New map of world’s seafloor shows unseen details

New map of world’s seafloor shows unseen details

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US, October 7, 2014:The research team at Scripps Institute of Oceanography at University of California San Diego utilising two new sets of satellite data have produced a new map of world’s seafloor, which is twice more accurate than its 20-year old earlier version.

Joan Cleveland, Office of Naval Research (ONR) deputy director, Ocean Sensing and Systems Division said, ““The use of satellite altimeter data and Sandwell’s improved data processing technique provides improved estimates of marine gravity and bathymetry world-wide, including in remote areas. Accurate bathymetry and identifying the location of seamounts are important to safe navigation.”

The latest map pulls out data from European Space Agency’s (ESA) CryoSat-2 satellite using a scientific model captures gravity measurements of the seafloor and NASA’s Jason-1 satellite that mapped gravity field during its mission. CryoSat-2 mainly captures polar ice data but also operates continuously over the oceans.

The new map has shown details of several undersea mountains and less-studied remote ocean basins. Amongst previously unseen features also included are the newly revealed continental connections across Africa and South America, and fresh evidence for seafloor spreading ridges at the Gulf of Mexico.

Richard Francis, a co-author 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.”

The latest map also lays the foundation for the forthcoming new version of Google’s ocean maps.

Source: Scripps