Oceans' Depths Remeasured by CCOM Scientists

Oceans' Depths Remeasured by CCOM Scientists

Dec 07, 2011

Scientists from UNH's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (CCOM), led by Jim Gardner, have mapped the deepest part of the world's oceans in greater detail than ever before.  Measurement of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific was completed to help determine the exact extent of US waters in the region.

The US State Department funded the study because it wants to know whether the exclusive economic zone encompassing the American territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands can be pushed out beyond its current limit of 200 nautical miles (370km). This may be possible if the shape of the seafloor fulfils certain requirements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The data also gives geologists a clearer picture of the structures in one of the most fascinating subduction zones on Earth. It is at the trench where a huge slab of Pacific oceanic crust is being pulled down under the adjacent Philippines tectonic plate. Researchers want to know what happens when underwater mountains, or seamounts, go over the edge and are swallowed, and whether this relates to the frequency and scale of big earthquakes.

Read the full article
Learn more about CCOM

Bookmark and Share