There are mountains in the sea.
From tens of thousands of extinct volcanoes rising thousands of meters from the ocean floor, to hundreds of thousands or even millions of smaller knolls, hills and ridges, seamounts are abundant features of the world’s ocean.
That these numbers are so unsettled speaks to just how much remains to be learned about seamounts. Yet the small fraction that have been studied suggest they are extraordinary places, teeming with life, swirling with energy.
Seamounts are formed where Earth’s crust and upper mantle is active at the bottom of the deep sea: at the boundaries of shifting and spreading tectonic plates, near volcanic island chains and archipelagos…
Image: Looking up from the slopes of Egmont Atoll, some 200 feet below the ocean surface. Credit: University of Plymouth via Nautilus.