3D map reveals New Zealand's underwater realm

Last updated 16:07 23/11/2012
sea map
SEASCAPE: An updated version of the Undersea New Zealand map shows the shape of the seafloor.

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Niwa has released a high resolution map which gives a fresh insight into the shape of New Zealand's diverse marine realm.

It is an updated version of the Undersea New Zealand map published in 1997 and is viewable in 3D.

It shows the shape of the seafloor within one of the world's most extensive deepwater jurisdictions, detailing the submarine trenches, underwater volcanoes and active submarine canyons.

The map is generated from digital elevation models using about 1.5 million square kilometres of multibeam coverage with over a third of that mapped by Niwa's research vessel Tangaroa.

"Recent technological advances mean we can now map the seabed in detail approaching that of terrestrial (land) mapping," says Niwa's ocean geologist Dr Helen Neil.

The map, which is publicly available from Monday, shows the abundance of sinuous canyons and channels that slice through the continental margin, allowing sediment from the land to flow into the deep ocean, both west and east of New Zealand.

For more information visit: www.niwa.co.nz/publications/posters.

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- Fairfax Media

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