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New Images Show Ocean Floor in Malaysia Airlines MH370 Search Zone

Listen to Air Traffic Control Interaction With Flight MH370 7:04

Investigators searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on Friday released colorful maps of the ocean floor that they hope will help them find the missing jet. The high-resolution images were the most detailed maps ever recorded of the remote area of the southern Indian Ocean where the Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed. This so-called bathymetric survey should provide clues to teams when they come to conduct the second phase of the operation — a detailed search of the ocean floor.

"The recently acquired high-resolution bathymetry data has revealed many of these seabed features for the first time," the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said. Among the underwater details revealed by the bathymetric survey were ridges more than 300 yards high and vast abyssal descents that went down 1,500 yards from the regular seabed. It centered around the Broken Ridge, a 100-million-year-old mountain range similar to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the United States and Europe. The aircraft and its 239 passengers and crew vanished from radar en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijng on March 8.

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- Alexander Smith