19.000 Undersea Volcanoes Discovered by Satellites

A new study has been published in the journal Earth and Space Science, revealing that high-definition radar satellites have detected over 19,000 undersea volcanoes around the world.

This discovery is a major breakthrough in seamount research and gives scientists the most extensive list of seamounts ever created. This list could provide valuable insight into ocean currents, plate tectonics, and climate change.

Until now, only one-quarter of the Earth’s seafloor had been studied using sonar, which detects objects underwater using sound waves. In 2011, a sonar survey found over 24,000 seamounts, which are underwater mountains formed by volcanic activity.

However, this study reveals that there are more than 27,000 seamounts that remain uncharted by sonar, according to Science Organization.

David Sandwell, a marine geophysicist who worked on the study, expressed his amazement at the discovery, saying, “It’s just mind-boggling.”

No need to rely on Sonar surveys

The study reveals that scientists can now investigate the seafloor without relying solely on sonar surveys. This is because high-definition radar satellites not only measure the height of the ocean’s surface, but they can also detect what lies beneath.

By using this technology, scientists have created a more accurate representation of the seafloor topography.

The study used data from various satellites, including the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2, to detect underwater mounds as small as 1,100 meters tall, which is the minimum height required to qualify as a seamount, according to Science.

The study says that this technology can predict the heights of small undersea volcanoes with an accuracy of about 1,214 feet (370 m).

Scientists have used this technology to map a collection of seamounts in the northeast Atlantic Ocean. These maps can help explain the evolution of a mantle plume that feeds over 100 volcanoes in Iceland.

Additionally, updated maps will provide a better understanding of ocean currents and “upwellings.” These “upwellings” happen when water from the bottom of the ocean moves upward to the surface. Scientists believe that these “upwellings” could be concentrated at seamounts and ridges.

Brian Arbic, a physical oceanographer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who did not participate in the study, expressed to Science that “there is a zoo of interesting things” that occur due to the ocean’s topography.

Role of Seamounts in marine biodiversity

Seamounts are underwater mountains that are like tall, busy skyscrapers for corals and other marine animals, according to biologists.

They are home to many different types of plants and animals, making them important spots for ocean biodiversity. Seamounts also help whales find their way in the ocean, according to Amy Baco-Taylor, a deep-sea biologist at Florida State University.

Source: Greekreporter.com

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