In the latest edition of “What If?” by xkcd, Randall Munroe answers a reader who wonders how long it would take a seven-kilogram bowling bowl to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench–the deepest part of the ocean. Once he moves beyond the simple answer, “most bowling balls float,” Munroe offers his customary slew of scenarios.
A bowling ball made of lead would reach the bottom in 23 minutes, and a bowling ball made of solid gold would make it in 17. However, a bowling ball made of solid gold would also weigh more than the average bowler. A bowling ball made of solid osmium, the heaviest naturally-occurring element, would weigh 120 kilograms, and could sink to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in just 16 minutes.
image via xkcd