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Tasmania’s stunning volcanic chain

Hidden below the waves off the east coast of Australian, about 250 miles east of Tasmania, is this newly discovered diverse chain of volcanic seamounts. Mountains rise up from an abyssal plain, looming as tall as 9,800 feet. Some of the peaks are more than six times taller than the Empire State Building – with the tallest mounts at least 6,500 feet below the ocean’s surface. These seamounts vary in size and shape, with some having sharp peaks while others have wide flat plateaus, dotted with small conical hills that would have been formed, many millennia ago, by ancient volcanic activity.

This biological hotspot supports a dazzling array of marine life and is a haven for humpback and long-finned pilot whales as well as albatrosses, petrels and other seabirds. These seamounts may also act as a signpost, an underwater migratory highway, for the humpback whales that move from their winter breeding to summer feeding grounds.

These seamounts change the oceanography in these areas – the way the water flows around them – the dynamics of the oceanic system.

With less than 20% of the ocean floors studied there is much yet to be discovered and there could quite possibly be hundred more volcanic seamounts

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