Seamount

From Academic Kids

A seamount is a mountain rising from the seafloor that does not reach to the surface of the ocean. Seamounts are often found in groupings or submerged archipelagos. A classic example is the Emperor Seamounts, which are an extension of the Hawaiian Islands. Formed millions of years ago by volcanism, they have since subsided to below sea level. The long chain of islands and seamounts stretching thousands of kilometres northwest from the Big Island demonstrates the movement of a plate over a volcanic hotspot. Isolated seamounts and those without clear volcanic origins appear to be less common.

Seamounts often project upwards into shallower zones more hospitable to sea life, providing habitats for marine species that are not found on or around the surrounding deeper ocean bottom. In addition to simply providing physical presence in this zone, the seamount itself may deflect deep currents and create upwelling. This process can bring nutrients into the photosynthetic zone, producing an area of productivity in an otherwise desert-like open ocean. Seamounts may thus be vital stopping points for some migratory animals such as whales.

See also

References

  • Keating, B.H., Fryer, P., Batiza, R., Boehlert, G.W. (Eds.), 1987: Seamounts, islands and atolls. Geophys. Monogr. 43:319-334.
  • Koslow, J.A. (1997). Seamounts and the ecology of deep-sea fisheries. Am. Sci. 85:168-176.
  • Menard, H.W. (1964). Marine Geology of the Pacific. International Series in the Earth Sciences. McGraw-Hill, New York, 271 pp.

External links

Template:Ocean-stub

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