Green Seamount

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Green Seamount
Summit depth 2,100 ft (640 m)[1]
Height 535 ft (163 m)[1]
Summit area 17 km3 (4 cu mi)[1]
Coordinates 20°48.89′N 109°17.89′W / 20.81483°N 109.29817°W / 20.81483; -109.29817Coordinates: 20°48.89′N 109°17.89′W / 20.81483°N 109.29817°W / 20.81483; -109.29817
Country Mexico[2]
Type Seamount (underwater volcano)
Age of rock up to 260,000 years old[3]

Green Seamount is a small seamount (an underwater volcano) off the western coast of Mexico. It and the nearby Red Seamount were visited in 1982 by an expedition using DSV Alvin, which observed the seamount's sedimentary composition, sulfur chimneys, and biology. Thus, Green Seamount is well-characterized for such a small feature.[4]


Green Seamount has a minimal sedimentary cover (0–10 cm (0.0–3.9 in) of unusually fine sands, with the exception of its more thickly covered caldera (where it was over 50 cm (20 in) thick). Green Seamount is also home to a small number of hydrothermal vents near its caldera wall, which Alvin observed (on Red Seamount) to be oxide-rich with temperatures of 13.5 °C (56 °F),[4] very low temperatures for a hydrothermal vent.[5] Non-hydrothermal sediments on the volcano were observed to be light, "cream-colored" carbonates thinly masked in a finer gray and green sediment.[4]

The expedition also noted sulfur mounds near the caldera and pit crater walls;[4] these are unusual because, unlike most mid-ocean ridge seamounts, Green's "sulfur chimneys" contain a high amount of silicon, iron, copper, and quartz, but are poor in zinc. The complicated process that created the vents occurred between 140,000 and 70,000 years ago, and by looking at the sulfur chimneys scientists can estimate that it has taken about 260,000 years for the Green Seamount to reach its present height.[3] There is also an iron-manganese crust on a small off-axis seamount that adjoins Green Seamount,[2] a configuration common with sulfur-rich seamounts.[6]


Green Seamount is not very biologically diverse. The only fauna observed at its hydrothermal sites were single-celled, fan-shaped xenophyophores, and some shrimp. Still, marks of biological life were plentiful wherever sediments were 5 cm (2 in) or more deep.[4] The xenophyophores in particular were of a type that was found on many of the seamounts in the eastern Pacific region.[7] Alvin took two samples, a sponge of the Hexactinellid family and barnacles of the Sessilia order, back to the surface for analysis.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Green Seamount". EarthRef. National Science Foundation. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Green Seamount". InterRidge Vents Database. National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. April 10, 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Jeffery C. Alt; et al. (1 January 1987). "Hydrothermal sulfide and oxide deposits on seamounts near 21°N, East Pacific Rise". Geological Society of America Bulletin. 98 (2): 157. Bibcode:1987GSAB...98..157A. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(1987)98<157:HSAODO>2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0016-7606. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Barbara H. Keating; et al. (1988). Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls. American Geophysical Union. pp. 193–195. ISBN 978-0-87590-068-1. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  5. ^ Karsten M. Haase; et al. (2009). "Fluid compositions and mineralogy of precipitates from Mid Atlantic Ridge hydrothermal vents at 4°48'S". Publishing Network for Geoscientific & Environmental Data (PANGAEA). doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.727454. Retrieved 29 June 2011.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ Y. Fouquet; et al. (February 15, 1997). "Where are the Large Hydrothermal Sulphide Deposits in the Oceans?". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. 355 (1723): 427–441. doi:10.1098/rsta.1997.0015. 
  7. ^ Levin, L.A. and C.L. Thomas (1988). "The ecology of xenophyophores (Protista) on eastern Pacific seamounts". Deep-Sea Research Part A: Oceanographic Research Papers. 35 (12): 2003–2027. Bibcode:1988DSRI...35.2003L. doi:10.1016/0198-0149(88)90122-7. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Observation Data". Seamounts Online. CenSeam. Retrieved 29 June 2011.