ArcGIS Living Atlas

How old is the seafloor?

Did you know that parts of the sea floor are over 180 million years old? Did you know the areas where we have hydrothermal vents are some of the youngest or newest places of the seafloor? Do you know where the oldest place in the ocean is? This map helps us understand this and more.

I originally had the idea for this map after I read through the “Data report: Strategic Environmental management Plan for deep seabed mineral exploitation in the Atlantic Basin”.  The report is a wealth of knowledge that lists important geographic data sets that describe the features and characteristics of the seafloor.

This map is a compilation of five different layers that can help you visualize and understand the different areas of the seafloor:

  1. Plate Boundaries
  2. Seafloor Crustal Age
  3. Oceanic Vents
  4. GEBCO Bathymetry
  5. Plate Isopachs

You can find these resources in the following “Seafloor” group in ArcGIS Online as well in as well as in the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.

Special thanks to cartographer Emily Meriam for help on this project and bringing together these layers in such a compelling way. This information would not be nearly as eye-catching without the artistic representation provided by Emily.

Download the poster:

About the authors

Keith is a Product Engineer at Esri. He serves as the Ocean Curator for the Living Atlas of the World team. Keith works to create foundational layers that can help marine researchers, scientists, and others gain a better understanding of our oceans.


With over two decades of GIS experience Emily has mapped elephants in Thailand, wildlife poachers in the Republic of Palau, land use related issues around Yosemite National Park, and active wildfire incidents for the State of California. Presently she is a Senior Product Engineer and Cartographer with the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World where she styles and designs layers, maps, and apps with the Environment Team. When not making maps, she is a true geographer and loves traveling with her family.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Next Article

How Wild is the Land?

Read this article