Rivers under the sea can really exist! The ocean has many secrets, and underwater rivers are one them.
Scientists have discovered a massive underwater river flowing along the bottom of the Black Sea. This amazing undersea river is complete with trees and leaves flowing on the sea bed, and even waterfalls!
It is estimated that if on land, the undersea river would be the world’s sixth largest in terms of the volume of water flowing through it. It is about 350 times greater than the River Thames and 10 times greater than Europe’s biggest river, the Rhine.
This finding can help scientists to shed more light on how life manages to survive in the deep oceans away from the nutrient-rich waters found close to land.
The undersea river, which is up to 115 feet deep in places, even has rapids and waterfalls much like its terrestrial equivalents.
Scientists from the University of Leeds, used a robotic submarine to study a deep channel that had been found on the sea bed, and found a river of highly salty water flowing along the deep channel at the bottom of the Black Sea, creating river banks and flood plains much like a river on land.
Dr Dan Parsons, from the university’s school of earth and environment, said: “The water in the channels is denser than the surrounding seawater because it has higher salinity and is carrying so much sediment.”It flows down the sea shelf and out into the abyssal plain much like a river on land.
The abyssal plains of our oceans are like the deserts of the marine world, but these channels can deliver nutrients and ingredients needed for life out over these deserts. ”This means they could be vitally important, like arteries providing life to the deep ocean.
“The key difference we found from terrestrial rivers was that as the flow goes round the bend, the water spirals in the opposite way to rivers on land.”
This in not the first time an undersea river has been discovered. Under the sea of Mexico, there is a river called ‘Cenote Angelita’- It was discovered by Anatoly Beloshchin and his group of divers.
“We are 30 meters deep, fresh water, then 60 meters deep – salty water and under me I see a river, island and fallen leaves… Actually, the river, which you can see, is a layer of hydrogen sulphide,” Anatoly Beloshchin said.
This underwater river is a complete river like any conventional one. It flows as much as 115 feet deep at some places, with flow of both fresh water and salty water at varying depths.
Scientists have suspected that undersea rivers can form, after sonar scans of the sea bed have revealed meandering channels in many of the world’s oceans.
Ever since news of such rivers under sea were public, scientists all over the world have been looking for more such examples. Many have been found and even more will probably be discovered in the near future.
(Image credit: Anatoly Beloshchin)