What the Earth Would Look Like If We Drained the Water from the Oceans

Formerly a NASA Fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr James O’Donoghue now works as a planetary scientist at the Japanese space agency JAXA. He also hosts a video channel on YouTube. Above, you can watch his high-res remake of a NASA animation produced back in 2008. Here’s how NASA framed the original clip:

Three fifths of the Earth’s surface is under the ocean, and the ocean floor is as rich in detail as the land surface with which we are familiar. This animation simulates a drop in sea level that gradually reveals this detail. As the sea level drops, the continental shelves appear immediately. They are mostly visible by a depth of 140 meters, except for the Arctic and Antarctic regions, where the shelves are deeper. The mid-ocean ridges start to appear at a depth of 2000 to 3000 meters. By 6000 meters, most of the ocean is drained except for the deep ocean trenches, the deepest of which is the Marianas Trench at a depth of 10,911 meters.

In 51 seconds, watch and see where the great draining ends…

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newsletter, please find it here.

If you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks!

Related Content:

A Radical Map Puts the Oceans–Not Land–at the Center of Planet Earth (1942)

A Map Shows What Happens When Our World Gets Four Degrees Warmer: The Colorado River Dries Up, Antarctica Urbanizes, Polynesia Vanishes

Perpetual Ocean: A Van Gogh-Like Visualization of our Ocean Currents

by | Permalink | Comments (4) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (4)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Terry Walsh says:

    An intellectual, but otherwise pointless exercise, seeing that the opposite is posited to happen over the next century.

  • BT Long says:

    An interesting and pertinent follow-on animation would also present the changes on current landmass biology, ie, how much of that greenery remains, given climactic changes and potential scouring of current topography.

    Also, does the projected topographic model of a de-watered Earth serve as a useful reference model for evaluating the history of other planets?

  • Carol Falise says:

    !!! WOW !!!

  • vinita Giri says:

    Hello Admin

    I don’t know much about our mother nature. But one thing I know for sure that we are harming our planet. A fascinating and appropriate follow-on movement would likewise display the progressions on current landmass science, ie, the amount of that greenery stays, given climactic changes and potential scouring of current geography.

    Likewise, does the anticipated topographic model of a de-watered Earth fill in as a helpful reference model for assessing the historical backdrop of different planets? Your Website is very interesting.

    Thanks for sharing this

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.