Science News
Published: Oct 3, 2014
Ocean floor map uncovers thousands of seamounts [PHOTO\VIDEO]
by Maria Gomez

Ocean floor map uncovers thousands of seamounts [PHOTO\VIDEO], The ocean has revealed it treasures via a new map that has scientistists scrambling to update the count of seamounts that they have on the record.

Using data from satellites that measure variations in Earth's gravitational field, researchers have found a new and more accurate way to map the sea floor.

According to reports, the map was devised from radar equipment aboard two separate space crafts, namely the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 satellite and NASA's Jason-1 satellite.

The new map provides details on thousands of undersea mountains, or seamounts, rising 1.6 km or more from the seafloor. The world's volcano count jumped tremendously thanks to the new map. The number of seamounts soared from around 5,000 to about 20,000,

Nearly 90% of the deep-ocean sea floor remains unmapped, a fact that's been illuminated by searchers' inability to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which is thought to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean in March.

The new map, released today (Oct. 2) in the journal Science, promises to fill in some of the blanks.

Compared with the previous map, from 1997, the resolution is twice as accurate overall and four times as better in coastal areas and the Arctic. Most of the new ridges, faults and volcanoes were undiscovered because 80 percent of the ocean floor has never been charted by ships. The new topography will improve depth estimates in much of the ocean, the researchers said. Go here for video.

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