Surprise
The new map showed that the
bottom of the ocean is not flat at
all. It is filled with mountains and
valleys, just like the land. There is
indeed a long line of mountains I love surprises!
down the middle of the Atlantic
Ocean. It continued on across the
whole globe, like the seam
on a baseball.
In the middle of these moun-
Do continents
tains was another surprise—a long But Marie’s map proved Wegener move? Marie’s
crack or rift, right down the center. right. Its undersea mountains traced map said, yes.
That rift helped solve an old puzzle. the edges of big, rocky plates. Where
In 1915, a German geologist two plates are pulling apart, magma
called Alfred Wegener had come up bubbles out of the crack, making
with a truly wild idea. He suggested underwater mountains. At other
that the continents move. He said that edges, plates are crunching together.
the reason South America and Africa This makes deep trenches and
I think the Yeah!
look like they should fit together is triggers earthquakes and volcanoes. Earth is Never
stand
because they once did. The conti- Modern satellites can now actually trying to tell
us something still!
nents had drifted apart. measure the continents moving—very
This idea seemed so preposterous slowly, a few centimeters a year. And
that not many people believed him. Marie’s map showed the way.
After all, how could huge pieces of
Warm surface
Earth’s crust move? Geologists had water (red)
sinks and
been arguing about Wegener’s idea cools.
ever since.

Cold deep water


Scientists continue to add to Marie’s maps. (blue) carries
This map shows huge deep-sea currents nutrients
that move warm and cool water around around the
ocean.
the world. These currents help keep
Earth’s temperature even.

I hope they
don’t find our
secret hideout!

ask 11
Sea level

The Deepest
Line of
complete
darkness

1,000
meters

by Tracy Vonder Brink

Humans have spent


300 hours on the
moon, but only 3 in
4,000
meters the deepest ocean.
Average depth
of world’s I wonder
oceans
whatt’s
dow
wn
therre.

6,000
meters
Challenger Deep

I
n 1872
1872, two scientists
set out to study the
ocean. They sailed the
seas on a ship called the
Challenger, collecting animals China
8,000
meters and testing the waters. Wherever
On the way down, they stopped, they measured the
visitors to ocean
trenches see many depth by lowering a weighted line
strange creatures, like until it hit the bottom. In one place
these sea lilies. Philippines
off the coast of Japan, the line just
This is our
went down and down. It was the
secret place! deepest place ever found. They called it Indonesia
10,000 the Mariana Trench.
meters
The Mariana Trench is in the Pacific Ocean
near Guam. It is the deepest place in the ocean.
10,900 meters Deepest partt of th
the ocean Challenger Deep is the deepest part of the trench.
12
Dive
Ready to go?
The Deepest Deep Send me a
postcard.
1960, the U.S. Navy wanted to test a
new kind of submarine. They built a
prototype, the Trieste. They wanted to
Many years later, another test it in deepest place on Earth. On The Trieste was
a new kind of
ship
hip, also named Challenger, January 23, 1960, navy officer Don submersible. It
found the deepest part of the Walsh and engineer Jacques Piccard didn’t have an
engine—it just went
Maariana trench. They called climbed aboard. down and back up.
it Challenger Deep, after the The Trieste looked a bit like a
two
t ships. metal blimp. Underneath was
The bottom of the a thick steel sphere to
Challenger Deep is almost 7 hold passengers.
Lower
miles (10,900 m) down.You The Trieste’s huge away!
could hide Mount Everest float was filled
in it and still not reach the with gasoline,
surface. not air. Gasoline
Where did this deep is lighter than
pllace come from? The Earth’s water, so the sub
surrface is made up of huge floated. To dive,
rockky plates that move, very Walsh and Piccard
slowly. In some places, carried a load of iron
one platee pushes weights. There were also
under another. This tanks on each end filled with
forms a trench. seawater, making the Trieste
Japan
The very lowest heavy enough to sink.
parts of trenches At the bottom, nearly 7
h are known as the miles below the surface, the
nc
“deeps.” water pressure is more than
n a Tr e

Gu 1,000 times normal air pressure.


