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Scientists discover colossal underwater mountain off B.C. coast

Giant undersea mountain

A team of scientists mapping the ocean floor off British Columbia have discovered a colossal seamount rivalling Mount Baker.

Scientists aboard the U.S. research vessel Okeanos Explorer discovered the underwater mountain as they sailed 645 kilometres off Vancouver Island. When they beamed sonar into the deep, the topographic image that came back showed the peak climbing at least 3,105 metres from the bottom of the ocean.

The find, a third higher than previous estimates, re-writes previous nautical charts. Measured top to bottom, it climbs roughly a thousand metres higher than the peak of Whistler Mountain.

“Yeah, science,” wrote the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a May 9 social media post.

The Okeanos Explorer is at sea as part of the NOAA’s Aleutians Deepwater Mapping project, a mission to map unexplored regions of seabed off Alaska. The expedition is exploring over a million square miles of sea floor using sonar.

Data from the mission is meant to provide a deeper understanding of deep-sea geology and how such features are formed. It also aims to provide a “critical baseline” to understand the region’s little explored deep-ocean environment, according to the mission’s website.

The NOAA expedition also plans to use underwater vehicles to locate a Second World War-era B-25 bomber, which disappeared with its nine crew members in 1944.

Scientists aboard the Okeanos Explorer were not immediately available for comment.

seamount-off-bc-coast
A seamount 645 kilometres off B.C.'s coast ascends to 3,105 metres from the ocean floor, a third higher than previously thought. NOAA

 

 



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