Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UNH Ocean Mappers Discover Seamount in Pacific Ocean

04.09.2014

University of New Hampshire scientists on a seafloor mapping mission have discovered a new seamount near the Johnson Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The summit of the seamount rises 1,100 meters from the 5,100-meter-deep ocean floor.

The seamount was discovered in August when James Gardner, research professor in the UNH-NOAA Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center, was leading a mapping mission aimed at helping delineate the outer limits of the U.S. continental shelf.


Three-dimensional view of the southwest side of the seamount with 23-degree slopes.

Credit: University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center.


Three-dimensional view of the seamount area (southeast point of view and 3.5x vertical exaggeration) showing two volcanoes, in the foreground, with the discovered seamount in the background.

Credit: University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center.

Working aboard the R/V Kilo Moana, an oceanographic research ship owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the University of Hawaii, Gardner and his team were using multibeam echosounder technology to create detailed images of the seafloor when, late at night, the seamount appeared “out of the blue.” The team was able to map the conical seamount in its entirety.

The yet-unnamed seamount, located about 300 kilometers southeast of the uninhabited Jarvis Island, lies in one of the least explored areas of the central Pacific Ocean. Because of that, Gardner was not particularly surprised by the discovery.

“These seamounts are very common, but we don’t know about them because most of the places that we go out and map have never been mapped before,” he says. Since only low-resolution satellite data exists for most of the Earth’s seafloor, many seamounts of this size are not resolved in the satellite data but advanced multibeam echosounder missions like this one can resolve them. “Satellites just can’t see these features and we can,” Gardner adds.

While the mapping mission was in support of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force, a multi-agency project to delineate the outer limits of the U.S. continental shelf, the volcanic seamount lies within the U.S. exclusive economic zone. That means the U.S. has jurisdiction of the waters above it as well as the sediment and rocks of the seamount itself.

The seamount’s impact remains unknown – for now. It’s too deep (its summit lies nearly 4,000 meters beneath the surface of the ocean) to be a navigation hazard or to provide rich fisheries. “It’s probably 100 million years old,” Gardner says, “and it might have something in it we may be interested in 100 years from now.”

A world-renowned marine geologist, Gardner leads CCOM/JHC’s mapping efforts in support of U.S. claims to an extended continental shelf under the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention. He has participated in mapping cruises in the Atlantic, eastern and western Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Alaska and Beaufort Sea and published more than 200 scientific papers. Before joining UNH in 2003, he led the U.S. Geological Survey’s Pacific Mapping Group.

The UNH Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center was founded in 1999 to develop tools to advance ocean mapping and hydrography and to train the next generation of hydrographers and ocean mappers. The JHC is a formal cooperative partnership between the University of New Hampshire and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) whose aim is to create a national center for expertise in ocean mapping and hydrographic sciences.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,300 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

Contact Information

Beth Potier
UNH Communications and Public Affairs
603-862-1566
beth.potier@unh.edu
@unhnews
@unhscience

Beth Potier | newswise

Further reports about: Coastal Gulf Hampshire Hydrographic Mapping Ocean Seamount UNH discovered limits means satellite seafloor seamounts

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Volcanoes get quiet before they erupt!
24.06.2016 | Carnegie Institution for Science

nachricht New technique settles old debate on highest peaks in US Arctic
24.06.2016 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena

Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.

Elementary particles are the fundamental buildings blocks of matter, and their properties are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The...

Im Focus: Is There Life On Mars?

Survivalist back from Space - 18 months on the outer skin of the ISS

A year and a half on the outer wall of the International Space Station ISS in altitude of 400 kilometers is a real challenge. Whether a primordial bacterium...

Im Focus: CWRU physicists deploy magnetic vortex to control electron spin

Potential technology for quantum computing, keener sensors

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a way to swiftly and precisely control electron spins at room temperature.

Im Focus: Physicists measured something new in the radioactive decay of neutrons

The experiment inspired theorists; future ones could reveal new physics

A physics experiment performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has enhanced scientists' understanding of how free neutrons decay...

Im Focus: Discovery of gold nanocluster 'double' hints at other shape changing particles

New analysis approach brings two unique atomic structures into focus

Chemically the same, graphite and diamonds are as physically distinct as two minerals can be, one opaque and soft, the other translucent and hard. What makes...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ERES 2016: The largest conference in the European real estate industry

09.06.2016 | Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanoscientists develop the 'ultimate discovery tool'

24.06.2016 | Materials Sciences

Russian physicists create a high-precision 'quantum ruler'

24.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Hubble confirms new dark spot on Neptune

24.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>