It was cramped
ria

Challenger inside the tiny


Deep M Mariana Trench diving sphere.
Seamounts
Mariana
Islands Trench
Pacific Plate
Papua New The Mariana Trench
Guinea is formed by one of
Old Ocean Crust
Earth’s rocky plates
pushing under its
Australia
neighbor as it slides
slowly westward.

ask 13
Under Pressure The crew capsule was made of 5 inches (13 cm)
Submarines
m have to be built
b extra tough of solid steel to stand the crushing force. It
to stand the pressure of water. Water had one tiny, super-thick window. The round
is heavy, and when a submarine (or a shape also helped—spheres are the hardest
person) is underwater, it presses in on
shape to crush.
all sides. At the bottom of the Challenger
Deep, the water is pushing with a force As the ship headed down, the water got colderr
of about 15,000 pounds on every inch. and colder. Inside the sub, it felt like sitting in a
So why aren’t fish squashed flat? Because refrigerator. The blue water got darker, then black.
their bodies are liquid, just like the water For four hours the sphere sank through the vast,
they live in. Solids and liquids don’t
dark middle ocean. All around them the black
compress when you squash them. But
when you squeeze a gas, it gets smaller. water sparkled with the glow of bioluminescent
That’s a problem for land animals like us, sea life. Then as they sank deeper yet, that light
whose lungs are filled with air. Deep-sea disappeared, too.
submarines have to be built extra tough, After five hours, the Trieste finally landed on
to stand all that squeezing.
the bottom of the Challenger Deep. The
metal sphere creaked with the extreme
pressure, but it held. They turned on a
small light and peered through the sub’s
tiny round window. But the ship’s landing
stirred up mud from the sea floor, so it
was like trying to look through milk. The
Trieste stayed 20 minutes. Then it dumped
Divers feel the force of its load of iron pellets and floated back to
water pressing in from all the surface.
sides. The deeper you go,
the higher the pressure. Many years later, remote-controlled
robot submarines explored more. Even
hhere in the
h deepest, darkest, coldest place on earth,
This is what an
ordinary styrofoam
they found sea worms and other life. But 52 years
Quite a
squeeze! cup looks like after passed before another person visited.
taking a trip
2,000 meters
under the sea, Return to the Deep
about a fifth
of the way to
In 2010, film director James Cameron became the
the bottom. The third person to visit the Challenger Deep. Cameron
extreme pressure
of the water
is no stranger to the deep sea. He’d made two
squashed all the submarine trips to the wreck of the Titanic. For
air out of the
styrofoam.
this dive, he built a special submarine, called the
Deepsea Challenger. It took him seven years.

14 ask
A plastic bag was The first person to visit
also discovered at the dark sea was William
the bottom of the Beebe. In the 1930s, he
Mariana Trench. dove near Bermuda in
a tiny round capsule.
It was too dark to take
photos. So he described
the creatures he saw to
artist Else Bostelmann,
and she painted pictures.
Many people did not
The Deepsea Challenger has a thick believe such fantastical
fish could be real.
steel sphere for its passenger, just like
the Trieste. But instead of a gasoline- I still don’t
filled balloon, the body of the sub was filled believe it!

with a new kind of un-crushable foam, made


of tiny beads of glass embedded in plastic.
Cameron’s sub sank standing up, like a dropped
The Deepsea
arrow. Weights attached to the sub pulled it to Challenger
Body
the bottom. When Cameron was ready to come Special glass
up, he released the weights and the sub floated foam fills most
of the sub’s
up to the top again. body to help
Cameron’s dive took two and a half hours. it float.
In the deepest zones, the sub’s cameras spotted Fin
helps steer
sea cucumbers and shrimp-like amphipods.
The sub’s robotic arms took samples from
Lights
the sea floor. Cameron said that being on the LED lights Batteries
bottom felt like he was alone on the moon. on the
outside help
photograph
More Mysteries of the Deeps new creatures.

