Related on TestTube:
How Much Life Do We Know Even Exists In The Ocean?
Why Are the Oceans Salty?
Each week on TestTubePlus, we pick one topic and cover it from multiple angles. This week, we're delving deep into everything you've ever wondered or been curious about in regards to the Ocean. Over the course of the week we'll be discussing why they're so important to us, what we don't know about them, how we are currently using them, and much more. Yesterday, Trace explained why its so hard to track how much life is in the world's oceans. Today's topic is the ocean floor, something that scientists are still learning about.
We've always had an idea of what the bottom of the ocean might look like. We know that
it contains the largest mountain ranges on earth--canyons that make the Grand Canyon look puny and cliffs with three-to-four mile drop-offs. Some critics have pointed out that we've explored space more than our own oceans. Oceanographer David G. Gallo
said we've explored less than 10 percent of this planet--perhaps less than 5 percent However, over the last two years, there's been some huge break-throughs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a 3D, interactive map of the ocean floor in 2014. It combines surveying missions dating back to 1937, and is actively being updated. They recently added satellite radar altimeter data, and that greatly improved the accuracy of it. It uses a picture of the sea surface that reflects features of the sea floor far below. Noe it's twice as accurate as past surveys and significantly more regions have been mapped. So now we are starting to pinpoint previously unknown ridges, shelfs, volcanos, for example there is a 497-mile (800 km) ridge in the South Atlantic Ocean that formed after Africa and North America rifted apart.
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Big data maps world's ocean floor (University of Sydney)
"It is the first time the composition of the seafloor, covering 70 percent of the Earth's surface, has been mapped in 40 years; the most recent map was hand drawn in the 1970s."
Ocean (Encyclopedia of Earth)
"Oceans cover approximately 65.7% or 335 million square kilometers (129 million square miles) of Earth's surface with a volume of about 1,370 million cubic kilometers (329 million cubic miles). The average depth of these extensive bodies of seawater is about 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles). Maximum depths can exceed 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in a number of areas known as ocean trenches."
Why Are Oceans Salty? (Live Science)
"Ocean water contains lots of different mineral salts: sodium, chloride, sulfate, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bicarbonate and bromide. These salts enter the ocean through rivers, which pass over rocks and soil, picking up salt along the way."