Source: Environment News Service
Author: Benjamin Seidman
In 2017 only six percent of the seafloor was mapped to modern standards. But today, an international effort led by Seabed 2030 is underway to map the entire ocean floor by the end of the decade.
But this is no mean feat: Although the Seabed 2030 project has now mapped over 20 percent of the seafloor, there remains an area about twice the size of Mars to be captured in the next decade.
The resulting bathymetric maps will have many uses, ranging from coastal ocean science, habitat characterization, wave models, flooding models, wind energy development and laying cables.
But a more controversial use of the emerging data is for deep sea mining, whereby multi-ton machinery will strip-mine polymetallic nodules from the seabed and cleave mineral-rich crust from seamounts.
The areas where mining activities are likely to take place support some of the most biodiverse and scientifically important ecosystems on Earth. The DSCC argues that deep-sea mining will be impossible to monitor and is likely to be very destructive of the target ecosystems.
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