There are 32 more trenches and 11 other deeps Thrusters


to steer
around the world. Every time a sub visits, they Pilot sphere
The pilot sits
discover new species. Marine scientists think the inside a small
unexplored trenches hold even more.We know round room with
thick steel walls. Weights
less about the deep ocean than any other place This sub only has
To go up again,
the pilot drops
on Earth. Calling all one.
room for one
the weights,
and the sub
aquanauts! floats up.

The Mariana snailfish


is the deepest fish Camera
yet found, living
about 8,000 meters
down. Robotic arm

ask 15
16
by Carrie Tillotson
n the deep, strange creatures lurk.
t doesn’t reach down here. It’s
Life in dark and cold, and the water pressure
How do animals
in ense. H als survive?
Life finds a way.

Hydromedusa the Deep Glow to See and Be Seen


Firefly squid flash light patterns to find
e k M your
y own ligh
g t. each other and send signals in the deep.
ny ma dee e make their own light. This
trick is called bioluminescence. Some produce a glowing
Alarm Glow
chemical called luciferin. Others keep glowing bacteria in
id
Many deep-sea animals light up if they’re
pouches in their skin. They don’t stayy lit upp all the time. qu
ly s attacked. This a i friend
Most only glow when
wh n they
th need
n d to.
t Firef startles the pr may
a bigger fish to eat thee attacker.
Glow to Hunt
Anglerfish and Glow to Hide
ch etfish belly
dragonfish use Hatchetfish light up their bellies when they Hat
lighted lures to rise to the surface each night to ffeed.
attract prey. If The glow matches the moonlit watter
a curious shrimp around them, hiding the fish from

h
swims over...snapp! hunters below.
er fi s
Angl
ish
nf

h
a go fis
Dr et
ON
tch

OFF
Ha

Gloow to Escape
The red “fire-breathing”
The
shrrimp spits out a cloud of
p Now you Now you
hri m glowwing goo to startle bigger
Pandalid s see me. don’t.
fishh that want to eat it.
World of Big Teeth Drift Along
No plants or algae grow in the dark ocean Many animals drift through
depths. Animals here have to hunt each the water, using very little Why do they
energy. This mysterious glow blue?
white creature was Red light doesn’t travel far

S
spotted drifting ea e through water. Many deep-sea
cucu mb
on a recent creatures don’t see red at all—
dive. Scientists but they can see many shades
are not sure This transparent of blue, and can detect
what it is. sea cucumber very faint light.

?
shows off

ou
y its guts.
re
Who a

th
mou
Bristle

The gulper eel is Ocean Giants


almost all mouth. Many deep-sea creatures are
can swa ow
to ot h tiny, but some grow extra
Fang fish many tim Its stretchy body
expands to gulp big. This 40-foot (12 m) long
their size.
large prey. It siphonophore is actually many
The fangs may look can also balloon jellyfish-like creatures living
terrifying, but these up with water to together. They glow to attract
toothy fish only grow a We need teeth too! small pre , which gets trapped
few inches long. Being
small means they don’t
need much food.
e r eel
Gulp Siphon
oph
ore

This giant isopod Giant isopod


is related to
the pillbugs you
find in your
yard—but these
Lizardfish crawl along the
sea floor and
Lizardfish have backward-pointing teeth, can grow a foot
so once they grip, there’s no escape. long.

