Despite their name, abyssal plains are not solely flat, but are punctuated by hills and seamounts. Abyssal hills rise up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above the seafloor, and seamounts are taller still. In other regions, overall biomass has been found to be higher on seamounts and abyssal hills than on the plain.
Apparently, the hills are constructed by two processes: volcanism and block faulting. The relative contribution of each may depend on the spreading rate. At slower rates, faulting of the oceanic crust is a dominant factor in forming the relief, and the relief of the hills is greater as the rate is slower.
Similarly, what does a seamount look like? Seamounts. Seamounts are submarine mountains, often volcanic cones, that project 150-3, 000 ft (50-1, 000 m) or more above the ocean floor. They are formed primarily by rapid undersea buildups of basalt, a dark, fine-grained rock that is the main component of the ocean's crust. Seamounts form by submarine volcanism.
The mid-Atlantic ridge and spreading ridges in the Indian Ocean are also associated with abundant seamounts. Isolated seamounts and those without clear volcanic origins are less common; examples include Bollons Seamount, Eratosthenes Seamount, Axial Seamount and Gorringe Ridge.
Mauna Kea .
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Guyots are believed to be once active volcanoes that rose above the sea surface like modern-day island arcs and then were eroded to sea level by wave action, thus resulting in a flattened shape.
Seamounts are underwater mountains that rise hundreds or thousands of feet from the seafloor. They are generally extinct volcanoes that, while active, created piles of lava that sometimes break the ocean surface.
Abyssal Plain. Abyssal plains are the vast, flat, sediment-covered areas of the deep ocean floor. They are the flattest, most featureless areas on the Earth, and have a slope of less than one foot of elevation difference for each thousand feet of distance.
The greatest abundance of abyssal hills occurs on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. These Pacific Ocean hills are typically 50–300 m in height, with a width of 2–5 km and a length of 10–20 km.
Cold-water corals, sponges, sea anemones, and sea fans form crowded communities on the rocky slopes, filtering these nutrients out of the water. Through this jungle move starfish, tiny lobsters, fish, and worms. Like above-water islands, many seamounts have their own endemic species, which live nowhere else.
About 8.5 percent of the ocean floor is covered by the continental slope-rise system. Beyond the shelf-slope break, the continental crust thins quickly, and the rise lies partly on the continental crust and partly on the oceanic crust of the deep sea.
Trenches are formed by subduction, a geophysical process in which two or more of Earth's tectonic plates converge and the older, denser plate is pushed beneath the lighter plate and deep into the mantle, causing the seafloor and outermost crust (the lithosphere) to bend and form a steep, V-shaped depression.
Oceanographers believe that abyssal plains are so flat because they are covered with sediments that have been washed off the surface of the continents for thousands of years. On the abyssal plains, these layers of sediment have now covered up any irregularities that may exist in rock of the ocean floor beneath them.
The Hawaiian Islands form an archipelago that extends over a vast area of the North Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is made up of 132 islands, atolls, reefs, shallow banks, shoals, and seamounts stretching over 1, 500 miles from the island of Hawaii in the southeast to Kure Atoll in the northwest.
Guyot, also called tablemount, isolated submarine volcanic mountain with a flat summit more than 200 metres (660 feet) below sea level. Such flat tops may have diameters greater than 10 km (6 miles). (The term derives from the Swiss American geologist Arnold Henry Guyot.) Guyot. Seamount.
The formation of submarine canyons is believed to occur as the result of at least two main process: 1) erosion by turbidity current erosion; and 2) slumping and mass wasting of the continental slope. Many canyons have been found at depths greater than 2 km below sea level.
A seamount is, essentially, a mountain under the sea. Often remnants of extinct volcanoes, these underwater mountains can form ranges or stand alone. Scientists estimate that there are more than 100, 000 seamounts in the oceans of the world, with more than 30, 000 of them in the Pacific Ocean alone.
The rest is composed chiefly of pelagic sediments. Metallic nodules are common in some areas of the plains, with varying concentrations of metals, including manganese, iron, nickel, cobalt, and copper. Owing in part to their vast size, abyssal plains are believed to be major reservoirs of biodiversity.
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