Hotspot volcanoes

Scientists discover a ‘lost world’ of underwater VOLCANOES – and it’s a hotspot for humpback whales

The Lost World was discovered about 400km east of Tasmania

A map of the lost world

Scientists have discovered a “lost volcanic world” off the coast of Tasmania, which is teeming with marine life.

The Lost World was discovered about 400km east of Tasmania, by researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Huge underwater volcanoes rise up to 3,000 meters from the seabed, but even the tallest peaks are still far below the waves.

Dr Tara Martin, who worked on the study, said: ‘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 by ancient volcanic activity.

“Having detailed maps of these areas is important to help us better manage and protect these unique marine environments, and provides a springboard for future research.

“It is a very diverse landscape and will undoubtedly be a biological hotspot that is home to a dazzling array of marine life.”

The Lost World has attracted a wide variety of marine life, including pilot whales and humpback whales.







The area seems to attract humpback whales
(

Picture:

CSIRO)








The Lost World has attracted a wide variety of marine life, including pilot whales and humpback whales
(

Picture:

CSIRO)


Dr Eric Woehler, who also worked outside the study, said: “While we were above the seamount chain, the ship was visited by large numbers of pilot whales at humpbacked and long-finned.

“We estimated that at least 28 individual humpback whales visited us one day, followed by a group of 60-80 long-finned pilot whales the next.”

Researchers believe that whales use seamounts to help them navigate along the seabed.

Dr Woehler added: “These seamounts may serve as an important signpost on an underwater migratory highway for the humpback whales that we have seen move from their winter breeding to their summer feeding grounds.

“Fortunately for us and our research, we parked just above this marine life highway!”

The team now hope to investigate the area further to understand the origin of the seamounts.