Digital world map of seafloor

The Earth's seafloor is far more diverse than previously thought, with the first digital map of the planet's deep sea geological seascape revealing a kaleidoscope of diversity. It is only the second map of the seafloor, which covers 70 per cent of the Earth's surface. The first map, below, was hand drawn in the 1970s, had a five-colour key and relied heavily on assumption.
7 Pins13 Followers
First digital map of seafloor reveals kaleidoscope of diversity

First digital map of ocean sediments reveals weaker carbon sink

The colder waters encircling Antarctica are marked in shades of green on the above map, indicating the sediment is heavily influenced by the cold water-loving phytoplankton known as diatoms. These critters, which are too small to see with the naked eye, have silica shells which after they die accumulate on the seafloor, locking away carbon.

A still shot from the world's first digital map of the seafloor's geology. [Credit: Earthbyte Group, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney].

The first map, above, was hand drawn in the 1970s, had a five-colour key and relied heavily on assumption. The original map shows a relatively featureless and barren place where huge tracts of the ocean floor are envisioned to be covered by just one type of sediment," said geophysicist Dietmar Muller from Sydney University's school of geosciences.

This is a still shot of the world's first digital map of the seafloor's geology. Geology of ocean floor revealed .

First digital map of seafloor reveals the deep ocean basins are much more complex than previously thought. A lot of the deep sea sediment is formed by the microscopic life that thrives on the sea surface - namely tiny organisms called phytoplankton as seen below. When they die, they drift to the seafloor like marine snow. "The seabed is a recorder of this activity," Professor Muller said.

Microscopic plant-like organisms called phytoplankton are the base of the marine food web, and they play a key role in removing carbon dioxide from the air.

Published in the journal Geology, the map could also become an unexpected aid in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 because it plots the type of sediments covering the seafloor of the southern Indian Ocean, as seen in the map above.

Published in the journal Geology, the map could also become an unexpected aid in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight because it plots the type of sediments covering the seafloor of the southern Indian Ocean, as seen in the map above.

The contribution of the Murray-Darling river system is captured above, with the yellow sandy deposits a result of the sediment being washed through the inland basin and out to sea. The brown blotches further out to sea show where the heavier mud and clay sediments have settled.

First digital map of seafloor reveals kaleidoscope of diversity


More ideas
Pinterest
Search