Is it true that humans have barely scratched the surface of deep sea exploration?

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And if so, how is it that we have underwater internet cables stretching around the globe, etc?

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Yes. The issue is that below a certain point there is so much pressure we simply cannot go down there safely. And there is a vast portion of the ocean that fits that.

The way that this ( **humans have barely scratched the surface of deep sea exploration** ) is defined is pretty misleading IMO. Of course, oceans make up 70% of Earth’s surface and have an additional dimension of depth, so we obviously haven’t been everywhere especially given the fact that it is extremely difficult to go to extreme depths due to the pressure. But I’m fairly certain there are places on the surface of Earth we haven’t visited exactly either.

Due to this difficulty in getting to extreme depths we’ve only been to a few places we have deduced to be interesting. In addition to that, because of the low visibility in water even where we’ve been the area of close examination is rather limited but as most of the ocean floor is rather uniform outside of volcanically active zones the amount of variety you might find is probably pretty small there.

Aside from that, planes and satellites make it pretty easy to take photos of the surface of Earth and create maps with a high degree of accuracy, but there are also relatively precise maps of the entire ocean floor made with sonar and radar. And these maps make it pretty easy to decide where to lay underwater cables. To lay these you also don’t necessarily need go down but simply let the cable go underwater.