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"How deep into the ocean would you have to


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Topics: oceans, ocean, pressure, ocean depth, water, random crap, science
Asked by dwdrums 27 months ago ( Send a Compliment)

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"You can sit on the bottom of the deepest ocean and not be Best Answer
crushed..." Official Rating
by Jwiggin on Sep 04 2007 (27 months ago)

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The human body, for the most part, is made up of water (60%+/-) and other substances that are
approximately as dense as water - with very little gas. What gas the human body does have would get
compressed as the body goes further and further down. Specifically, any gas in your lungs, ear (and
related canals), blood, and stomach will become compressed.

Let's take SCUBA diving as a basic intro to how the body and how gasses behave under water. When you
dive under water, you'll feel pressure in your ears - this is the air in your ears (and related canals) getting
smaller as a result of the water pressure. If you can allow water to enter this space, the pressure
equalizes and the discomfort disappears. As the air in your chest compresses, you have less air to
breathe - but fortunately, you have an air tank and can add compressed air to your lungs (via breathing),
thereby filling your lungs and allowing you to breathe.

The reason(s) why human beings don't go to thousands of feet without specialized suits doesn't have to
do with getting crushed - it has to do with a few things:

1) The Bends (decompression sickness). When the body is under pressure, it behaves a bit like a bottle of
soda. If the pressure is released too quickly, bubbles form in your body (brain, blood, joints). This can
result in anything from discomfort to instant death - with anything in between (brain damage, stroke, lung
problems, nerve damage, etc). If you go down to say 3000 feet and try to surface, it would likely take a
LONG time to decompress appropriately and safely to come back up.

2) Breathing. Oxygen becomes TOXIC under pressure. 21% of air is oxygen - this becomes toxic at
depth, so there are different artificial gasses and different levels of oxygen in some tanks, allowing divers
to go deeper. The maximum depth that I could find on the internet was @1800 feet. Beyond that, there
is no way for divers to breather.

So - in short, you can't/won't get crushed by the ocean - you die because you can't breathe.

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"twenty two miles underwater." Official Rating


by CowOfDeath on Sep 04 2007 (27 months ago)

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How deep into the ocean would you have to swim to be crushed by the water pressure? Is ... Page 3 of 7

It's an interesting question. The depth at which your body would be crushed by water pressure is much
lower than the depths that would kill you in other ways, but if we don't consider the problems with
breathing at those depths, how far down would you have to go to be killed by sheer pressure?

There have been several very deep dives, but many of these involve very heavy suits and/or a
submarine. Let's ignore those and say that we're just wearing a swimsuit (for modesty) and have
completely exhaled and can just go without breathing for an unnaturally long time.

Pressure's a funny thing. We could probably survive in vacuum without major permanent injury for at
least 30 seconds or so (except to your eardrums and possibly your eyes), so high or low pressure is
actually not that scary. If you move to a high or low pressure environment slowly enough, your body is
pretty smart about internally equalizing its pressure to match.

Much of your body is water. Water is very, very, VERY hard to compress. Any air in your system is in real
trouble, but the water isn't going to compress much. I mean, look at the water you're swimming in. A
can full of water from 1000 ft down is pretty much the same amount of water as a can of water at sea
level. So the water in you won't be compressed anytime soon. What's the hardest thing in your body to
crush other than water? Probably bones. found a number online that claimed bones crush at 24,600
pounds per square inch. 1 atmosphere is about 14.6 pounds/in^2. Now we just need a formula that
computes pressure for depth.

As far as equations go, this one's pretty simple. At sea level, you're at 1 atmosphere. For every 10
meters you drop, you gain about 1 more atmosphere. So a formula is atmospheres = 1 + depth/10. And
psi = 14.6 + depth/1.46.

Now we just solve 24,600 = 14.6 + depth/1.46 and say that you have to be 35894 meters, or twenty two
miles underwater before your bones will be crushed by the water pressure (that is to say, 6 leagues under
the sea). You'd probably die in a host of other ways before you reached bone-crushing depth, though.

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"The oxygen toxicity will kill you before the water pressure Official Rating
does...but if it didnt read on..."
by TheShuffler262 on Sep 04 2007 (27 months ago)

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Here's what we know...

Water pressure forces blood vessels in the chest to swell, filling the void left by the lungs with an
incompressible fluid. As you dive deeper the water pressure around you forces your lung capacity smaller
and smaller, even down to the size of a grapefruit.

For solid objects like our bones and muscles, this added pressure is not much of a problem; but it is a
problem for any air-filled spaces like the mouth, ears, sinuses and lungs. Which would be the first to give
way to the water pressure.

In terms of SCUBA...

The maximum depth someone can dive will be directly related to the percent of oxygen in the breathing
mixture. The air mixture we as humans breath is mostly made up of oxygen and nitrogen. The ratio is
around 80% nitrogen and 19% oxygen and 1% other gases. The same gas, oxygen, that keeps us alive
can become toxic and kill us under high pressure. I can't remember the depth but I think it was around
335 ft. sea water that oxygen becomes toxic.

