New Seamounts

In a recent discovery, scientists have identified 19,325 new seamounts, or underwater mountains, using high-resolution data collected by advancements in altimetry for gravity-field mapping.

  • Seamounts are formed through volcanic activity and are recognized as hotspots for marine life.
  • A previous 2011 census had already mapped 24,000 seamounts across the world’s oceans.
  • They can be active, extinct, or dormant volcanoes and are typically formed near mid-ocean ridges, where the earth’s tectonic plates are moving apart, allowing molten rock to rise to the seafloor.
  • Some seamounts are also found near intraplate hotspots and oceanic island chains with volcanic and seismic activity.
  • Seamounts provide information about the mantle’s composition and how tectonic plates evolve.
  • They are also home to diverse biological communities, and their study helps understand their influence on how water circulates and absorbs heat and carbon dioxide.
  • Surveyors map seamounts using echo sounders or multibeam sonar on ships for topographic mapping or using satellite altimetry for gravity-field mapping.