November 30, 2022
Seamounts and Submarine Volcanoes
Via bathyscaphic ocean floor mapping, Hillier and Watt (2007) provided an estimate of 3.0 to 3.5 million oceanic seamounts which by definition are formed by submarine volcanoes. This estimate excludes estimates above latitudes 60 degrees North and South. Reference: "Global distribution of seamounts from ship-track bathymetry dataâ€. Oregon State University
Per the Smithsonianâ€™s â€˜Volcanoes of the Worldâ€™ database, there have been 1350 volcanoes identified since the beginning of the Holocene. This resource also describes 56 - 88 active eruptions per year. Therefore, the percent of actively erupting subaerial volcanoes ranges from 4 to 5 %.
Applying these percentages to 3 million seamounts indicates that actively erupting submarine volcanoes at the low end ranges from 120,000 to 150,000 in any given year and this excludes estimates for latitudes above 60 degrees even though the polar regions are very seismically active. The height of these submarine volcanoes range down to h > 0.1 km, as magma is quenched immediately upon contact with ocean waters, forming pillow lava, rather than building into a higher peak.
"Global distribution of seamounts from ship-track bathymetry dataâ€
J.K. Hillier, A.B. Watts, Geophysical Research Letters, July, 2007. See Table 1.
Oregon Stateâ€™s Volcano World website estimates that 75% of Earthâ€™s magma flow comes from submarine volcanoes, but their data is just from 1997 and earlier.
Moreover, SO2 and other sulfur-bearing acids discharging into alkaline ocean waters yield the Heat of Neutralization and Heat of Dilution.
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