New satellite map shows sea floor of the world in previously unseen unprecedented detail, bringing thousands of uncharted sea mountains and new deep ocean structures. Watch the video…
Above: A marine gravity model of the North Atlantic by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Red dots show locations of earthquakes with magnitude above 5.5 and highlight the present-day location of the seafloor spreading ridges and transform faults. This gravity information shows the details of the plate tectonic history of the rifting of these continents including the subtle signatures of fracture zones that are currently buried by sediment. Credit: David Sandwell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
What would the Earth look like if we could drain the oceans?
The new map’s accuracy is thanks to improved remote sensing instruments of the ESA’s CryoSat-2 and access to two previously untapped streams of satellite data.
David Sandwell, lead scientist of the paper and a geophysics professor in the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP) at Scripps, said:
“The kinds of things you can see very clearly now are abyssal hills, which are the most common land form on the planet.”
Richard Francis, a coauthor of the paper and project manager for the development of CryoSat-2 at the European Space Agency, said:
“Although CryoSat-2’s primary mission is in the cryosphere, we knew as soon as we selected its orbit that it would be invaluable for marine geodesy, and this work proves the point.”