Researchers have discovered massive underwater mountains off the coast of Chile.
A team at Schmidt Ocean Institute during a mapping transit from Costa Rica to Chile aboard research vessel Falkor (too) in January.
The highest of the seamounts rises 2681 metres from the sea floor. The smallest seamount found was measured at 1591 metres.
The team uses multibeam mapping to chart the ocean, with the crew aboard Falkor (too) trained as marine technicians and trained hydrographic experts, according to a press release issued by the institute.
Only a fifth of the ocean floor has been mapped, an area of about twice the size of Australia, UNESCO says, and the vast majority of seamounts have not been explored.
The newly-discovered sea floor features were not included in any bathymetric database.
Underwater mountains and associated trenches understudied biodiversity hotspots and home to host of deep-sea creatures that clutch onto the rocky surface, including coral, reefs and sponges.
“Every time we find these bustling sea floor communities, we make incredible new discoveries and advance our knowledge of life on Earth, Dr Jyotika Virmani, executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute said.
The data also helps nations and institutions manage marine resources and can improve safety for the global shipping network.
An ambitious effort is under way to map the entire ocean floor by 2030, led by the Japanese not-for-profit Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project.
The tallest mountain in the world from base to top is Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. The bulk of its 9330 metre height (dry prominence) is beneath the surface of the ocean.
Mount Everest reaches higher into the heavens, with an elevation above sea level of 8848 metres.