There's a place on Earth so deep underwater it's an environment of extremes no human could survive yet other life forms manage to thrive.

Sometime in Earth’s very, very distant past two tectonic plates collided, forming what is now known as the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. Located east of the Mariana Islands, within the Trench’s darkness you’ll find (or at least read about, since getting there is a major issue) Challenger Deep, the deepest, darkest and one of the least explored regions on the planet.

For all of its inhospitable gloominess, Challenger Deep still manages to be home for a variety of species of creatures and micro-organisms. Humans could never survive Challenger Deep’s intense pressure; roughly one thousand-times the atmospheric pressure found at sea level. Since 2009 the Mariana Trench has been protected by the United States as part of its Marianas Trench Marine National Monument initiative, while those seeking a permit to explore Challenger Deep must deal with the Federated States of Micronesia.

Story by Jay Moon