James Cameron: Mariana Trench & Cameron

March 26, 2012 by staff 

James Cameron: Mariana Trench & Cameron, James Cameron after returning from the ­Challenger Deep fissure in the Mariana Trench, seven miles below the surface.

The sunlight faded to an enduring darkness only a minute or so after James Cameron’s submarine slipped beneath the waves and began its descent to the bottom of the planet’s deepest chasm, the Challenger Deep fissure in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench.

For two hours and 36 minutes the filmmaker peered into the gloom and counted off the kilometres. The depth of the Bismarck came and went, at 2.9 miles (4.8km) not half way to this ocean floor. At five and a half miles, the submarine was deeper than Mount Everest stands high.

When Cameron touched down, in the hadal zone, he was almost seven miles from the surface of the sea. It was a moment seven years in the making for the Canadian film director, whose thirst for ocean exploration inspired his films Titanic, and The Abyss.

Only two people had made the dive before: Don Walsh, a US navy submariner, and Jacques Piccard, a Swiss engineer, who, in 1960, took the plunge to the fissure in their bathyscaphe the Trieste.

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