“The tallest one is over a mile and a half high, and we didn’t really know it was there.”
A team of scientists aboard an exploration ship off the coast of South America has made an astonishing discovery: four massive, previously unknown underwater mountains, ranging in height from 5,200 to 8,800 feet. This discovery highlights how little we know about the oceans that cover much of our planet. according to Latest estimatesMore than 80% of the oceans have never been mapped, let alone explored.
“The tallest ones are more than a mile and a half high, and we didn't really know they were there,” says Jyotika Virmani of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, whose team has been studying “seamounts” aboard the Valcor. Tell new world.
Using sonar equipment, Virmani and his team investigated gravity anomalies while sailing from Costa Rica to Chile. These anomalies are usually the result of a mass that is difficult to distinguish, and in this case, entire mountains protrude from the ocean floor.
“I was thinking one, maybe two, but finding four is incredible,” Virmani said. new world. “It shows how much we don't know about what's out there.”
Thanks to their steep sides, seamounts are usually teeming with life. Last year, an international team of scientists, including Virmani, Discover the deep sea octopus nursery Near a low-temperature hydrothermal vent next to a previously unknown seamount off the coast of Costa Rica.
Virmani and his team have discovered 29 seamounts so far, a small fraction of the ones we have yet to discover.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ocean Exploration Organization, there are Probably more than 100,000 Some of them are at least 3,300 feet high.
A different study last year examined global satellite observations and concluded their existence Nearly 20,000 seamounts They are still to be found even though there are more than 24,600 areas already mapped.
“The fact that we don't have maps of the seafloor is crazy,” said Kerry Howell, a marine biologist at the University of Plymouth, who was not involved in the research. new world.
Thanks to their amazing biodiversity, studying these hidden giants is more important than ever. Fortunately, scientists have used high-tech mapping techniques to get a better view, research that can greatly support ongoing conservation efforts.
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