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Guaymas Basin bathymetry

Deep-sea Detectives

In 2010, WHOI scientists Adam Soule and Dan Lizarralde searched for evidence that magma from  below the seafloor had penetrated up into the sediments of the Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California. First they used multibeam sonar to map the seafloor terrain (brightly colored image). Then they used sidescan sonar to find out whether the ocean floor was just mud or included hard structures. What they found were dozens of hard features about 200 meters across and 10 meters tall, indicating that magma from deep below the seafloor had intruded up into the sediments—a process that had been thought to occur only near spreading centers (purple cleft) and mid-ocean ridges. (Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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