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In Photos: New Seamount Discovered Beneath Pacific Ocean

Kilo Moana

Research Vessel Kilo Moana.

(Image credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa)

On Aug. 13, 2014, University of New Hampshire scientists aboard the research vessel Kilo Moana (shown here) discovered a new seamount on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The ship, a small water area twin hull owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the University of Hawaii, was tasked with mapping the seafloor beginning on Aug. 8. [Read full story]

Pacific Seamount

newly discovered Pacific Ocean seamount.

(Image credit: Image courtesy of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center. )

The newly discovered seamount rises up some 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) from the seafloor near the Johnston Atoll, at a depth of about 16,730 feet (5,100 m). When an underground structure reaches about 1,000 m, scientists generally consider it a seamount. Shown here, a 3D view of the southwest side of the seamount with 23-degree slopes. [Read full story]

Hidden Mountain

newly discovered Pacific Ocean seamount.

(Image credit: Image courtesy of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center.)

The seamount, which has yet to be named, is located about 186 miles (300 kilometers) southeast of Jarvis Island. It has a conical shape with a base stretching some 4.3 miles (7 km) and a maximum slope estimated at 23 degrees. Shown here, a plain view of a CUBE 40-meter resolution grid of the seafloor area surrounding the newfound seamount. [Read full story]

Seamount and volcanoes

newly discovered Pacific Ocean seamount.

(Image credit: Image courtesy of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center.)

Here, a 3D view of the seamount area (southeast point of view and 3.5 times vertical exaggeration) showing two volcanoes, in the foreground, with the newly discovered seamount in the background.

The newly discovered seamount lurks in one of the least explores areas of the central Pacific Ocean. Typically, just low-resolution satellite data that wouldn't pick up a seamount of this size are available for most of the planet's seafloor. The researchers used multibeam echosounder technology to find the seamount. [Read full story]

Hidden Feature

bathymetry of the seafloor where the seamount was found.

(Image credit: Image courtesy of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center.)

Here, the best available bathymetry (1,850 meters per pixel) of the region where the seamount was discovered, and it barely shows any hint of a feature. The vertical exaggeration is 5x so that the details of the seamount show up. [Read full story]

Coming into View

newly discovered Pacific Ocean seamount.

(Image credit: Image courtesy of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center.)

The researchers discovered the seamount (or extinct underwater volcano) using a 12-kHz multi-beam echosounder, which uses sonar, or sound waves, to detect contours on the ocean floor. Late one night, the seamount appeared "out of the blue," Gardner said in a statement. [Read full story]

Johnston Atoll

Johnston Atoll

(Image credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa)

The seamount is located near the Johnston Atoll, shown here in a 3D image of multibeam bathymetry. The atoll, which includes four islands and a small lagoon, is a National Wildlife Refuge.

Jarvis Island

Coral off Jarvis Island in the Pacific Ocean.

(Image credit: USFWS/Jim Maragos)

The Kilo Moana is participating in the work of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force, whose goal is to determine the outer limits of the U.S. continental shelf, mapping an area of the Pacific Ocean that is one of the least explored of the Earth's oceans. Here, coral around Jarvis Island, which is located 186 miles (300 kilometers) from the newly discovered seamount.