How Deep Is the Ocean?

  • Peter Townsend Harris


How deep is the ocean? To find the answer to this question is not as simple as you may think. Ocean mapping technology has developed over time, and there have been many advances like the invention of sonar. But it is a fact that Mars is better mapped than of our own ocean floor. The search for the missing Malaysian Airline Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean illustrates how poorly our oceans are mapped. In this chapter we will learn how to take a piston core sample of the ocean floor, and we will meet Maurice (Doc) Ewing and learn how he invented seismic profiling so that we could “see” the layers of rocks and sediment beneath the ocean floor. But all of our sonars and seismic systems make a lot of noise. How has this impacted on marine mammals and other ocean creatures?


Maurice (Doc) Ewing HMS Challenger Mariana Trench Sonar Dead reckoning Multibeam echosounder Malaysian Airline Flight MH370 Seafloor mapping Börje Kullenberg Piston core Seismic profile Hydrophone 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Townsend Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.GRID-ArendalArendalNorway

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