19 Aug 2010

NIWA maps reveal secrets of the seabed

10:28 pm on 19 August 2010

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has released images of the seabed around New Zealand in unprecedented detail.

The maps show ridges, volcanoes, plateaus and canyons and are available online at no cost.

NIWA says they reveal an area of 11.7 million square kilometres and display undersea features to a depth of 11,000 metres.

The maps were created using a sonar-like system on ships which bounced soundwaves off the ocean floor to reveal the terrain.

It took journeys totalling more than five million kilometres to gather the data.

NIWA says the maps will be of use to anyone using the marine environment, as well as people wanting to hang an image on their wall.

The maps can be downloaded from NIWA's website.