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Why do we explore the deep sea and ocean floor?

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“Most people don’t think about the bottom of the ocean. When you look at maps, the ocean is portrayed as flat blue with very few features, however, this couldn’t be further from what the ocean looks like. Picture huge mountains, exotic hydrothermal vents, forests, and features that seem otherworldly, supporting diverse life that is just as alien.

“The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, yet there are still so many things we do not know about its topography or ecosystem there is more life in the ocean than anywhere else on Earth.”

This is why teams like Schmidt Ocean Institute, in collaboration with Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), continue to use cutting edge technologiesβ€”submersible vehicles, autonomous underwater robots, sensors, and camerasβ€”to explore the deep sea and ocean floor.

mapping the ocean floor
Together, these organizations can discover more, more quickly. From the video:

“There is more life in the ocean than anywhere else on earth. The water column is the largest yet least explored habitat, and is home to animals that captivate the imagination. As far down as three and a half miles, there are species of coral over 4,000 years old. Mineral-rich superheated water create towering chimneys that can hold as much life per square meter as a tropical rainforest. It is believed that hydrothermal vents like these may be where life on Earth first began.”

hydrothermal vents

“There are predicted to be millions of unknown species whose contribution to ocean and human health is still unknown. The deep ocean has already given us compounds to treat diseases and develop diagnostic tools.”

deep sea creatures

“Three-quarters of the Earth’s volcanic activity occurs in the deep. Data gathered from deep-sea exploration can help predict earthquakes and tsunamis, potentially saving thousands of lives.

“High-resolution maps reveal new features and guide scientists to unexplored areas where further study can take place. A map of our seafloor will be an invaluable tool in protecting our ocean.”

exploring the ocean floor
Watch these related videos next:
β€’ Understanding the biodiversity of the Ningaloo Canyons
β€’ Planet-changing β€˜invisible’ microbes on the deep sea floor
β€’ Can life thrive without the sun?
β€’ The mysterious origins of life on Earth
β€’ Hidden volcanoes and superheated deep-sea vents on A Perfect Planet

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