يکشنبه 28 بهمن 1397

Marine scientists were crushing it on Twitter last week, sharing photos of highly decorated — and very squished — Styrofoam cups, which had been deformed and compressed by pressures encountered in the deep sea.

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Researchers exploring the ocean bottom frequently take Styrofoam objects — often cups, but also mannequin heads or other carved foam models — and attach them to diving submersibles. The cups are typically embellished with pictures and decorative flourishes in permanent marker, or are emblazoned with names, dates and other details about the expedition.

At depths of hundreds of feet, water pressure begins to compress the lightweight objects. And at greater depths, they are squeezed even more dramatically, crushed to a fraction of their former size. When the colorful cups eventually return to the surface, they are much smaller and denser than when they started, the scientists' photos demonstrated. [Infographic: Tallest Mountain to Deepest Ocean Trench]

Beginning on Friday (June 8), a Twitter thread emerged with researchers sharing photos of their decorated Styrofoam objects. Regan Drennan, a research assistant at the U.K.'s Natural History Museum (NHM) in London, kicked things off when she tweeted photos of shrunken, decorated cups "from 5km deep!" (about 3 miles).

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Regan Drennan


Shrunken cups, from 5km deep! Always wanted to make these 😀🥛#DeepCCZ @DivaAmon @adrg1 @helena_wiklund @Kirsty_McQuaid @OKerstenScience


6:23 PM - Jun 7, 2018

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Marine biologist and science communicator Skylar Bayer then proposed the hashtag #shrunkencupoff, and deep-sea scientist Diva Amon, a research fellow at NHM, called upon fellow researchers to tweet images of "the amazing artwork" on their shrunken cups.

Amon's challenge was quickly taken up, as Bayer promptly tweeted a photo showing 29 shrunken cups from her 2007 expedition to the East Pacific Rise — a volcanic ridge in the Pacific Ocean — where they traveled to depths of 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) below the surface. Bayer had decorated the cups as "sort of a substitute for postcards," she told Live Science in an email.

29 shrunken Styrofoam cups written on in colorful permanent markers. Some images include hydrothermal vents, dumbo octopus, turkeys and crabs.

29 shrunken Styrofoam cups written on in colorful permanent markers. Some images include hydrothermal vents, dumbo octopus, turkeys and crabs.

Skylar Bayer 🐚, Ph.D.


Replying to @DivaAmon

And so it begins! I'll throw my hat into the ring. I raise you 29 cups from 1.5 miles below the surface at 9 North, East Pacific Rise, November 2007. #shrunkencupoff #deepsea …


6:53 PM - Jun 7, 2018

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"I kept one, of course, but the rest I gave to family members, friends, and even to the two little kids I was babysitting at the time," Bayer said.

On one cup, which Bayer gifted to a professor who had given her permission to take time off for the expedition, she wrote a message thanking him for letting her miss five weeks of class to visit the bottom of the ocean.

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