The bottom of the sea is our future

The oceans and the deep seas are not well known to man. We know the extent, the depths, etc. but the processes going on, the influence on the environment, the lifeforms down there are not well known. We  know about most fish, some plants, surface currents, some metals, maybe there is oil down there – but a lot is lacking in what we know. The high water pressures are a challenge.

These areas are huge – Norway alone has a seabed area 7 times as large as the country itself. Large areas are common to humanity – many parts of the big oceans. We know more about the surface of the moon than about our own seabed.

This is about to change. Many nations are now starting cooperative efforts to map the bottom, establish time series of data that can be used to describe the processes taking place, getting hold of samples of materials, finding out more about life-forms in the deep. Environmental and sustainability questions are also part of it. Volcanic processes of the seabed are different, and we need more knowledge about how the magma moves and forms in the deep sea. The lack of light in deep waters make the processes different also.

There are now recommendations from European researchers that a system of marine observatories should be put in place. Canadian observatories are already in place near Vancouver. The Russians are at it already, so is the US, and further international cooperation will be sought.

The observatories will be high tech marvels that can collect data from the surface to the bottom many thousands of metres down there. They can measure currents, acoustics, water properties, sonar, tempeatures …., and they can be connected to each other in a network. Remotely controlled vessels, communication systems will be needed too.

Industrial partners are coming in as well – there may business to be done.

There is also a big administrative challenge: How do we share these resources, what kind of rights do nations have, what will be the extent of international cooperation.. Get your fair share or occupy what you want?

Surely much of these waters are a common pool resource for humanity?

Surely we could establish underwater communities at the bottom of the oceans, working, living, finding food there?

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