17
18
ing Deeper This comb jelly sets Do you see that?
Deep-sea animals don’tt a lighted net to trap Some fish that live in the deep sea
all llive at the same small prey. have huge eyes, to catch any faint light
deptth. Some hang out from glowing prey.
in thhe mid-ocean. Somee
live deeper.

id
Da
u

rk
sq Squid Party Why do they need big
ss

ct
Gla en eyes if it’s always dark?
Squid
uid live aall through the o ph To see the
dark ocean. Thheyy rangeg ore
jellyfish glow!
in size from tiny
t y glasss
squid to giant squuid
id
the size of a bbus
us. uid
sq

d
ele
Cosmic jelly

w
The red

Je
spots on the
jeweled squid Jellies
light up in The deep is full of jellyfish and
the dark. their cousins, the comb jellies. Every
dive discovers new ones. The cosmic fish
jelly hunts with tentacles spread Telescope
id both above and below.
Vampire squ

The vampire squid has Chimaera


a dark cloak to hide its Chimaeras are ancient
dinner from other squid.
q cousins of sharks. They
find prey by smell, and
with motion-detectors in
their skin.

Octopus
The
Th dumbo
d b octopus
t s Corals
C
Oct
has small fins that oc Deeep sea corals don’t

Du
or

m
al

Acorn Worm bo look like ears. When have algae inside them.
Acorn worms oc t
opus lit by blueish light, redd- They catch tiny bits
wriggle through the colored creatures look of food that fall
water and feed on black. So its red color helps through the water.
tiny creatures in the it hide. This one is home to
muddy sea floor. text © 2019 by Carrie Tillotson two squat lobsters.
Maybe there are
octoracoons!
Crabs rms
Spiny crabs live on bacteria and scraps istleworms
ple their legs
swim. They

orm
Porcupine crab o glow.

ew
tl
Bris
Sponges
Most sponges filter food
????????????? scraps from the water. But the
Only about 1% of the dark harp sponge hunts. It snatches
ocean has been explored. small fish and shrimp with
Who knows what other Harp barbed hooks
sponge
creatures are waiting to
pods be discovered?
d copepods and Walking Fish Snailfish
co

s t ra
acods flit through Tripod fish stand

O
water. on the sea floor
turbed, t with their long fins
g the e
Trip
od fish They are trying
spark on to sense tiny prey
m

e
An
moving through the mud
They live in the dark—this
light comes from a visiting Deep Fish

od
Cop ep robot submarine. The deepest fish yet discovered
are these snailfish. They have
been found 8,000 meters down.

photographer
h ale,
S How did we get these pictures?
id
v

too deep for


Da

Anemones reach them. Some


Look like flowers, photographed by
but are animals. ot submarines.
Snipe Eel They snare tiny hers were captured
The snipe eel uses its long nose food with sticky d photographed
to vacuum up tiny copepods tentacles. an aquarium on
from the water. b rd a ship.
su
Robot

19
e t s o
by Sarah Roggio

c r f t he
S e Ve n t s
S e a by Sarah Roggio

Scientists used to think that


the ocean floor was too dark
and cold for anything to live
there. Then they made
an astonishing
discovery—one
that may help
us find life
on other
planets.

These tourist spots


get so crowded.
A dense mat of giant tube
worms covers this deep-sea
volcano. What do they eat?

20 ask
A Hydrothermal Vent
Volcanoes in the Deep
It all started in 1977, on an droth
thermall vents
are tall underrwaterr
expedition to explore underwater chimneysy of
volcanoes near the Galapagos Islands minerals
ls tha
h t sps ew
u er-
r ho
hott wa
wate
ttee .
in South America.
Scientists sent cameras down
. Cold
ld wa
watte
to the sea floor near where a new seeps throug
volcano was forming. There they cracks in thee
l . 3. The hot
found strange, tall chimneys made water, filled with
of rock. Out of the chimneys poured dissolved rock,
spews up through
what looked like black smoke. But it t e ch
chim
imne
im ne .
ne
wasn’t smoke. It was super-hot water
filled with sulfur and other minerals.
And then they got a big surprise.
The sub's camera showed fields of . eerg u ,
giant mussels. Clams as long as a hee r
. I think the
man’s foot. Tube worms as tall as a ocean ate too
many beans.
person. These hot chimneys were
covered with life! vents.” Hydrothermal means “hot
The researchers water.” Since that first discovery,
called the towers hundreds of vents have been found
“hydrothermal all over the world. They form on
This black plume
the ocean floor, near deep cracks
is not smoke—it's in the Earth's crust. Seawater seeps
super-hot water
(750° F, 400° C)
through cracks. Underground,
full of minerals. it’s heated byy magma
g (hot melted Underground is where
all the action is.
rock). The hot water shooots back up.
Minerals
falling out
of the water
build up
t crusty
the
cchimneys.

