New Seafloor Map Reveals How Strange the Gulf of Mexico Is

Data gathered by oil exploration companies was combined to create the highest resolution map ever made of the area.

The floor of the Gulf of Mexico is one of the most geologically interesting stretches of the Earth’s surface. The gulf’s peculiar history gave rise to a landscape riddled with domes, pockmarks, canyons, faults, and channels — all revealed in more detail than ever before by a new 1.4 billion-pixel map.

This striking view of the ocean floor off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas was created by a government agency you’ve likely never heard of called the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The bureau’s job is to manage exploration and development of the country’s offshore mineral and energy resources. Consequently it has access to all the survey data that private companies collect.

The exploration companies use 3-D seismic

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