GlobSed: The new world map revealing the thickness of ocean sediments

The world's oceans are blanketed in sediments - in some places the sedimentary cover is very thick and in other places it is just a mere sprinkling. New work by CEED and international collaborators reveals a new and improved map of sedimentary thickness for the world's oceans, and it reveals far more sediments than previously thought!

GlobSed. The new map of sediment thickness in the world's oceans. It is also the first global map to cover the Nordic Seas and the Arctic Ocean.

Scientists from several European countries and Australia have joined efforts to quantify how much sediments have been deposited in the global oceans. The study led by PhD candidate Eivind Straume (CEED, UiO, Norway), including CEED authors Carmen Gaina, and Sergei Medvedev, explores global sediment thickness patterns in a newly published article in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. They show that the total amount of sediments in the oceans is much greater than previously thought, almost 30% more! 

They confirmed that sediment distribution depends on the age and latitudinal position of oceanic basins. Ocean sedimentary rocks are products of marine biological processes and land erosion, and are transported and deposited on the seafloor by winds, and ocean currents. Using a new formula derived from the sediment distribution in today’s oceans, scientists can now back-calculate how deep were the oceans in the geological past, and may reveal something about processes that have operated over millions of years.​


E. O. Straume,  C. Gaina, S. Medvedev, K. Hochmuth, K. Gohl, J. M. Whittaker, R. Abdul Fattah, J. C. Doornenbal, J. R. Hopper. 2019. GlobSed: Updated Total Sediment Thickness in the World's Oceans. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems


By Eivind Straume and Grace Shephard
Published Apr. 4, 2019 10:28 PM - Last modified Feb. 7, 2020 4:04 PM