Mapping the Hidden Seafloor

For those of us who love maps or geography or landforms (or all of these), the linked article above shows what you would see if the oceans were somehow drained to expose the seafloor. For best effect, watch the animation on a larger screen if available.

The image above, representing a partial exposure of the seafloor, uses a golden mustard color to show the mid-Atlantic Ridge, the continental shelf and slope around each landmass, and a number of other features. The image portrays only a partial draining of the oceans, so the really deep parts of the ocean are still covered by water, represented by black.

Speaking of depth, the article notes that the deepest known part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep, is about 11,000 meters below Mean Sea Level (MSL), while the tallest mountain, Mt. Everest is a bit over 8800 meters above MSL. This makes for a total relief of almost 20 km between the highest and lowest points on the Earth’s crust. 20 km sounds like a lot until we realize that the radius of the Earth ranges from about 6357 km at the poles to about 6378 km at the Equator. So the amount of relief happens to be almost equivalent to those differences in radius. If we use a global average radius of about 6371 km, we see that the relief on the Earth’s surface is only about 0.3% of the radius, meaning that the Earth is really rather smooth (I would have said flat, but didn’t want you to think of me as a Flat-Earther!). Not as smooth as a billiard ball, but perhaps more like the pebbled surface of an orange.

All of this leaves us with a sense of awe as we begin to appreciate the shear scale of what we see around us. And it brings to mind Psalm 95:1-6:

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

6 thoughts on “Mapping the Hidden Seafloor

  1. ” As smooth as an orange” is an interesting analogy. Relating the surface of an orange with the surface of the earth assumes surface to volume ratios(?) and uniformity of surface variations. Why not a walnut or maybe an acorn squash. Looking at the numbers statistically, there’s more that just the mean and median. There’s also the standard deviation, the sample ranges, the number of samples and the mini/max variation. Is the implication of an orange to imply that geographical ridges and Valles would not be observable from outer space or even high atmospheric altitudes? Biblically speaking, we will never fully understand why God formed the universe and everything therein in the way He did.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The work of ocean researchers and ocean scientist are very important. I am glad I am getting to learn about it now. What fascinates you the most about the ocean?


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