The 1922 launch of the USS Milwaukee.
The 1922 launch of the USS Milwaukee.

Down in the Milwaukee Deep

If you've ever wondered how low Milwaukee can go, wonder no more. Even though Lake Michigan isn't even the deepest of the Great Lakes, Milwaukee is as deep as you can get in the Atlantic Ocean.

There a spot 100 miles northwest off the coast of Puerto Rico that is called the Milwaukee Deep – alternatively, the Milwaukee Depth – and it's the deepest spot in the Atlantic Ocean. The Milwaukee Deep is located within the Puerto Rico Trench, a low spot where two tectonic plates meet along the boundary between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

No, this low spot in the Atlantic is not named for Milwaukee because it's full of High Life. Rather, it got its name from a U.S. navy Omaha class cruiser called the USS Milwaukee, which, in 1939, discovered the Milwaukee Deep.

The ship recorded the submarine depression as being at 28,680 feet. Thirteen years later another ship took a reading of 28,560 feet, a figure considered to be nearly identical to the USS Milwaukee's datum.

What's at the bottom of the sea in the Milwaukee Deep? According to, "Its bottom is covered with mud, sand, rock, and shells."

The USS Milwaukee – one of five ships thusly named – was launched in 1922 and was transferred on loan to the Soviet navy in 1944 and rechristened the Murmansk. It was scrapped in 1949.

In case you're interested, there's also a science fiction thriller called "Milwaukee Deep." Just sayin'.

There you go, a free bit of New Year's Eve party small talk for you.


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