Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mountains of the Deep

Seamounts are the mountains of the deep. A seamount is typically an extinct submerged volcano that has risen from the seafloor.

The New England Seamount Chainin the Atlantic Ocean

Bear Seamount - oldest seamount in the New England Seamount Chain

If enough volcanic material erupts, and the material is amassed atop itself, a seamount can rise above sea level to become a high island like the Hawaiian Islands.

Many volcanoes go dormant or become extinct to remain seamounts below sea level.
“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
William James
Seafloor mapping missions are still discovering new seamounts.
“What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”
Bertrand Russell
Gravity fields recorded by the NASA Jason-1 satellite, combined with gravity measurements from the ESA CryoSat-2 satellite, have enabled scientists to map thousands of previously uncharted seamounts.

Seamount southeast of Jarvis Island
Last August, while delineating the extent of the U.S. continental shelf in the Pacific Ocean using a multi-beam echosounder, scientists discovered a 3,600 ft seamount 186 miles southeast of Jarvis Island in the South Pacific.

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets