A team of Australian scientists have discovered that the bottom half of the world is filled with a network of low-frequency electromagnetic waves that travel at thousands of kilometres per hour.
Key points:The research was carried out by scientists from the University of Sydney, the University in Adelaide and the University College in MelbourneThe team mapped the electromagnetic wave activity around the world and used an array of technology to map itThe researchers used an infrared spectrometer to record the electromagnetic waves and the resulting data was sent to the University at Adelaide where it was used to build a map of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The electromagnetic waves are generated by subatomic particles called neutrons, which collide with atoms of matter and release a photon.
The team found that the electromagnetic activity around subatomic levels in the ocean is much higher than what is measured by the International Space Station.
“We were able to map the energy distribution of the waves in the oceans using a very simple spectroscopic technique, and in doing so we found that there is a huge amount of energy density around the ocean,” Dr Simon Leach, from the School of Physics at the University, said.
“The ocean is very important to the ocean ecology, it provides the food for the plankton and the planktons are feeding the organisms on the seafloor.”
What we have found is a very large and extremely stable distribution of these waves.
“Dr Leach said the waves travelled about 1000 kilometres and the team’s measurements were made using a combination of infrared spectroscopy and laser ranging technology.
The wave energy was measured at a frequency of about 600Hz.
Dr Lech said the measurements were conducted in a “dynamic, self-contained, water-tight enclosure”, which was capable of supporting the data collection.”
It is the first time we have seen a map like this and we are very pleased to see that this is possible,” he said.
Dr Simon Lech and his colleagues have mapped the energy of subatomic waves in deep ocean using infrared spectra.
(ABC News)”There are huge amounts of energy being emitted from the ocean and there is an energy signature that is unique to the waves themselves.”
This is very different to the electromagnetic energy signatures that are seen on Earth because these waves are not produced by radioactivity and therefore do not emit radioactivity in the way that you would expect to see on Earth.”
The team has also mapped the wave activity in the surrounding ocean using an array that includes two infrared spectrographs, a laser ranging system and a computer simulation.
“Because we know that the waves travel at such a high frequency, the wave signatures are really quite unique, and that we can actually detect these signatures and use this data to identify the source of these energy signatures,” Dr Leach told 7.30.
The data also allows scientists to map how the waves move through the water.
“One of the most exciting things we found was that the energy density of the subatomic wave can change over time, and what we were able do was calculate the changes in the energy content over time,” Dr Lee said.
The energy density at the top of the Atlantic Ocean was found to be about 4.2g/km2 (5.5g/metre) and the highest in the eastern Pacific Ocean was about 2.4g/kWh (1.6g/kilogram).
Dr Leech said he hoped that the work would provide a new way of studying the structure of the water, and help scientists better understand how the ocean behaves.
“By using the wave structure as a map, we can now start to better understand what processes are driving these waves and where they are coming from,” he explained.
“And then we can get some idea of how to generate them and how they affect the ecosystem in the deep ocean.”
The work has been published in the journal Science Advances.