Huge underwater volcano chain discovered off the coast of Tasmania


Even today, more than eighty percent of our ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored. How many more hidden volcanoes may remain to be discovered?

The find offers a glimpse into a previously unknown marine ecosystem — and spotlights just how little we know about the seafloor, says Euronews.

While mapping the seafloor some 250 miles off the coast of the Australian island of Tasmania, scientists recently discovered what’s being called a “volcanic lost world” deep underwater.

The chain of volcanic seamounts — huge undersea mountains that loom as tall as 9,800 feet, or more than six times taller than the Empire State Building — offer a glimpse into a previously unknown ocean ecosystem.

The seamounts vary in size and shape, with some having sharp peaks and others having plateaus, Tara Martin, a researcher with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Hobart, Tasmania, said in a statement. But even the tallest seamounts were still at least 6,500 feet below the ocean’s surface.

Environment

The scientists also encountered an unusual abundance of marine animals in the area, including humpback and long-finned pilot whales as well as albatrosses, petrels and other seabirds.

The unexpected discovery, made by Martin and other researchers aboard the organization’s research ship Investigator during a 25-day mapping expedition, highlights just how little we really know about the bottom of the ocean.

“We’ve only mapped a tiny fraction of the ocean floor,” said Andrew Fisher, a marine geologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the new discovery. “We have more detailed maps of Mars, Venus and the moon than we do of the seafloor. Other planetary bodies can be mapped in high resolution with satellites, but on Earth, the water layer gets in the way. The only way is to go out with ships.”

Continued here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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November 1, 2018 at 06:21PM

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