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Recently, in an astonishing discovery, scientists have reported finding 19,325 new seamounts after poring through new high-resolution data.

About Seamounts:

  • It is an underwater mountain formed through volcanic activity.
  • These are recognised as hotspots for marine life. Like volcanoes on land, seamounts can be active, extinct or dormant volcanoes.
  • These are formed near mid-ocean ridges, where the earth’s tectonic plates are moving apart, allowing molten rock to rise to the seafloor.
  • The planet’s two most-studied mid-ocean ridges are the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the East Pacific Rise.
  • Some seamounts have also been found near intraplate hotspots – regions of heavy volcanic activity within a plate – and oceanic island chains with a volcanic and seismic activity called island arcs.
  • Significance of seamounts
    • They provide information about the mantle’s composition and how tectonic plates evolve.
    • Oceanographers also study seamounts to understand their influence on how water circulates and absorbs heat and carbon dioxide.
    • Seamounts are home to diverse biological communities. They are good places for life because they can cause localised ocean upwelling – the process by which nutrient-rich water from deep within the ocean moves up to the surface.

Key Facts about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

  • It is the largest geological feature on the planet. 
  • It is a mostly underwater mountain range in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It is about 3 km in height above the ocean floor and 1000 to 1500 km wide, has numerous transform faults and an axial rift valley along its length.
  • It separates the North American Plate from the Eurasian Plate in the North Atlantic and the South American Plate from the African Plate in the South Atlantic


Q1) What is mantle?

The mantle is a layer of the Earth's interior that lies between the crust and the core. It is the largest layer of the Earth by volume and makes up about 84% of the Earth's total volume. The mantle is composed of silicate rock that is denser than the crust, and it has a thickness of about 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles).

Source: Science for All | What are seamounts?