Flight AF 447 Ocean Floor

Atlantic Ocean Floor Profile

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Atlantic Ocean Floor

Following the (as yet unresolved) crash of the Air France airbus on flight AF 447, much has been made about the ocean floor having huge cracks and being very uneven.  Most atlases, online and TV news reports say this and back the statement up with visual imagery of the bathymetry.  See this website for instance which has extensive large scale imagery.

It thus enters the perception of people that this is what the bottom of the ocean looks like.  Like in the picture to the left for instance.

Atlantic Floor False Scale

Atlantic Floor False Scale

This image at right is the one usually shown (e.g. on the Wikipedia article) for the sea floor profile in the vicinity of the AF 447 crash.  It has a greatly exaggerated vertical scale – and everyone says this.

But the thing is that the mental picture we have IS that of the picture – it’s how our brains work!  We conveniently forget the reality!

Atlantic Floor Rea lScale

Atlantic Floor Rea lScale

For comparison, I’ve reworked the image here.  I estimate the vertical exaggeration at 85x so all I’ve done is re-sized the picture’s vertical dimension by that amount, keeping the horizontal scale the same!  Be aware that the real scale image is ~2500 pixels wide!

Click on both thumbnails for comparisons! The real scale image now shows the ocean floor to be more like gently rolling hills, not precipitous chasms…

How this affects the continuing search for clues, I don’t know.  I’m sure the guys in the submarines are well aware of the ocean floor – after all, it’s their job and their working environment.

I’ve done this rescale of a popular image for my own, and others benefit, that’s all.


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