Sunday, 5 October 2014

Amazing new maps of the ocean floor

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 showed just how large the ocean is and how little we know of it. In fact, we know 100 times more (pdf, pg.121) about the topography of Mars than we do about the bottom of our oceans.

But we know a little more now: researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and their partners were able to map the ocean floor in greater detail, coupling existing data with newly acquired gravitational measurements from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) CryoSat-2 and NASA’s Jason-1 satellites.

David Sandwell, the lead author of the study, tells Quartz via email that the improvements in mapping the ocean are akin to the difference between ordinary television and HDTV: “From a distance the two images look the same but as you get closer you can now see the seams of the football or the blades of grass in the HDTV but not the old analog TV.”

Spectacular drone footage of erupting Icelandic Volcano

Spectacular drone footage of Iceland's powerful Bardarbunga volcano captures molten lava and ash spewing hundreds of metres in the air

This video has no sound.
A drone captured molten lava and ash spewing from Iceland's powerful Bardarbunga volcano as it continued to erupt.
Aerial footage shot in September shows massive lava flows cascading down the side of the mountain. A look inside the crater of the volcano shows lava being spewed hundreds of feet in the air.
Icelandic authorities first became aware of this latest eruption in late August. Airspace around the volcano was closed, but officials said commercial air traffic was not affected.
The eruption first raised concerns because of one in 2010, when Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano erupted and sparked a week of international aviation chaos. Thousands of flights were cancelled when Europe's air space was closed for five days, fearing that volcanic ash could harm jet engines.