Researchers reveal volcanic ‘lost world,’ chain of underwater towers 250 miles east of Tasmania, so big, whales use them to navigate.
Highest peaks are still far below the surface at 1.2 miles (2000m).
According to NOAA, just 20% of our oceans has been explored.
Dr Tara Martin, from the CSIRO mapping team, said “the mapping offered a window into a previously unseen and spectacular underwater world.”
“Our multibeam mapping has revealed in vibrant detail, for the first time, a chain of volcanic seamounts rising up from an abyssal plain about 5000m deep, Dr Martin said.
The seamounts vary in size and shape, with some having sharp peaks while others have wide flat plateaus, dotted with small conical hills that would have been formed by ancient volcanic activity.
Having detailed maps of such areas is important to help us better manage and protect these unique marine environments, and provides a stepping stone for future research.
This is a very diverse landscape and will undoubtedly be a biological hotspot that supports a dazzling array of marine life.”
Humpback whales swimming in the waters above the seamounts. Image credit Eric Woehler
Images credit: CSIRO mapping team