Recently Revealed

We thought we'd find a dozen, but we found a thousand volcanoes

In the mid-eastern Pacific, in an area the size of New York state, lies what may be the world's densest concentration of active volcanoes, and it was not discovered until early in 1993 §.

The cluster of more than 1100 seamounts and volcanic cones was discovered with the help of satellite measurements of changes in ocean height caused by underlying topography, followed by sonar scanning §.

East Pacific Rise seamount field

Located by satellite altimetry and mapped by sonar
Unknown until 1993

Close-up of three seamounts, East Pacific Rise, which rise 6000 to 7000 feet (1800-2100 m) from the sea floor (about 17,000 feet deep at that location) §.
computer images courtesy of Ken McDonald, Dan Shierer, Don Forsyth, University of California at Santa Barbara

More Information:

Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan

gene carl feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)