[ASC-media] Media Release: It's the Torres Strait as we've never seen before

Media at ga.gov.au Media at ga.gov.au
Thu Nov 17 11:24:18 EST 2005

Media Release

Warren Entsch MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry,
Tourism and Resources

Geoscience Australia


17 November 2005


It's the Torres Strait as we've never seen before


Science and technology have combined to peel back the oceans and reveal the
geography of the Torres Strait seafloor in a level of detail never before


Releasing the visual product in Cairns today, the Member for Leichhardt and
Federal Parliamentary Secretary, Warren Entsch MP, said the computer
generated flythrough was an important scientific tool for raising awareness
of the crucial role the ocean and seafloor plays in the Torres Strait region.


"Sand dunes that are many kilometres wide and hundreds of reefs and islands
are revealed in greater detail than ever before.  It really is exciting to
see the Torres Strait region portrayed in this way," Mr Entsch said of the


"This 3D view of the underwater terrain of the Torres Strait provides a
unique perspective for scientists who are working to understand seafloor
vegetation and other marine life in the Torres Strait and as far as the Great
Barrier Reef.


"This is important for the region, as most Torres Strait communities rely on
the ocean for their livelihoods through activities including fishing,
prawning, and tourism.


"Raising awareness among our community of the need to manage our marine
resources is very important, and this flythrough will help by showing the
seafloor in a new and spectacular way."


The new image of the seafloor was generated using a unique method in which
measurements of seafloor depth taken from ship surveys were combined with
LANDSAT satellite imagery. The result is a seamless and extremely detailed
and complete picture of the seafloor across the whole Torres Strait, with
many features identified that have never before been mapped. 


"The Torres Strait is typically shallow but has never been fully mapped,"
said James Daniell, a marine geoscientist at Geoscience Australia who
constructed the dataset in the flythrough.  


"We have only ever had a very patchy picture of the ocean bottom in this
area, and many of the coral reefs and islands, although known, had never been
properly mapped before."


Geoscience Australia's work in the Torres Strait is conducted as a member of
the Torres Strait Cooperative Research Centre. This work contributes to a
larger research program to provide geoscience information about Australia's
marine and coastal environments to support Government environment


"Geoscience Australia's Marine and Coastal Group provides a diverse range of
geoscientific information to assist in the development of Marine Protected
Areas in Australian waters," explains Dr Neil Williams, Geoscience Australia
Chief Executive Officer.


"The work being done by Geoscience Australia in the Torres Strait and other
regions will provide inputs into management strategies for Australian
communities, allowing us to manage our marine and coastal environment into
the future," concluded Mr Entsch.


Copies of the flythrough (mpeg) and still images from the animation (jpeg)
are available to the media upon request.


Media Contact:       Greg Doolan, Entsch Office - 0418 213 243

                             Geoscience Australia Media Hotline - 1800 882





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