Discovery of a seamount in the depths of the Pacific Ocean that is twice the tallest building in the world

Discovery of a seamount: The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, is 2,722 feet tall. That’s the equivalent of 829.8 meters, or just over half a mile, which makes London’s tallest skyscraper, the Shard, look like a stately bungalow (at 309.6 meters).

You might think it would be hard not to see anything at such an impressive height. However, scientists have recently discovered a dormant volcano that is twice as tall as the towering jewel in Dubai’s crown.
The 5,250-foot (1,600-meter) formation was found by ocean explorers while mapping the seafloor off the coast of Guatemala.

Technically, it’s a seamount — a massive underwater geological feature that, as Live Science notes, is usually formed from dormant volcanoes.

Discovery of a seamount in the depths of the Pacific Ocean
Researchers detected the seamount using multibeam sonar aboard the vessel Falkor (too). (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute)

Experts discovered the towering mountain about 7,870 feet (2,400 meters) below sea level during an expedition organized by the Schmidt Ocean Institute this summer.

“A seamount more than 1.5 kilometers high that has been hidden beneath the ocean waves until now shows the fact that we still have a lot to discover,” Jyothika Virmani, executive director of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, said in a statement.

The cone-shaped mountain covers 5.4 square miles (14 square kilometers) and lies in the Pacific Ocean, in international waters, 97 miles (156 kilometers) from Guatemalan waters.

The team made this exciting discovery thanks to multi-beam sonar mapping during a six-day crossing of Costa Rica.

Discovery of a seamount in the depths
Scientists David Caress, Jennifer Paduan and Jeff Beeson look at a map of the geological features on the seabed. (Image credit: Schmidt Ocean Institute)

Seamounts serve as vital reef habitats for corals, sponges, and benthic invertebrates because most of the land bed is covered by loose, muddy sediments.

Satellite data indicates that there are more than 100,000 undiscovered seamounts that will be discovered through ongoing mapping of the seafloor.

“A complete map of the seafloor is a fundamental element in understanding our ocean,” Virmani said. It is exciting to live in an age where technology allows us to map and see these amazing parts of our planet for the first time.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute is working with the Seabed 2030 Project and other partners to map the entire seabed by the end of the decade.

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