A new map of the world's seafloor, that offers thousands of unseen seamounts on ocean floor, has been developed by a team of scientists.
The map provides a more vivid picture of the structures that make up the deepest, least-explored parts of the ocean, along with new clues about the formation of the continents.
The researchers discovered that seamounts and earthquakes are often linked and most seamounts, which were once active volcanoes, are usually found near tectonically active plate boundaries, mid-ocean ridges and subducting zones.
The new map is twice as accurate as the previous version produced nearly 20 years ago, say the researchers, who are affiliated with California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and other institutions.
The authors stated that one of the most important uses will be to improve the estimates of seafloor depth in the 80 percent of the oceans that remain uncharted or (where the sea floor) is buried beneath thick sediment.
The map also provides a foundation for the upcoming new version of Google's ocean maps that will fill large voids between shipboard depth profiles.
The study is published in the journal Science.