Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Under the sea

I've spent the better part of the last 6 years studying deep-marine sedimentation (how dirt from the land gets to the bottom of the ocean). One of the coolest things about this are images like the above. It is a perspective view looking north of onshore and offshore southern California. I'm constantly fascinated by the landscape on the sea floor....mountains, valleys, canyons, channels, plains. Some of those mountains are sticking up out of the water as islands. We have the surface of Mars mapped better than our own ocean floor. It's like looking at another planet...I love it! Currently I'm studying Santa Monica Basin, which is towards the top of the image...the yellowish-greenish patch to the left of Los Angeles.

If you want to explore the world's sea-floor topography, you can download this Java program that accesses online databases (kind of like GoogleEarth but for underwater). It's called GeoMapApp, it's a little clumsy and sluggish sometimes, but still pretty fun.

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