How do we prevent oxygen toxicicity? Reduce the concentration of oxygen and replace it with a different
gas. Say helium for instance. Since our bodies only use about 5% of the 19% of oxygen we breath, we
can replace a portion of the gas with something that is relatively safe under pressure. This is called a tri-
mix gas (when I got certified it was also labeled "safe-air", but is basically a mixture of 3 gases).

I don't know what the limits are for tri-mix diving. A couple of other things that divers who dive over the
recreational limits of 60 ft. deep are nitrogen narcosis and HPNS (High pressure nervous syndrome)
Narcosis is what a diver can feel when nitrogen is under pressure. Many divers say it is similar to being
drunk or a narcotic effect thus the name. HPNS can cause anxiety, uncontrolled trembling, nasuea.

 
Some Records...

Mark Ellyatt (UK) currently holds the (unconfirmed) world record for the deepest dive using SCUBA. The
dive of 313m beat the previous record set by the late John Bennet of 308m (confirmed). Today, however,
that boundary has been pushed to at least 531 feet.

The above records were set using 'recreational' SCUBA. Commercial dives to depths greather than 500m
have been made using specialized commercial and military diving equipment and support systems.

Formula:
One atmosphere will balance the pressure of 33ft of water. Therefore, if you go 33ft deep into
water, the pressure increases by one atmosphere -it increases by 15 pounds per square inch
(psi).
Pressure equals depth times 15 divided by 33
For example, if you go 66ft down under water, thats 30psi pressure.
For one mile down (5280 feet), calculate:
5280 * 15 / 33 = 2400 psi (over a ton per square inch!)
So I would have to guess that about 650ft would be the farthest a human could go in plain
scuba (before the pressure did him in), but then they probably couldnt make it back due to
oxygen toxicity and getting the bends.
All in all, this would equate to around 295 lbs per square inch.

Sources: http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/1998-11/912136521.Ph.r.html and my


experience as a diver

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"You wouldn't be crushed..." Official Rating


by SiliconOwl on Sep 09 2007 (26 months ago)

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...no matter how deep you go.

Your body is made up of mostly water and is incompressible. This means that your body's tissues will not
compressed, or "crush" as you might think no matter how much water pressure is applied. A swimmer
can badly damage lungs and eardrums, but not get crushed.

Not to say bad things would not happen to you...

Any spaces in your body occupied by air would compress as you went deeper, your lungs, ears and
sinuses. If no air is available this becomes a problem fairly quickly, painful in tens of feet (I know from
experience) and potentially deadly not much further. Rupture of the fragile tissues in the lungs can be
easily accomplished with water pressure and quite fatal. Free divers that manage to dive to hundreds of
feet for brief moments use special techniques to minimize but not relieve this issue. If you had a supply
of air with you, such as a SCUBA system, it would supply you air at the same pressure as the surrounding
water and equalize the pressure difference, no crushing. The number one safety rule in diving is not to
hold your breath, thus allowing the SCUBA regulator to equalize pressure.

Go deep enough and the nitrogen in the air you breathe would become a poison. It dissolves into your
bloodstream more readily under pressure and begins to cause a range of symptoms generally referred to
as nitrogen narcosis, or simply "narced" in diver slang. Divers and doctors working with divers have
worked out just how deep you can go and for how long and still avoid this problem. This is taught to all
certified divers and form the basic safety limits you want to obey to avoid health risks.

If you were suddenly exposed to the pressure underwater, such as in the failure of a submarine hull, it
would be quite deadly without a great deal of depth needed, a few hundred feet perhaps depending on
how rapid the failure was. But again the fatal effects are not so much from crushing as the other nasty
goings on. When the bodies are recovered they are quite intact, ruptured lungs and eardrums but intact.

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"There's no equation" Official Rating

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by PamPerdue on Sep 04 2007 (27 months ago)

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There’s no single answer to this question because your body isn’t a solid object. In fact, since its porous,
it’s not even really possible to crush it with a fluid: lower it slowly enough and it will fill in with the fluid,
preventing crushing from happening. You can lower a body all the way to the bottom of the ocean without
crushing any part of it.

For example, your eardrums will burst at only 2.9 PSI, about 6 feet down. But you can equalize the
pressure with the Valsalva maneuver, filling your tubes with air pressurized to match the water. Divers do
it all the time.

With pressurized air tanks you can theoretically withstand any pressure at all, though in practice you’re
limited to a few hundred feet. With "fluid breathing" you can go even deeper and still stay alive.

But for dead bodies the ocean itself will provide the counter-pressure. It would be like trying to crush a
brick with holes in it. Because the pressure is equal all around, the water is really just filling it and not
pressing on it.

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