Seamounts – characteristics, formation, mineral deposits and biodiversity
Seamounts represent crust-mantle activities and are areas of petrological deviations, biodiversity, seismicity and hydrothermal events. An estimated ~50 million tons/year of basalts are required to produce seamounts suggesting intense oceanic volcanism. Seamounts either occur as chains perpendicular to the ridge or as isolated entities or in clusters. Seamounts may host basalts, hyaloclastites, gabbros and serpentinites and these variants perhaps evolve from multiple melting domains as a consequence of large-scale thermal structure and mantle lithology. Nonhotspot seamounts on a young, thin and hot lithosphere host tholeiites whereas the plume related ones on thick, older lithosphere may be either tholeiitic or alkaline. Seamounts may bear hydrothermal deposits (Fe, Mn, Co) rare metals and phosphorites. The resistance of seamounts to subduction could trigger slides; while shearing of seamounts buried in subduction zones leads to seismicity, both of which could cause tsunamis. Seamounts greatly affect the circulation patterns and currents, which in turn influence the surrounding biota. We review here the seamounts in terms of discovery, characteristics, distribution and their influence on the marine environment.
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