Just imagine what the sailors of old would have done had they been able to see what lay below the waves of the seas. Even ocean faring vessels and explorers are curious as to what secrets are on the ocean floor.
Well, now the mystery is enlightened somewhat as scientists using two existing satellites and other data were able to make the most advanced map of the ocean floors yet and many surprises met them. What was discovered was thousands and thousands of mountains. Volcanoes still alive and spewing lava and gasses, some volcanoes that are dormant and are of incalculable age. Tectonic ridges that helped to move the continental plates, basins and other masses of gigantic size.
These new maps aren’t super high resolution but are twice as good as the last set of maps made 20 years ago. By tweaking the maps can be even better. Many say it’s high time that the maps of the ocean floors have been made as we know more about the detailed surface of the Moon and several planets like Mars, Mercury, and Venus, than we do of our own ocean floors. The reason being is the water being so thick and dense and the lack of initiative by government to fund such research.
The heroes of this story, Professor David Sandwell of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and his team of scientists who used the European Space Agency’s satellite, CryoSat-2 and NASA and France’s space agency’s satellite, Jason-1. These two satellites had been in orbit doing other jobs, but were used for this research with resounding results.
With this groundbreaking data available the world will be scouring through the images looking for anything of interest. Industry and science will be looking for tell tale signs of new deposits of oil or minerals. Maybe even precious gems and metals can be had. New and safer shipping routes and for undersea vessels like military craft and commercial submarines.
Lost ships and their treasure laden cargo may be in areas we hadn’t known existed until now and archaeologists and geologists might have a field day just looking at the new spots that they can get their shovels into.
When science makes headway like this, everyone wins. Now the challenge is to do as high res and detailed a mapping as we’ve done in other worlds. That data will be of immense historical value, but will take time and money and perhaps a global effort is what’s called for here.