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科学家绘制印度洋海底地形图 或有助于找到MH370

2014-05-29    来源:dailymail    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

概要:据英国《每日邮报》5月28日报道,美国两名科学家绘制了印度洋海底地形图,或将有助于找到失联的马航客机MH370。

地形图是由来自马里兰大学国家海洋和大气管理局卫星测高实验室的科学家沃尔特•史密斯(Walter Smith)和凯伦•马科斯(Karen Marks)共同绘制,28日发表在《地球与太空》杂志的周报Eos上, 这是迄今为止关于印度洋海底最详细的地形图。

据史密斯介绍,该地形图能帮助失联客机的搜寻队伍在不同的区域选择不同的水下仪器,且有助于构建模型以预计残骸可能出现的地点。但同时他也警告说此地形图并不能保证找到失联客机,也不用于划定官方的搜寻范围。

该地形图绘制了印度洋底部长2000千米、宽1400千米的区域,包括参差不齐的高原、山脊等。地形图也显示了此前被认为可能是MH370发出的声学信号对应的水下地点。

史密斯表示,由于人们对印度洋相关区域的海底地形所知甚少,搜寻工作十分困难。事实上,南印度洋只有百分之五的海底用带回声的船只进行了测量,其它部分则是由卫星测高法提供清晰度较低的测量图片。

Could this image finally locate flight MH370? Detailed map could reveal debris of the missing plane lying on the seafloor

Two experts have released their new illustration of the Indian Ocean floor

It could unveil debris from the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

The map focuses on the area where search efforts have been looking

It corresponds to an area where signals from the black box were heard

Expert says we know more about 'the moon, Mars and Venus' than seafloor

MH370 vanished on 8 March with 239 people on board on the way to Beijing

The most detailed illustration yet of the seafloor in the Indian Ocean could reveal where the remains of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight are located.

Created by two of the world's leading ocean floor mapping experts, it will help the teams searching decide what type of underwater vehicles are needed to explore different areas.

And the technique might also reveal where debris from the crash lies.

The illustration was created by Walter Smith and Karen Marks, both of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry in College Park, Maryland.

The seafloor topography map illustrates jagged plateaus, ridges and other underwater features of a large area underneath the Indian Ocean.

This is where search efforts have focused since contact with Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was lost on 8 March

Boeing 777 Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 with the registration number 9M-MRO flies over Poland 5 February 2014 on a previous journey. The plane, with 239 people on board, dropped off air traffic control screens at about 1:30 a.m. on 8 March 2014, less than an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing

The image was published today in Eos, the weekly newspaper of the Earth and Space sciences, published by the American Geophysical Union.

The new illustration of an area 2,000 by 1,400 kilometres (1,250 miles by 870 miles) where the plane might be shows locations on the seafloor corresponding to where acoustic signals from the airplane's black boxes were reportedly detected at the surface by two vessels in the area.

It also shows the two plateaus near where these 'pings' were heard.

It points out the deepest point in the area: five miles (7.9 kilometres) underneath the sea in the Wallaby-Zenith Fracture Zone - about as deep as 20 Empire State buildings stacked top to bottom.

Undersea mountains and plateaus rise nearly three miles (five kilometres) above the deep seafloor, according to the map.

Satellite altimetry (measuring altitude) has made it possible to depict the topography of vast regions of the seafloor that would otherwise have remained unmapped, Smith said.

To illustrate the topography of the search area, Smith and Marks used publicly available data from various models and data banks, along with information culled from news reports.

Smith said the terrain and depths shown in the map could help searchers choose the appropriate underwater robotic vehicles they might use to look for the missing plane.

Knowing the roughness and shape of the ocean floor could also help inform models predicting where floating debris from the airplane might turn up.

But he cautions that the new illustration is not a roadmap to find the missing airplane - nor does the map define the official search area for the aircraft, he added.

'It is not "x marks the spot",' Smith says of their map.

'We are painting with a very, very broad brush.'

Search efforts for the missing airplane have focused on an area of the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia where officials suspect that the plane crashed after it veered off course.

After an initial air and underwater search failed to find any trace of the airplane, authorities announced this month that they will expand the search area and also map the seabed in the area.

Smith pointed out that the search for the missing plane is made more difficult because so little is understood about the seafloor in this part of the Indian Ocean.

In the southeast Indian Ocean, only five per cent of the ocean bottom has been measured by ships with echo soundings.

Knowledge of the rest of the area comes from satellite altimetry, which provides relatively low-resolution mapping compared to ship-borne methods.

'It is a very complex part of the world that is very poorly known,' Smith says.

He added that a lack of good data about Earth's seafloors not only hinders search efforts, it also makes it harder for scientists to accurately model the world's environment and climate.

Today, our knowledge of our planet's undersea topography is 'vastly poorer than our knowledge of the topographies of Earth's Moon, Mars and Venus,' Smith and Marks write in Eos.

This is because these other planetary bodies have no oceans, making their surfaces relatively easy to sense from space.

Smith further added that he hoped that 'the data collected during the search for MH370 will be contributed to public data banks and will be a start of greater efforts to map Earth's ocean floor.'



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