A seemingly ‘lost world’ of volcanic mountain ranges, existing deep below the Tasman Sea, has been discovered by scientists aboard the Investigator research vessel. The Tasman Sea is located on the margin of the South Pacific Ocean. It is situated between Australia and New Zealand.
A team of experts, who are part of the national science agency of Australia that is known as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), were mapping the sea floor off the Tasmania coast when they caught sight of the astonishing range of undersea mountains. These volcanic mountains have hitherto remained hidden from human eyes.
The seamounts have remained undetected because they are about two miles above the floor of the ocean, and the highest of the mountain peaks lies 1.2 miles from the surface of the South Pacific Ocean. Now, for the first time in human history, the world can be fascinated by this amazing undersea world.
From initial observations, the range of seamounts consists of mixed topography: some seamounts have sharp, jagged peaks, while others are wide and flat, and dotted with cone-shaped hills. According to one of CSIRO’s scientists, Dr. Tara Martin, the mountains were formed from extinct volcanoes. Doctor Martin postulates that the seamounts arose from the break-up of Antarctica and Australia, which occurred roughly 30 million years ago.
The undersea landscape is home to a wide variety of vivid marine life. One of the scientists thinks that the seamounts act as a kind of road sign for migratory humpback whales that were observed in the area, marking their path between summer and winter feeding grounds.
Following this momentous discovery, additional surveys within this body of water will be undertaken during upcoming research voyages. These voyages will take place in November and December of this year.
There is much to learn and understand about the undersea mountains and their interactions with the creatures of the deep. For now, the scientists say that the seamounts alter the oceanography in that area of the Tasman Sea by changing the water flow and the very dynamics within and around the ocean.
Marie Bram started working for Spruce Tribune in 2017. Marie grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Spruce Tribune, Marie briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.