The giant plateau

If you look at this bathymetric image showing the depth of the seafloor in the Western Pacific Ocean, one spot stands out more than any other. On this map I’ve marked it with the initials OJP – the Ontong-Java Plateau.

The Ontong-Java Plateau is a monster. It covers an area of about 1,900,000 square kilometers – larger than the state of Alaska. It sits entirely beneath the ocean, typically about 1.5 to 3 kilometers beneath the ocean surface and about 2-3 kilometers above the surrounding ocean floor.

It is so big and massive that as it rode along the Pacific Plate it ran into a subduction zone and would not go down.

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