May 24, 2024

The Glow Zone

Life under pressure The ocean’s midnight zone, from about 3,300 feet to 13,100 feet under the surface is a realm of perpetual darkness.  The only light comes from bioluminescent creatures and it has a steady temperature of 39 ℉ (4℃ ). –whoi.edu

You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.

Did you know there are different layers of Ocean? That’s right! Just like the Earth has different layers like crust, mantle, outer core and inner core, the oceans have layers as well.

The different layers of the ocean are Sunlight Zone, which goes down to about 200 meters or about 656 feet; Twilight Zone, which goes down the next 1000 meters or about 3280 feet; Midnight Zone, which goes down the next 4000 meters or about 13,123 feet; Abyssal (Abyss) Zone, which goes down the next 6000 meters or about 18,685 feet; and finally Hadal (Trench) Zone, which continues down the last 11,000 meters or about 36,089 feet. 

The one we want to talk about today is the Midnight Zone. Some scientists say that this zone has three layers in it and just include the Abyssal Zone and Hadal Zone in this one layer. Either way, it is a most interesting section of the ocean, one in which we have hardly been able to research!

This is the layer where the sun doesn’t ever shine, and so anything living in this layer has to get by without sight as we know it.  Also, the temperature of this layer stays at a fairly consistent 39 degrees F or 4 degrees C, so just above freezing. All this to say, it is always dark and cold.

Another amazing thing about living so far down in darkness is that creatures here are bioluminescent, which is a big word! It means they have the ability to glow! A possible reason for this is so they can attract a mate and reproduce.


All the water above creates tremendous pressures, up to 5,800 pounds per square inch (680 kg per square cm). The pressure is so great it is hard to imagine any life other than bacteria could survive here. Yet it does. Many of the animals here are soft-bodied, which allows them to absorb pressures which might injure or kill other species. These creatures often survive by eating organic material which drifts down through the depths. Others feed off the earth itself, consuming bacteria produced from the methane and sulfides seeping through the ocean floor. These are one of the few food webs on the planet which do not include the sun.

As scientists uncover more fantastic facts about wonders of the deep oceans, the more we see a very creative God. “O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions–This great and wide sea, in which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great.” Psalms 104:24-25 NKJV

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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