White lobsters crawl over a


thick mat of mussels growing
around a vent chimney.

ask 21
The Yeti crab uses
its furry arms to
sweep up bacteria,
which it eats.

Amazing
Animals A robot submersible
explores a rocky vent
How could near Lō‘ihi in Hawaii.
living things
survive down
in the deep, with Tube worms don’t eat
no sunlight? In anything—because they have no
boiling water, filled mouths or stomachs! Instead, they
with poisonous suck in minerals and water to feed
chemicals? bacteria that live inside their long
Scientists had long tubes. The bacteria make sugar for
assumed that all living themselves and the worms.
things need the sun. Life can be short at a vent. An
Plants and algae make earthquake or lava flow can destroy
sugar from sunlight, air, it. Then the microbes die. The critters
and
a water. Animals get that feed on them move away.
ennergy by eating plants.
Hydrogen Sulfer
But around deep sea sulfide Bacteria coompounds
compounds
veents, life has found
aanother way. The water
iis full of special bacteria in out
that get energy by
breaking down minerals. Sugar

This trick is called Carbon


dioxide
Mussels
M l andd squatt chemosynthesis.
chemos Other living Water
lobsters that live things around the vents eat the
on vents eat
mineral-munching bacteria. It’s a whole food web
bacteria. that doesn’t need the sun at all.
Every vent has its own special Giant tube
I see no seaweed
in this sea! mix of critters. Clams, mussels, worms have
a hollow body
crabs, and shrimp eat microbes filled with
(and each other). Fish and octopuses bacteria. The
bacteria convert
feast on the shellfish and crabs. sulfides and
seawater into
sugar.

22 ask
Deep Space Ocean
D
H
Hydrothermal vents have shown
that life can survive without the
sun, in extremes of heat and cold,
in water filled with chemicals that
would poison most animals. This
makes the vents very interesting
to another group of scientists—
astrobiologists, who are looking for
life on other planets and moons. One place scientists are eager Saturn's moon
Enceladus may have
In 2018, space scientists from to explore is Saturn’s moon hydrothermal vents
NASA teamed up with ocean Enceladus. Pictures taken by the and a liquid ocean
under a thick skin
scientists to study hydrothermal Cassini space probe show that of ice. Could its
text © 2019 by Sarah Roggio

vents around Lō‘ihi in Hawaii. They this moon may be covered in vents also host life?

sent down robot submarines to ocean under a thick layer of ice.


collect water, rock, and microbes in The core of Enceladus is
the freezing, boiling, dark. hot rock. If it has volcanoes
Exploring Lō‘ihi is helping space and a cold, mineral-rich ocean,
scientists practice for exploring Enceladus may have hydrother-
alien planets. They are learning how mal vents a lot like Lō‘ihi. Do
to control underwater robots and these vents host alien microbes,
how to program them to explore on and maybe other creatures too?
their own. They can practice driving Scientists would love to find out.
probes by remote-control from a ship
far away. They are also testing tools Into the Unknown I found some
to detect life—even life that looks While NASA works on exploring practice aliens!
nothing like what we know. deep space, ocean scientists
Which
continue to be amazed at way to
Tube worms' red heads are filled what they find right here Saturn?!

with red blood similar to ours. on Earth. As


oceanographer Wendy
Schmidt says, “It is a
different world down
there. Each dive feels like
floating into a science
fiction film."

