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Coordinates: 55°25′44″S 26°11′29″W / 55.42889°S 26.19139°W / -55.42889; -26.19139

Map of South Sandwich Plate (SAN) shows its position between the Scotia Plate (SCO), South American Plate (SAM) and the Antarctic Plate (ANT). There are also visible The East Scotia Ridge (ESR), South Sandwich Islands (SSI) and the South Sandwich Trench (SST).

The South Sandwich Trench is a deep arcuate trench in the South Atlantic Ocean lying 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the east of the South Sandwich Islands. The trench is produced by the subduction of the southernmost portion of the South American Plate beneath the small South Sandwich Plate. The South Sandwich Islands constitute a volcanic island arc which results from this active subduction. Mount Belinda on Montagu Island is an active volcano.

It is the deepest trench of the Southern Atlantic Ocean, and the second deepest of the Atlantic Ocean after the Puerto Rico Trench.

The trench is 965 kilometres (600 mi) long and has a maximum depth of 8,266 metres (27,119 ft) below sea level at 55°13.47′S 26°10.23′W / 55.22450°S 26.17050°W / -55.22450; -26.17050, as measured by a Kongsberg EM124 multibeam sonar from February 2–7, 2019 during the Five Deeps Expedition. This measurement was made during the first complete sonar mapping of the trench which covered its entire length, with a measurement error of +/- 11 metres (36 ft). It is noteworthy that the deepest point of the South Sandwich Trench is only 110 metres (361 ft) shallower than the deepest point in the Puerto Rico Trench, which hosts the deepest point in the Atlantic at the Brownson Deep.

The deepest point in the entire trench is the Meteor Deep, whose location prior to February 2019 was identified as 55°25.12′S 026°24.28′W / 55.41867°S 26.40467°W / -55.41867; -26.40467 (Meteor Deep) at a depth of 8,202 metres (26,909 ft). This deepest point was originally named after HMS Meteor, which first surveyed the area in 1926. In February 2019, however, the Five Deeps Expedition, led by its survey ship DSSV Pressure Drop, has recommended that the location of the Meteor Deep be "relocated" to the newly discovered, truly deepest location at 55°13.47′S 26°10.23′W / 55.22450°S 26.17050°W / -55.22450; -26.17050 and 8,266 metres (27,119 ft) ± 13 metres (43 ft) in depth, given the precision of the new survey. This new deepest point is part of the same subsurface feature as the previous Meteor Deep location so the expedition recommended keeping the old name.

Pressure Drop completed an entire survey of the trench on February 9, 2019 and will be making the data publicly available to GEBCO in 2019. Approximately ten other major subsurface features including various deeps, seamounts, and ridges—previously unidentified—were mapped by the vessel and new names for the features will be submitted to the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) later in 2019.

The southernmost portion of the South Sandwich Trench reaches south of 60°S latitude and is therefore in the Southern Ocean. The maximum depth of that ocean is also in the South Sandwich Trench, which was surveyed by the Five Deeps Expedition in early February 2019. The expedition's sonar team identified the deepest point at 60°28.46′S 025°32.32′W / 60.47433°S 25.53867°W / -60.47433; -25.53867, with a depth of 7,434 metres (24,390 ft) ± 13 metres (43 ft). The expedition leader and chief submersible pilot Victor Vescovo has proposed naming this deepest point in the Southern Ocean the "Factorian Deep," based on the name of the manned submersible DSV Limiting Factor, in which he successfully visited the bottom for the first time on February 3, 2019.[1][2] The deepest points of a maritime trench have historically been named after the vessel that first discovered or explored them.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Explorer completes another historic submersible dive". For The Win. 2019-02-06. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  2. ^ Hydro International.com (18 June 2019). "Exploring the Deepest Points on Planet Earth". hydro-international.com. Retrieved June 20, 2019.