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D. Technological Advances In The Sea

Narrator: This is Science Today. Thanks to new technology, researchers have been able to get detailed images of the Earth's surface below the seafloor. John Orcutt of the University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography says only recently has it been possible to actually build instruments that could last long at the bottom of the ocean.

Orcutt: Instrumentation when I first started doing this stuff now about twenty-five years ago - we could leave things on the bottom no more than a few weeks. We didn't have enough recording capabilities to record more than a few hours of data on the bottom. But all that changed, really with the advance in computer technology available to the consumer.

Narrator: Orcutt was recently in charge of several instruments placed on the sea floor under the South Pacific which recorded seismic events for over a year, giving researchers the first highly detailed image of the Earth's mantle beneath the oceans.

Orcutt: Oceanography today is at a threshold where we're going to have the tools to bring lots of new information and a lot of new discoveries about the oceans to the table, to research and to what it's impact on public policy an so on during the coming decades.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.