ask 23
When a Whale
WEEKS MONTHS

A whale fall can dump years’ worth of food, all


at once. The smell wafting through the water
attracts creatures from miles around. Next come the smaller feeders: crabs, amphipods,
First to arrive are the fast-swimming scavengers. and sea worms. They come in huge numbers.
Sleeper sharks, ratfish, and snake-like hagfish They eat bits of whale and also bacteria.
dine messily, spreading bits around the sea floor. Fish come to eat the small scavengers.
24 ask
Falls
When an enormous whale dies, its body sinks to
the bottom of the ocean. There it provides food
for thousands of deep-sea creatures.
art by Daniel Powers

YEARS DECADES

After about a year, only bones are left. Feathery Bacteria that break down bones make sulfides,
art © 2019 by Daniel Powers

pink bone worms latch on and begin to digest a kind of chemical. New bacteria arrive to
the bone. Thick mats of bacteria spread out feed on the sulfides made by bone-eaters.
along the sea floor. Mussels find a home in the mud where the
Nutrients from the whale enrich the sea floor whale once lay.
all around. Sea worms and sea cucumbers dig Whale falls are an important food source
through the mud, dining on scraps and bacteria. in the deep ocean. Scientists estimate that
Anemones and crinoids use the bones as an about 70,000 whales die naturally each year,
anchor. Octopuses hide among the bones. making a whale fall about every 15 miles.
ask 25
Hey, Sage! Michael T. wants Sharks are ancient creatures. They appeared on Earth more than 400 million
to know, how old are sharks? years ago—way before dinosaurs. Most of the different kinds of sharks
that lived in the past are extinct. But there are about 500 modern shark
species alive today.
Cladoselache
(380 million
years ago)

Stethacanthus
(350 million
Helicoprion years ago)
(290 million years ago)

Megalodon
(23 million years ago,
big as a bus) Some of those ancient
sharks looked pretty weird.

And some were huge!

Frilled shark

What species
are the oldest? Cow sharks and frilled sharks are the most primitive.
Called “living fossils,” they haven’t changed much since
prehistoric times. Cow shark

How long do sharks live?

It depends on the species. Some live 20 years, others more than 100. It’s also
hard to tell a shark’s age. When scientists used clues in teeth to figure out the
age of some Greenland sharks, they were more than 270 years old!

Greenland shark I’m older than America!


Big deal! A
clam nicknamed
Ming lived to
be 507.
26 ask
Internet Ocean by Colette Weil Parrinello,
art by Paul Meisel

378 fiber optic cables criss-cross


the oceans, connecting nearly every
country in the world to the internet.
Deep below the waves, under the

S
ay you’re curious about giraffes. You do
whales and fishes, the internet a web search and click on a link that
zips around the world on looks interesting. The information on
I think I saw some the web page comes from another computer
ass.
highways made of glass. information this way!
far away. That computer sends it to yours
along a hopping path. Most of its journey is
through cables—some under the sea.
How does
the internet
get to your
house?

Your computer
might connect Internet signals
to the internet don’t stop when
wirelessly, using they get to the
radio signals. ocean. They keep
going, through
cables under the
sea.
Your request
jumps from
computer to
computer until
A routing computer translates it finds one
the radio code into light that answers.
pulses and sends these out Then the reply
through glass cables buried jumps back.
underground.
ask 27
How does the internet get under the sea?

text © 2019 by Colette Weil Parrinello, art © 2019 by Paul Meisel


glass
1. Make a Glass Cable
M
C
Cables that carry the internet Computer signals travel along the glass
on
n land and under the sea are threads as pulses of light. Computers read
made of super-clear glass, spun into these signals and translate them into web
strands thinner than a hair. Several pages, or movies, or the sound of a voice.
hundred strands are bundled together. Light beams are so thin that a single
Then they’re covered with layers of hair-sized fiber can carry over 25,000
The whole
internet
metal and plastic to make a cable that’s phone calls at the same time.
goes tough, flexible, and waterproof.
through How fast do these signals go? Take a
that!?! Light signals bounce back and breath. In one second, a light signal could
forth from the sides of the travel five times around the earth. That’s
glass threads inside the cable. two-thirds the speed of light (186,000
This lets the signal keep going miles a second).
even when the cable bends.

