How Is Sonar Used to Map the Sea Floor?
Scientists use two kinds of sonar to map the sea floor: multibeam and side scan.
Multibeam measures the depth of the sea floor. It measures the length of time it takes for the sound to travel from the boat to the sea floor and back as an echo.
Scientists use the time measurements to figure out how deep the water is.
Did you know?
Press play button to start the movie.
In this movie, a survey ship with a multibeam sonar measures the depth of the sea floor. These depth measurements are then used to create rainbow-colored maps. In general, red is used to show shallow depths and blue or purple for deeper depths. Can you see the shallowest point the ship surveyed?
Movie Credit: U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office