In a new finding, scientists unveiled a high-resolution map containing around 10000 mountains buried deep in the sea. Map consists of mountains and extinct volcanoes that were previously unknown.
“You might think, that’s not so much better, but instead of seeing 5,000 old volcanoes down there, now we can see 10,000,” said David Sandwell, a geophysics professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego who led the study. “We have maps of Mars that have 100 to 10,000 times more resolution than maps of the deep ocean,” he said.
With the help of data collected by two satellites, European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2, and NASA’s Jason-1, researchers created an astonishing high-resolution map. Height of the water at the ocean’s surface is affected by massive mountains and volcanoes that gave scientists a clear view of what is hidden beneath the sea.
“You have to go through a bit of math and physics to get there, but, for example, a 1.2-mile-high volcano will produce a very low amplitude bump on the ocean surface of about 10 centimetres over 12.5 miles,” Sandwell said. “This is how we are measuring what is on the bottom.”
On “Whether we will able to map bottom of the sea floor with high resolution as those of Mars?”, scientists said that mapping bottom of the sea is very time-consuming and expensive thus it is next to impossible to map bottom of the sea floor in this generation.
“To do that mapping would take somewhere between 100 and 200 ship years,” he said. “If you had ten ships you could do it in 10 years, but no one is willing to pay for that. It would cost about the same as a Mars mission.”
So for now, scientists will have to settle for scouring this new map for unknown features of the deep ocean.
“The resolution is still pretty terrible, but it’s better than what we had before,” said Sandwell.