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What Happens When a Submarine Hits “Crush Depth”

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The depths of the ocean are a mysterious, unknown place. Shrouded in darkness and pressure, it’s not an environment that many dare to explore. But what happens when a submarine is pushed beyond its normal operating limits? When a submarine reaches its crush depth, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Today, we take a look at what occurs when a submarine reaches its crush depth, how such an event can change the course of history for people on board, and what happened to the US Navy submarine USS Thresher. Let’s dive in.

The “crush depth” signifies a depth at which a submarine will hit this critical threshold and be claimed by the deep sea. It should be noted that depth ratings and real world max diving distance aren’t always the same, so a submarine could potentially cross its maximum dive depth and return to the surface.

In the case of a submarine, diving beyond the depth it is rated for can result in catastrophic hull failure and subsequent implosion. If you grab a balloon and squeeze, the balloon isn’t strong enough to handle the forces you are exerting on it, and as a result, it pops.

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