Lab 1:  Age, depth, and continental margins


Data set Reference (their format, may not match ours; you are responsible for cleanup) Web site Notes
Plate boundaries Coffin, M.F., Gahagan, L.M., and Lawver, L.A., 1998, Present-day Plate Boundary Digital Data Compilation. University of Texas Institute for Geophysics Technical Report No. 174, pp. 5. Plates Project, University of Texas (old links now broken)
If you zoom in close enough,  you will probably see they did not use the SRTM30 Plus bathymetry, which was not available at the time, and did not intend for you to zoom in that closely.
MH170 area bathymetry (SRTM 30 plus) Becker, J. J., D. T. Sandwell, W. H. F. Smith, J. Braud, B. Binder, J. Depner, D. Fabre, J. Factor, S. Ingalls, S-H. Kim, R. Ladner, K. Marks, S. Nelson, A. Pharaoh, R. Trimmer, J. Von Rosenberg, G. Wallace, P. Weatherall., Global Bathymetry and Elevation Data at 30 Arc Seconds Resolution: SRTM30_PLUS, Marine Geodesy, 32:4, 355-371, 2009. We will cover how this data set was collected next week.  For now, you just need to know that this was the "best" bathymetry in this region at the time MH370 disappeared, and that it has a depth value about every km.  There is significantly more detail than appears on screen initially, so you should be sure you look at the full resolution data.
Sea floor (ocean crust) ages Muller, R.D., M. Sdrolias, C. Gaina, and W.R. Roest 2008. Age, spreading rates and spreading symmetry of the world's ocean crust, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 9, Q04006, doi:10.1029/2007GC001743. This data set was derived from models of plate spreading, which we will cover about weeks 7 and 8.  There is a value about every 11 km.  There is no data on continental crust, and problematic regions of oceanic crust.


  1. Review Labs introduction.
  2. Set Program version to geology.  This will give you simpler (fewer) options, and allow access to the data sets.
  3. File, Geology labs, Age, depth, and continental margins.  This will open the data sets with the bathymetry and the sea floor ages.
  4. Review the Labs introduction for how to manipulate the maps.
  5. Geology options on map window toolbar lets you overlay the following which might be useful here.  Other options (volcanoes and Earthquake focal mechanisms) there will be helpful later in the course, and you could add them now if you wanted.
  6. Table of contents allows you to turn overlays on and off.
  7. For Sea floor ages, you can color by period and epoch as well as the age, by right clicking on the map and picking Geologic ages.
  8. Get a graph showing age versus depth.  Understanding this relationship is a key goal for the course, so insure that you include it in your discussion.
  9. Topographic Profiles.  Note that these will have significant vertical exaggeration.

Last revision 8/23/2016