OLP 7: The ocean is largely unexplored

Representative Image
Image caption

Fig 1. OLP 7. The ROV (Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle) Hercules recovers an experiment in 2004 that was deployed a year earlier by the DSV (Deep Submergence Vehicle) Alvin submersible on the New England Seamount Chain.

Image copyright and source

Image courtesy of NOAA Mountains in the Sea Research Team; the IFE Crew; and NOAA/OAR/OER


The ocean is the largest unexplored place on Earth—less than 5 percent of it has been explored. Remotely operated vehicles allow scientists to explore ocean depths that are inaccessible to SCUBA divers (Fig. 1). Ocean exploration relies on teams of science researchers across the globe.



Understanding the ocean is more than a matter of curiosity. Exploration, experimentation, and discovery are required to better understand ocean systems and processes. Our very survival hinges upon it.


Over the last 50 years, use of ocean resources has increased significantly; the future sustainability of ocean resources depends on our understanding of those resources and their potential.


New technologies, sensors, and tools are expanding our ability to explore the ocean. Scientists are relying more and more on satellites, drifters, buoys, subsea observatories, and unmanned submersibles.

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawai?i, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.