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Posted on March 3rd, 2015

Free For All – Explore Ocean Tectonics From Space

A map of gravity anomalies off the coast of South Africa and Madagascar. Gravity anomalies occur where the model of our planet’s gravity differs from that measured by satellites in space. These anomalies are caused by changes in the thickness of the lithosphere – for instance, in deep valleys or tall mountains that were previously undiscovered.

The oceans of our planet cover a vast area and much of this territory remains unexplored. And while it is not currently practical to map the entire seafloor with today’s technology, we can use gravitational anomalies as detected from space to develop a rough sketch of the ocean’s tectonics. By combining data from a variety of satellites, including CryoSat-2 and Geosat, a team of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego developed this spatial model of the world’s ocean bathymetry. Included on this comprehensive website are a variety of KMLs to view marine gravity anomalies, vertical gravity gradients and gravity error inside of Google Earth. There is also a FTP where raster GIS files of these same datasets and more can be downloaded.

Until my next edition of the Free For All, happy hunting for free geospatial goodies!

Brock Adam McCarty
Map Wizard
(720) 470-7988

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