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Seafloor Features Are Revealed by the Gravity Field

Seafloor Features Are Revealed by the Gravity Field Image of the Day

Seafloor Features Are Revealed by the Gravity Field Image of the Day


There is another way to see the depths of the ocean: by measuring the shape and gravity field of Earth, a discipline known as geodesy. David Sandwell of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Walter Smith of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have spent much of the past 25 years negotiating with military agencies and satellite operators to allow them acquire or gain access to measurements of the Earth’s gravity field and sea surface heights. The result of their collaborative efforts is a global data set that tells where the ridges and valleys are by showing where the planet’s gravity field varies.

The map above shows a global view of gravity anomalies, as measured and assembled by Sandwell, Smith, and colleagues. Shades of orange and red represent areas where seafloor gravity is stronger (in milligals) than the global average, a phenomenon that mostly coincides with the location of underwater ridges, seamounts, and the edges of Earth’s tectonic plates. Shades of blue represent areas of lower gravity, corresponding largely with the deepest troughs in the ocean. The second map shows a tighter view of that data along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Africa and South America.

Stashed in: Science!, Awesome, Under the sea!, The World, NASA, Maps!, Geology

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That is very clever. Yeah science!

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