Three fifths of the Earth's surface is under the ocean, and the ocean floor is as rich in detail as the land surface with which we are familiar. This animation simulates a drop in sea level that gradually reveals this detail. As the sea level drops, the continental shelves appear immediately. They are mostly visible by a depth of 140 meters, except for the Arctic and Antarctic regions, where the shelves are deeper. The mid-ocean ridges start to appear at a depth of 2000 to 3000 meters. By 6000 meters, most of the ocean is drained except for the deep ocean trenches, the deepest of which is the Marianas Trench at a depth of 10,911 meters.
Animation of the draining of the Earth's oceans. The first frame indicates no decrease and the second frame drains all water above sea level. Each subsequent frame represents a 10 meter drop in the level of the Earth's oceans. The high resolution frames labeled 'Mask' can be used with the individual images below to create higher resolution versions of this animation.
Please give credit for this item to: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Geophysical Data Center, 2006, 2-minute Gridded Global Relief Data (ETOPO2v2) - http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/fliers/06mgg01.html
The Blue Marble Next Generation data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC) and NASA's Earth Observatory.
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GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 188.8.131.52.0