Color and Depth
Return to Oceanography Index Page
Natural light is made up of seven basic colors we called the visible spectrum. This spectrum is filtered out as light enters the water. As depth increases loss of color occurs, red is the first color to vanish, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. These losses occur rapidly at first with red, orange and yellow. Green disappears over a greater depth. Blue seems to fade out forever then indigo and violet rapidly fade into total darkness. How vast color loss occurs is related to water clarity. The clearer the water the slower each color is lost. Under most conditions total darkness occurs at -600 feet, while in some of the clearest water this may occur at -1,200 ft.