Sorry for the


disturbance. Map the Sea Floor
M F Workers watch the cable
2. B
Before laying a cable under water, so it doesn’t get tangled as
su
urveyors spend many months making it’s pulled out.
maps of the sea floor. They plot a route that
avoids sharp coral reefs, undersea volcanoes,
canyons, shipwrecks, and other hazards. The
best route is the flattest ocean floor.

Ships that map the


sea floor sail back
and forth, back
and forth, building
up a picture of Coil Up Cable
C
what’s below. 3. T glass cable is loaded onto a
The
sppecial cable-laying ship. Hundreds
off miles of cable are coiled up inside
huge round rooms below the deck.

28 ask
4. 5. Make Repairs
T ship carries a truck-sized
The A special cable repair ship fixes breaks.
un
nderwater robot called the plow. Crews can tell where the problem is by
This robot sinks to the bottom of the sending test signals. If a signal bounces back, there’s
ocean and crawls along the sea floor. New a break. The time it takes to bounce
cable is fed out the back of the ship to tells them how far along the
the plow. The plow cuts a shallow trench cable to look. After many years
on the ocean floor and buries the cable. A repair team cuts the under the sea, cables
Sometimes it just lays the cable on the sea damaged cable with a can get a bit crusty.
bed without burying it. sharp hook. They hoist
both ends to the surface.
This robot lays the cable Then they cut out the
on the sea floor. damaged part and replace
Waterproof it with a new piece. They
robots–what
fuse the cable together
an idea!
with a laser tool that
makes the glass path good
as new. Then they lower the
cable to the ocean floor again.

Internet
coming
through!

It wasn’t mme!

The First Ocean Cable


The first cable to cross the
ocean floor was a telegraph
line between New York and
Ireland, laid in 1858. The wire
was made of copper. It carried
electrical signals in Morse code.
T
The ships laying the cable had no
m
maps of the ocean floor, so the caable
offten snagged and broke. But when n it
was working, the telegraph could send The first ocean cable was laaid
a message across the ocean in hours, by a sailing ship. But the caable
instead of many months. room hasn’t changed much.

ask 29
Send your letters to Ask Mail,
70 East Lake St., Suite 800, Chicago, IL
In our April issue we 60601, or have your parent/guardian
email us at ask@cricketmedia.com.
asked you to imagine
a fantastic horse.
Thanks to all you equine
enthusiasts for sharing
your new friends!

Crochorse
Eben, 9 Maine
Eben age 9,
Bugasus
Lilah K., age 9,
Bialicornhippocampi Rhode Island
Alexandra N., age 9,
Maryland

Fire Unicorn and Electro


Cyclops Horse
Garrison H., age 8, Wisconsin
The Mixed Up Mythical Creature Drohorse
Zoe, age 8, Utah Zoey R., age 9, Wisconsin

Dear Plush, Dear Sarah, Dear Elvis,


Do hippos really make It’s true, we hippos do make I love writing poems! Here is a
sunscreen that looks like pink our own pink sunscreen, haiku I recently made up.
slime? And here’s a prank that though I prefer to think of it This is for Elvis
you may like to prank the king as glossy rather than slimy. Who has brains and beauty
of pranks. 1. Make him go And thanks for the prank idea. both,
camping. 2. Put a fake snake I will take it under advisement. Unlike anyone.
in his sleeping bag. 3. Watch I think I could stop at step 1 Do you like it?
and enjoy. and have a pretty good laugh. Sincerely,
Sincerely, Pinkly, Annabelle M., age 9
Sarah L., age 9, Texas Plush

30 ask
Uni-genie-griff
The Dodecapedo
Nina C.,
Thomas L.,
age 9, Alaska
age 9, New York

