Thursday 15 December 2011

Subduction of underwater mountains

Amazing new images from the depths of the Pacific Ocean reveal one of Earth's most violent processes: the destruction of massive underwater mountains. They expose how tectonic action is dragging giant volcanoes into the ocean trench. The volcanoes are strung across several thousand kilometres of ocean floor and are moving westward on the Pacific tectonic plate at up to 6cm per year.
The extraordinary scene was captured along the Tonga Trench during a research expedition last summer. The trench is a highly active fault line running north from New Zealand towards Tonga and Samoa.
The video clip featured here could be used with any of our Plate tectonics activities


Anonymous said...

An even more interactive option is asking them to do the multibeam flythroughs themselves!

The software used to make these visualisation is called Fledermaus -meaning bat (as in the flying bat) in German.

Their free viewer- IVS4D, can be used to view the visualization for free and do flythroughs yourself

A set of preprepared sample data or Fledermaus ".scene" files can be downloaded from

I am currently viewing a volcano in Hawaii!!

seabedhabitats said...

Forgot to mention other useful GIS sites such as Prof Deep Sea Dawn
Davey Jones' Locker

See also the Fledermaus .sd files and GIS
visualisations website

Free GIS viewer available ESRI ArcExplorer and also on the web