“20000 Leagues Under the Sea” Part1 Ch13

Question 1: Professor Aronnax describes figures concerning the general dimensions and volume of the ocean.  Are these figures accurate?

Answer 1: According to modern knowledge, the oceans comprise about 89.219 billion acres of surface area.  So Aronnax was off by a factor of 1000 when he said 89 million acres.  When he estimates 2,250 million cubic miles of water in volume of the oceans he is off again.  Modern estimates of ocean water volume provide a figure about 6.845 times greater.

Here is a website that has volumes of oceans in metric units:


Question 2: How deep can the sun’s rays penetrate the ocean water?  Can it really penetrate over 150 fathoms?  What wavelengths penetrate the furthest?  Does this explain why the color of the ocean appears to change with depth?

Answer 2: According to the NOAA Ocean Explorer website at:


the human eye can detect light as deep as 900 meters undersea.  Underwater fish might be able to detect light even deeper. The intensity of sunlight in ocean water decreases by roughly a factor of 10 for every 75 meters.  Water also absorbs longer wavelengths like reds and yellows more with increased depth than shorter wavelengths.  Thus objects that might otherwise appear red in air might appear grey or black under a given amount of water because there isn’t enough red wavelengths left to be reflected back to the eye after they have been absorbed by the water. 

Question 3: Speaking of Captain Nemo, Professor Aronnax said: 

“Ah!” thought I to myself, “I understand the life of this man; he has made a world apart for himself, in which he treasures all his greatest wonders.”

Do we all need a degree of reclusiveness in order to treasure our own greatest wonders?

Question 4: Are there modern submarines whose hulls like the Nautilus contain sliding panels to reveal reinforced glass viewing ports? Are modern submersibles’ viewing ports very big?  What are they made of?  How thick are they?

Question 5: What is the green labre?

Question 6: What is the banded mullet?

Question 7: What is the roundtailed goby?

Question 8: What is the Japanese scombrus?

Question 9: What are azurors?

Question 10: What are banded spares?

Question 11: What are aclostones?

Question 12: What are Japanese salamanders?

Question 13: What are spider lampreys?

Question 13: The Nautilus followed the Black River, the Kuro-Sivo of the Japanese.  What other ocean currents did it follow on its journeys?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: