European Commission logo
Energy, Climate change, Environment

Map of the week – Undersea relief names

News article |

Tomorrow on June 8, it is World Oceans Day! During this day, people from all over the world organise events to celebrate and learn about the oceans and raise awareness on ocean health. The oceans cover over 70% of our planet and this vast area houses some of the most magnificent mountain ranges, trenches, volcanoes and canyons, hidden below the waves. In honour of World Oceans Day, this map of the week allows you to explore these mysterious ocean landscapes.

Analogous to the topography on land, many ocean reliefs have received names based on their appearance. One of the most noticeable features are the mid-ocean ridges, immense submerged mountain ranges which develop where the earth’s tectonic plates are moving apart and new ocean crust is being created. Have a look at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and notice the many parallel fracture zones, long linear valleys separating the different segments of the ridge. Where one tectonic plate dives below another, deep oceanic trenches occur. The Mariana Trench in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean reaches down to 11 kilometres below sea level in a place known as the Challenger Deep. Seamounts, subsea mountains rising from the ocean floor, occur throughout the world’s oceans and are often formed from extinct volcanoes like the ones around the Hawaiian Islands. Submarine canyons, steep valleys cut into the edges of the continental crust, transport sediments from the continents to the deep ocean. Some of the most impressive ones occur along the European Coasts. Go and explore these and many other interesting ocean landscapes with the European Atlas of the Seas!

Access the map

The data in this map were provided by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.