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Global distribution of seamounts from ship-track bathymetry data

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posted on 30.08.2013, 10:12 by John Hillier, A.B. Watts
The distribution of submarine volcanoes, or seamounts, reflects melting within the Earth and how the magma generated ascends through the overlying lithosphere. Globally (±60° latitude), we use bathymetry data acquired along 39.5 × 106 km of ship tracks to find 201,055 probable seamounts, an order of magnitude more than previous counts across a wider height-range (0.1 < h < 6.7 km). In the North Pacific, seamounts' spatial distribution substantially reflects ridge-crest conditions, variable on timescales of 10 s of Ma and along-ridge distances of ∼1,000 km, rather than intra-plate hot-spot related volcanic activity. In the Atlantic, volcano numbers decrease, somewhat counter-intuitively, towards Iceland suggesting that abundant under-ridge melt may deter the formation of isolated volcanoes. Neither previously used empirical curve (exponential or power-law) describes the true size-frequency distribution of seamounts. Nevertheless, we predict 39 ± 1 × 103 large seamounts (h > 1 km), implying that ∼24,000 (60%) remain to be discovered.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Citation

HILLIER, J.K., WATTS, A.B., 2007. Global distribution of seamounts from ship-track bathymetry data. Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (13), 5pp.

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell © American Geophysical Union

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publication date

2007

Notes

This article was published in the journal, Geophysical Research Letters [© American Geophysical Union].

ISSN

0094-8276

Language

en

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Loughborough Publications

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