News: Recently, Scientists have reported finding 19,325 new seamounts after poring through new high-resolution data.

What are Seamounts?
 A seamount is an underwater mountain. They are formed through volcanic activity and scientists recognised them as hotspots for marine life.
 Typically, they are cone shaped, but often have other prominent features such as craters and linear ridges and some, called guyots, have large, flat summits.
 Like volcanoes on land, seamounts can be active, extinct or dormant volcanoes.
 Most seamounts 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 MidAtlantic 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.
 Echo sounders or multibeam sonar on ships for topographic mapping and using satellite altimetry for gravity-field mapping are the 2 modes that help map the seamounts.

Why are they important?
 They provide valuable information about the mantle’s composition and about how tectonic plates evolve.
 Oceanographers also study seamounts to understand their influence on how water circulates and absorbs heat and carbon dioxide.
 Studies conducted over seamounts indicate that seamounts function as “oases of life,” with higher species diversity and biomass found on the seamount and in the waters around it than on the flat seafloor.
 Seamounts also provide substrate (a location for attachment) where organisms can settle and grow. These organisms provide a food source for other animals. Scientists have found that seamounts often provide habitat to endemic species, or species found only in a single location. 

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