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RE: Ocean Floor
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Why are countries laying claim to the deep-sea floor?

Around the world, countries are claiming obscure and difficult-to-reach tracts of the deep-sea floor, far from the surface and further still from land. Why?
There is a long history of claiming newly discovered territories, of planting the flag at far outposts of the known world.
In the early 20th Century, explorers raced to the South Pole, their sponsors keen to benefit from future exploitation of these unknown areas.
In 1945, President Harry S Truman broke with convention to claim the entire continental shelf off the US.

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Images of Crustal Age of the Ocean Floor

2008 Age Grid Whole-World Images

Showing Plate Boundaries:
PDF: Crustal Age Image with Plates (2.3 MB)
JPG: 2560x1539 Crustal Age Image with Plates (2.9 MB)
JPG: 1024x616 Crustal Age Image with Plates (574 KB)
PNG: 2560x1539 Crustal Age Image with Plates (5.5 MB)
TIF: 7676x4615 Crustal Age Image with Plates (36 MB)

No Plate Boundaries:
PDF: Crustal Age Image no Plates (2.6 MB)
JPG: 2560x1539 Crustal Age Image no Plates (3.1 MB)
JPG: 1024x616 Crustal Age Image no Plates (542 KB)
PNG: 2560x1539 Crustal Age Image no Plates (5.7 MB)
TIF: 7676x4615 Crustal Age Image no Plates (54 MB)

Credit for images above: Mr. Elliot Lim, CIRES & NOAA/NGDC

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Seamounts: Undersea mountains 'litter' ocean floor

The seafloor is littered with underwater mountains, a new global survey has revealed.
Almost 5% of the ocean is covered by seamounts, peaks rising more than 1000m above the surrounding sea floor, with 16% covered by smaller knolls.
Seamounts and knolls are important and little studied habitats for marine life, say the survey's scientists.

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Marianas Trench
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The climate secrets of the deepest part of the ocean, the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, have been probed by scientists.
The international team used a submersible, designed to withstand immense pressures, to study the bottom of the 10.9km-deep underwater canyon.
Their early results reveal that ocean trenches are acting as carbon sinks.

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The Trieste was a Swiss-designed deep-diving research bathyscaphe ("deep boat") with a crew of two, which reached a record-breaking depth of about 10,900 metres, in the deepest part of any ocean on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, on the 23rd January 1960.
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RE: Ocean Floor
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From the Moon to Marine Measurements
A discovery about the moon made in the 1960s is helping researchers unlock secrets about Earth's oceans today. By applying a method of calculating gravity that was first developed for the moon to data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, known as Grace, researchers have found a way to measure the pressure at the bottom of the ocean.

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Robot sub reaches deepest ocean
A robotic sub called Nereus has reached the deepest-known part of the ocean.
The dive to 10,902m took place on 31 May, at the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean.
This makes Nereus the deepest-diving vehicle currently in service and the first vehicle to explore the Marianas Trench since 1998.

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Marianas Trench
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Challenger Deep
A robotic submarine is undergoing final preparations to dive to the deepest-known part of the oceans.
If successful, Nereus will be the first autonomous vehicle to visit the 11,000m Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean.
Only two other vehicles have ever visited the spot before, both of them human operated.

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Ocean Floor
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Deep under the ocean's surface lies a treasure trove of new life forms, fuel sources and knowledge. But, given the darkness, freezing temperatures and crushing pressure, it's not easy to get there. Indeed 95 percent of the ocean remains unexplored; we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the seafloor.

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