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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Mountains in the Sea

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, October 4, 2014/Categories: natural history, space science, environment

Marine mountains (seamounts) to rival many continental massifs have been uncovered by new satellite radar. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography has just produced a series of detailed maps using data gathered by the European Space Agency's  Cryosat-2   satellite and a NASA instrument.

The Scripps researchers used a 'big-data' model that captures radar measurements of the ocean seafloor from CryoSat-2 and combines that with data from the Jason-1 a satellite, that mapped the Earth's gravity fields during its last year of operation. The research was detailed in Science Magazine and revealed thousands of new undersea mountains extending nearly a mile above the sea floor.

Global Gravity Map and Undersea Mountains (credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

Cryosat-2 and Sea Floor Radar Mapping Technology (credit: European Space Agency)

The new maps provide earth scientists with new tools to investigate ocean spreading along the continental plates and the ability to study remote ocean basins. The sensitivity of the new technology allowed the lead Scripps investigator to say: "we may be able to detect another 25,000 marine mountains on top of the 5,000 that were already known."
Earthquakes along African-Antarctic Ridge and Triple Oceanic Plate Junctions (credit: Scripps)

Scripps has created a video of how the Earth would appear if all the oceans were drained away:

It is said we know more about Mars than we do about Earth. The new maps are filling in holes with new knowledge and our planet is becoming more amazing and dynamic with each discovery.

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