A remarkably rounded formation with steep smooth sides found on the ocean floor off the coast of California.


It seems hard to miss a mountain, but a new one has been discovered off the coast of Northern California.

Seamounts, called underwater mountains, were discovered by seafloor mapping drones and look more like giant towers than mountains.

It is about 3,200 feet tall, has “relatively steep and smooth sides,” is rounded, and is about 3,000 feet in diameter.

sail drone, The research firm that found it reports that the mount is 184 nautical miles from Cape Mendocino, about 300 miles northwest of Sacramento.

“The immediate response from the team was that it looked like a bundt cake. It was very round, with steep sides and a sloping towards a central crater,” said Neah Baechler, Saildrone’s chief surveyor. It has a curved upper part.

“One side of the top rim is higher than the other, forming a gentle crest. … Variations in slope make the top slightly spherical.”

Data show that the summit crater is about 1,200 feet deep.

The strikingly circular seamount rises about 3,200 feet above the ocean floor and has

The strikingly circular seamount rises about 3,200 feet above the ocean floor and has “relatively steep and smooth sides,” scientists say.

Saildrone discovered seamounts while mapping the ocean floor in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Ocean Energy Management Agency.

‘Amazing’ discovery

Previously collected radar and satellite data suggested that something might be sticking out of the seafloor in the area, but “a seamount turned out to be one of the larger features.” reports Saildrone.

“The discovery of new seafloor features is always remarkable, but this feature is located in a highly dynamic region, sandwiched between the Mendocino and Pioneer shatter zones,” Bechler said. rice field.

“The region has many interesting fault-related features, and given its proximity to so many marine science institutions, it’s surprising that no one has explored it.”

Scientists believe this formation is the result of volcanic activity. According to NOAA, most seamounts form at volcanic “hotspots” (near tectonic boundaries) and are believed to be extinct volcanoes.

“Usually they are cone-shaped, but often have other prominent features such as craters or straight ridges, and some called guillots have large, flat crests,” reports NOAA. increase. “To be classified as a seamount, a terrain must have at least 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) of vertical relief from the surrounding seabed.”

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that “at least 63 Seamount Off California, most of them are 100 miles offshore and 1 mile deep. They are estimated to be between 10 and 25 million years old, according to the USGS, and neither are active volcanoes.

More discoveries await

Saildrone discovered the new mount in February during a mission to map “unexplored areas around Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and off the California coast,” officials said.

Brian Connon, Saildrone’s vice president of ocean mapping, calls the seamount “a prime example” of discoveries waiting to be discovered in US waters. Among the extremes encountered during the mapping expedition was a spot in the Aleutian Column about 4.4 miles deep, Connon said.

“While no wrecks were identified during data collection, a range of fascinating features were observed, including complex drainage textures, submarine canyons and basins, and long finger ridges, likely due to faults in the Aleutian Trench. ‘ said Conon.

Saildrone will submit data on seamounts to the Subcommittee on Marine Feature Nomenclature General Bathymetric Maps for naming purposes. This allows them to be added to international maps as named features.

The company is considered a “world leader in providing marine data solutions for autonomous surface vehicles”, including unmanned missions. Survey conditions in a hurricane.

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