Victor Vescovo dives to the bottom of the Atacama pit

underwater explorer Victor Vescovo recently plunged deep into the Atacama Trench off the coast of Chile.

Vescovo dived beside Dr. Osvaldo UlloaDirector of Chile Milenio Institute of Oceanography (IMO).

The maximum depth recorded at Atacama Trench the lowest point was around 8,069 meters (26,473 ft). The new deepest point identified by Vescovo and Ulloa is now an unnamed bottom in the Atacama Trench, 77 nautical miles (142.6 km) north of the Richard’s Deep.

It was the first dive of the Chilean leg of the ring of fire part 2 expedition to map the seabed in the exploration area and collect samples at different depths of the trench.

Vescovo also made another dive on January 23 with Dr Rudebn Escribano of Chile along the eastern slope of the Richard’s Deepthe second deepest place in the Atacama Trench at 7,727 meters (25,351 ft).

Deep Ocean Coral Field at 7100 meters in the Atacama Trench (Image credit: Caladan Oceanic)

According to Vescovo:

“It was a great privilege to pilot the first human descent to the bottom of the Atacama Trench with Dr. Ulloa. Being able to glide along the seabed for three hours, personally investigating points of interest with someone who has studied the area for much of his career, was just fantastic.

“Together we have witnessed startling evidence of what appear to be other examples of chemosynthesis in the world’s deep ocean trenches. Here, however, we have seen long bacterial tendrils stick out from rock faces that never see the sunlight and draw their energy from the minerals and gases that ooze from the rocks, surrounded by an environment of freezing sea water, simply extraordinary.

While Ulloa added:

“It was a great day for Chilean science. Thanks to Victor Vescovo and Caladan Oceanic, we were able to directly witness the astonishing geological and biological richness of the Atacama pit. Exploring alongside Victor has been a tremendous privilege and a rewarding experience, and we are so grateful to him and the entire crew of the Limiting Factor submersible and its Pressure Drop support vessel.

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