Search for flight MH370 reveals underwater world on seabed
Remnants of volcanoes, towering ridges and deep trenches have been discovered on the seabed of the southern Indian Ocean by experts mapping the underwater terrain as part of the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
Australian authorities released the 3D images on Friday, revealing for the first time details about the seafloor where efforts are being focused to find the jet, which is presumed to have crashed into the sea on March 8.
The area where the plane is thought to have gone down is largely unexplored, and officials are conducting an intensive survey of the seabed prior to the underwater probe for the plane.
“The recently acquired high-resolution bathymetry [underwater survey] data has revealed many of these seabed features for the first time,” said the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the agency leading the search.
The MH370 search area far off Western Australia includes the seabed on and around an extensive, mountainous ridge that once formed the margin between two geological plates.
The expanse had many of the features typically found in such areas, with the tectonic movements having created now-extinct volcanoes, rugged ridges up to 300 metres high and trenches some 1,400 metres deep compared with the surrounding sea floor, the bureau said.
It said the identification of these features would assist in navigation during the underwater search phase for the Boeing 777, due to begin next month.
Australia has vowed to do all it can to find the last resting place of MH370, which was carrying 239 people, many of them Chinese, when it went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.