Spacey the
Unicorn
Van B., age 6,
Florida
H can breathe
He
in
n space, eats
stars, and he Dawhoedozelaraspird
Natalie C., age 8, Florida makes the
m Christian M., age 9, Florida
northern lights.
n
Dolphin/elephant/zebra/tiger/
cheetah/dragon/horse/eagle/
ram/bird/donkey/spinosaurus/
Robo Horse human that plays basketball!
Dexter S.,
age 8, Maine E H.,
Eve
aage 9
Nebraska
N
Wisp
Jewel D., age 10, Idaho

War Horse
Asher D., Ava R.,
age 10, age 8,
Colorado Massachusetts

Dearest Annabelle Dear Marvin, Dear Adrian,


So poetic, you inspire How much trash gets thrown Such a waste, when there are
syllabic letters. into the ocean every 50 hungry raccoons! Puck and
years? My guess is 400 million Sis say 8 million metric tons
Five, Seven, Five tons. Tell me if it is right or of plastic are dumped in the
Is all you really need wrong. ocean every year, so after 50
For perfect beauty. Sincerely, years, that would be 400 million
Adrian A., California tons. But maybe if we all work
Poetry gives wings together there could be LESS?
To lift a sulfur crested In Hope,
Cockatoodaloo. Marvin, Puck, and Sis

ask 31
Firefly
October Contest

Light Me Up
The deep ocean is full of glowing
creatures. Even some on land light up—fireflies
can, and so can some mushrooms. Wouldn’t you
like to be among them? For this
month’s contest, imagine you
could light up some part of your
body, and draw us a picture of
the glowing you. Where would Jellyfish
you like some light? What would
you use it for? We’ll post a
gallery of the most glowing in
an upcoming issue of Ask. Ghost mushrooms

Contest Rules:
1. Your contest entry must be your very 5. Your entry must be signed or emailed 7. Email a photo of your artwork to
own work. Ideas and words should not by a parent or legal guardian, saying it’s ask@cricketmedia.com, or mail to: Ask,
be copied. your own work and that no one helped 70 East Lake St., Suite 800, Chicago, IL
2. Be sure to include your name, age, and you, and that Ask has permission to 60601. Entries must be postmarked or
address on your entry. publish it in print and online. emailed by October 31, 2019.
3. Only one entry per person, please. 6. For information on the Children’s Online 8. We will publish the winning entries in an
4. If you want your work returned, enclose Privacy Protection Act, see the Privacy upcoming issue of Ask.
a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Policy page at cricketmedia.com.

for ages 6—9


art © 2015 by Kevin Kellyy

Laughs are found and stories abound in SPIDER.


Subscribe now for stories, poems, activities,
and jokes for young readers

32 ask
art by
Thor Wickstrom

Squeeze Diver
Can you make a ketchup packet sink or swim?
You can, with a little squeezing.
That one!
What you’ll need What’s going on?
• A small sealed plastic When you squeeze a
packet of ketchup that just container full of air, the
barely floats in water air particles crowd together
• A squeezable plastic bottle so they take up less space.
with a cap But liquids aren’t like that.
• Water Squeeze them all you like,
they will not compress.
What to do Ketchup packets have a
1. Pick a ketchup packet that small bubble of air trapped
barely floats, with not much inside. When you squeeze
of the packet above water. the bottle, the air squashes
Test several in a glass of up, and the packet sinks.
water and pick the best one. When you stop squeezing,
This will be your “diver.” the air bubble expands again,
2. Stuff the diver into the and the packet rises.
bottle. The same thing happens
3. Fill the bottle completely to air inside lungs when
with water, right up to the a diver dives deep. Scuba
very top. Screw the cap on divers wear tanks that
tight. pressurize the air, so that
4. Now, squeeze the bottle the diver’s lungs don’t
tightly with both hands. squeeze shut. But that only
What happens? works to a certain depth. To
As you squeeze, the diver Dive! go really deep, divers need
should slowly sink. (If it strong submarines that can
doesn’t, squeeze harder, or resist the immense water
try another diver). Loosen pressure and keep the air
your grip, and it will rise. inside spread out.
Pretend to command it!