Finding 10,000 previously uncharted undersea volcanoes

Finding 10,000 previously uncharted undersea volcanoes

And we wonder what is heating our oceans.

Although the main objective of the polar-orbiting CryoSat, launched in 2010, is to measure sea-ice thickness in Greenland and Antarctica, high-resolution mapping of the ocean floor is now being added to its mission.

Mapping the ocean floor - Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The topography of the ocean surface mimics the rises and dips of the ocean floor due to gravitational pull. Areas of greater mass, such as underwater mountains, have a stronger pull, attract more water, and produce a minor increase in ocean-surface height.

Therefore, instruments that measure sea-surface height can map the ocean floor in previously uncharted areas.

CryoSat’s radar altimeter can sense the gravity field at the ocean surface, so that seafloor characteristics at scales of 5–10 km are revealed.

“We know more about the surfaces of Venus and Mars than we do about the bathymetry of deep oceans,” said David Sandwell from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the US.

“This new mapping from CryoSat will revolutionise our understanding of ocean floor tectonics and reveal, perhaps, 10 000 previously uncharted undersea volcanoes.” (Italics added)

And we wonder what is heating our oceans!

As I point out in Not by Fire but by Ice (in the chapter entitled “Fish Stew”), “eight-hundred-degree plumes of water, from generally small lava flows, are gushing into our seas right now, from the coast of Oregon to the South Pacific.”

“And they’re heating our seas!”

“Fish stew. Clam chowder. Bouillabaisse. Shells and all. The biggest stew pot in the world.”

Actually, lava pouring into the seas can be as much as 2,150 degrees hot – ten times the boiling point! No wonder our oceans have warmed.

From the European Space Agency: CryoSat goes to sea

To date, only 10% of the seafloor has been charted, says meteorologist Anthony Watts. A complete mapping using ships would take 200 ships navigating Earth, 24 hours a day, for an entire year. Satellite radars can map a larger area in a shorter amount of time. 64581

Thanks to Russ Steele at for these links

15 thoughts on “Finding 10,000 previously uncharted undersea volcanoes”

  1. If under water valcanoes cause el ninos,and iam saying if they cause el ninos,then why does upwelling cause the surface waters to cool? that maybe a dumb question.

    • Upwelling > expanding (due to less pressure) > and because of the expanding, the water cools > heat is transferred to the atmosphere via evaporation…

      • Not only are the oceans waters subject to expansive cooling when heated from undersea volcanism, but also the liquid Iron alloys in the outer core transfer heat upwards as they circulate, and with less pressures on rising, expansion takes place as well. 1800 miles below our feet, temperatures reach upwards of 10,000 degrees F, with pressure of 3.5 Million atmospheres. Above the Outer core, the 1800 miles worth of ‘plastic’ Mantle also circulates, much more slowly, and it too would exhibit expansion and release of gases upon ascent, and the opposite in descent.
        Read more at the following link.

        There is a tremendous amount of heat trying to escape
        from the Earth’s core:

        “Reporting recently in the journal Nature, Dario Alfè of University College London and his colleagues presented evidence that iron in the outer layers of the core is frittering away heat through the wasteful process called conduction at two to three times the rate of previous estimates. ”

    • Jeremy’s Q is fair enough.
      My guess is that the vast bulk of the great oceans is cold water which remains hanging in the black depths for centuries at a time until a small hot spot or series of hot spots causes an upwards current and over-turning of the ocean layers.
      Just a thought.

  2. Gee how many more are they going to find. You won’t hear a word about this on the MSM. They still don’t talk about the big underwater volcano about 300 miles off the coast of Oregon. They’ll mention or report about a 6.o earthquake off the coast of Oregon. The trouble is the MSM doesn’t link the two together when it could be possible. The people over the MSM doesn’t want things like this known.

  3. The carbondioxide myth is melting the greenies brains through their ears. They can´t handle the truth.

  4. Water is very dense and the oceans of the world hold a whole lot of water. Also, very deep water is quite cold–little to no sunlight to warm it. Now as to all the underwater volcanos: One calorie (4.2 joules) is the amount of heat necessary to raise one gram of water one degree centigrade. There are 3780 grams per gallon of water. There are 1.0111715 x 10 (to the 12th power) U.S. gallons per cubic mile of water. (That’s a whole lote of gram and a whole lot of calories.) There are appoximately 321 million cubic miles of water in the oceans of the world. I am sure that the underwater volcanos have a small effect on warming the water, especially locally, but over all, I believe the Sun has a bigger effect.

    • Multiply the number of undersea volcanoes by the amount of heat released per volcano, and compare thios to the volume of water. Also, there are a much larger number of “black smokers” on the sea floor: not full-fledged volcanoes but vents releasing heat from below (since the crust is much thinner in the ocean floor than on the continents).

  5. Wasn’t there an article on this site a couple of years ago about ships having been mapping the sea bed under their routes for years and now that the scientists had found enough computer time to run the data they were finding millions of volcanoes that they had never thought were there – they were wrong in their estimation, not by thousands, but by 10s of thousands? Seems to me that would have an effect on the sea temp – isn’t there one just 300 miles off of the antarctic coast where the ice keeps calving off?

  6. There should be less under water valcanism in the enso part of the pacific,because the PDO turned cold in 07-o8,so that is thirty 30 years of la nina dominant climate. source,weatherbell’s joe bastardi.

    • Oh no!! With thirty more years of la Nina, it looks like we’ll be roasting here in Texas for at least the rest of my lifetime!!!!!

Comments are closed.