ArcGIS StoryMaps

How many Grand Canyons deep is Challenger Deep? And other important questions.

Challenger Deep is so deep that they put deep right in the name. It’s not Challenger Basin or Challenger Moderate. It’s Challenger Deep. You don’t just go around doing that every day.

But sometimes it can be hard to wrap one’s head around how big something is if you don’t see or experience it for yourself. And few can say they’ve experienced Challenger Deep. So, I invite you to while away five or ten perfectly good minutes of your allotted time on Earth getting a bit of perspective on Challenger Deep with this story.

You’re still here? Ok, driving a hard bargain, I respect that. Would you be tempted by a rudimentary description of Challenger Deep’s geologic formation?

No? Hmmmmmm. What about this tidbit about the deadly sport of Free-diving and the limits of the human body’s ability to survive depth and pressure?

Still no? Golly. Ok, what if we were to substitute rational units of measure and supplant all that with Grand Canyon units?


Well then there’s just no pleasing you. You will have to carry out your days with a willingly incomplete comprehension of the magnitude of Challenger Deep. Yes, perhaps you’ll sleep better at night, not dreaming of tumbling through impossible depth and darkness. Surely you’ll have a spring in your step without the burden of knowing the enormous environmental challenges facing Challenger Deep. You may even have greater clarity of thought and vision, without a constant and distracting tugging at your imagination to really fall into the humbling scale of the surface of our planet. All of that. But it will be a thinner sort of existence, to know that you don’t know. What a difficult quadrant of the johari window to find one’s self within.

Here’s that link again, just in case you change your mind.

Yes?? You read it? Really? Ah, that’s good. Crazy right?

Happy Delving, John

P.S. If you find the maps in this story intriguing, here is a how-to. And if you are eager to learn more about our glorious hydrosphere, check out Living Atlas. Want to make a better, more practical, StoryMap than this one? It’s easy!

About the author

I have far too much fun looking for ways to understand and present data visually, hopefully driving product strategy and engaging users. I work in the ArcGIS Living Atlas team at Esri, pushing and pulling data in all sorts of absurd ways and then sharing the process. I also design user experiences for maps and apps. When I'm not doing those things, I'm chasing around toddlers and wrangling chickens, and generally getting into other ad-hoc adventures. Life is good. You might also like these Styles for ArcGIS Pro:

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