This is an image of the Alvin being recovered by divers.
Click on image for full size
Image from: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, photo by Rod Castiac

The Alvin

Deep sea trenches are just that - really deep! They can be a couple miles deeper than the average depth of the ocean floor (4 miles). It is hard for humans to travel there because the pressures along the ocean bottom are so extreme.

The Alvin was the first deep-sea submersible. It was designed by scientists to explore the ocean floor, including the deep sea trenches. Between 1964 and 1999, the Alvin made 3,535 dives. The average depth for a dive was 1.28 miles (2,055 meters). The total number of people carried by the Alvin was 10,540. So, most dives carried 3 people aboard. The Alvin helps scientists to carry out research underwater in the areas of geology, biology and chemistry. It also helps inspect underwater structures and search for sunken vessels.

Research vessels like the Alvin allow humans to find such creatures as tube worms which live near vents along the ocean floor. The next image shows a view of the Alvin underwater.

Last modified May 5, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

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