Koko Guyot

Koko Guyot (also sometimes known as Kinmei[2] and Koko Seamount) is a 48.1-million-year-old guyot,[3] a type of underwater volcano with a flat top, which lies near the southern end of the Emperor seamounts, about 200 km (124 mi) north of the "bend" in the volcanic Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain.[5] Pillow lava has been sampled on the north west flank of Koko Seamount, and the oldest dated lava is 40 million years old.[4] Seismic studies indicate that it is built on a 9 km (6 mi) thick portion of the Pacific Plate.[6] The oldest rock from the north side of Koko Seamount is dated at 52.6 and the south side of Koko at 50.4 million years ago. To the southeast of the bend is Kimmei Seamount at 47.9 million years ago and southeast of it, Daikakuji at 46.7.[7]

Koko Guyot
Elevation of the Pacific seafloor, showing the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, including Koko Guyot above the prominent bend. The sharp "V" separates the Hawaiian Ridge from the older Emperor Seamount portion of the chain. Koko is the largest of the seamounts directly north of the v-bend.
Height5,000 m (16,000 ft)[1]
LocationCentral Pacific
Coordinates35°15′N 171°35′E / 35.250°N 171.583°ECoordinates: 35°15′N 171°35′E / 35.250°N 171.583°E[2]
TypeGuyot, Hotspot volcano
Volcanic arc/chainHawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Age of rock48.1 million[3]
Last eruption40 million years ago[4]
First visit1973, ODP Site 308

Geology and characteristics

The seamount was named for the 58th emperor of Japan, Emperor Koko (A.D. 885-887) by geologist Thomas Davies and his colleagues in 1972, based on the results from a bathymetric expedition and contents of two dredge huals, led by Thomas Washington and undertaken with the ship Aries-7.[1][5] The seamount is elongate in shape, aligned northwest-southeast (the same direction as the chain), and has a gentle slope and a large, flat top. Koko Seamount also has a lot of small reefal bodies on its slopes.[1] It rises from the abyssal floor about 5,000 m (16,000 ft) in height.

A prominent south-trending ridge extends about 50 km (31 mi) from the summit area in the direction of Kimmei Seamount, to the southeast.[5] The base of the guyot is similar to a "pedestal," and is composed of consolidated lavas and extinct volcanic centers of the volcano's formally active history; it is similar to structure to the pedestal found at the base of most of the other, usually larger Emperor seamounts. However, a thick carbonate cap, similar to the one covering Detroit Seamount, makes it difficult to find the exact eruptive centers.[5] The volcano is clearly isolated, even in comparison to other seamounts in the spread-out Emperor chain, with Ojin Seamount about 200 km (124 mi) to the northwest and Kimmei Seamount 100 km (62 mi) to the southeast.[5] The seamount is located just 2.3 degrees north of the bend.[1]

Much of what we know about Koko comes from early dredgings and the Ocean Drilling Program's core samples, collected as part of Leg 197, at Site 1206, which aimed to supply information on the relatively obscure Emperor seamounts and study their relation to the Hawaiian chain.[1][8] Site 1206 was the last and southernmost drilling site during Leg 197, and was located on the southeastern side of the lower summit terrace of Koko Seamount.[1] A seismic survey of the region was utilized to locate a suitable place for the drill site, initially targeted near Site 308, drilled in 1973 during Leg 32. Weather conditions during the drilling had prevented it from reaching 68.5 m (225 ft) in depth, the approximate depth of the sediment cover in the region.[1] Due to a shortage of time, priority was placed on finding a region with a thin sedimentary cover. The site eventually chosen was located at a water depth of 1,545 m (5,069 ft), 6.2 km (4 mi) south of Site 308, at coordinates 34°55.55′N 172°8.75′E / 34.92583°N 172.14583°E. The sediment cover at this site was less than half that at the 1973 drill site, and rock was hit at a subsurface depth of 57 m (187 ft). Drilling continued to 278 m (912 ft) into the slopes.[1]

The top 57 m (187 ft) of sediment included fossil-rich calcarenite and calcium-rich mudstone and siltstone, indicating a shallow-water setting at the time of deposition.[1] The lower part of the core sample recovered a 15 cm (6 in) to 20 cm (8 in) section of shell-bearing mudstone containing many microfossils typical of the early to middle Eocene (43.5-49.7 Ma). This age range fits well with a radiometric analysis (48.1 Ma) reported for a dredged rock from Koko Seamount from the 1973 expedition. Although shell fragments had been recovered from the sediment cover in 1973, none of these deposits contained microfossils.[1]

Lava flows dominate the lithology of the main body, with a small proportion of calcarenite. Many lavas were pahoehoe flows laced with a'a, evidence of subaerial eruptions.[1] There was a large amount of variation in the density, structure, porosity, and grain size of the recovered volcanic rock, varying widely with depth. The bulk of the volcanic rock is basalt of aphyric to olivine-phyric lava, and tholeiitic or alkalic in composition. The basaltic lavas from Koko Seamount resemble those drilled during Leg 55, at Suiko Seamount.[1]

Studies suggested that the magnetic arrangement of the rock, used to determine its latitude at formation (magnets align to the North pole; also, the drift and position of the Hawaii hotspot at various times is important to hotspot studies), were relatively stable. 14 magnetic groupings were found on the seamount, yielding a mean latitude of 38.5 degrees south of the seamount's present location (the percent of error is +8.4°/-10.9°). That would put the seamount at 21.7° N in latitude during its early history, before the Pacific Plate moved it to its current position relative to Earth.[1]

Ancient ecology

Dredged carbonate samples from the top of the seamount contained porites and several other corals, covered by coralline algae at shallow to medium depth. Also present were Amphistegina, red algae (mainly Lithothamnion and Sporolithon), lepidocyclines, bryozoans, and coralline at deeper depths. The recorded lepidocyclinids indicate an Early Miocene age for the drowned carbonate platforms found on the seamount, at about 500 m (1,640 ft).[9]

See also

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "SITE 1206". Ocean Drilling Program Database-Results of Site 1206. Ocean Drilling Program. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  2. ^ a b "Seamount Catalog". Seamounts database. EarthRef, a National Science Foundation project. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  3. ^ a b Dyar, Darby. "HOTSPOTS AND PLATE MOTION". Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  4. ^ a b Seach, John. "Koko Seamount, NW Flank - John Seach". Volcanic database. Volcano Live.com. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  5. ^ a b c d e "6. Site 12061 BACKGROUND AND SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVES". Drilling Site Recommendation Submission for Koko. Ocean Drilling Program. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  6. ^ K. FURUKAWA; J. F. GETTRUST; L. W. KROENKE; J. F. Campbell (1980). "Crust and upper mantle structure along the flank of Koko Seamount". Scientific Paper-Abstract. Hawaii Institute of Geophysics University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  7. ^ TenBruggencate, Jan (2006). "Hawaiian geology gets update". Honolulu Advertiser web article. Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  8. ^ "DRILLING STRATEGY". Ocean Drilling Program - Leg 197 Proposal. Ocean Drilling Program. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  9. ^ David A. Clauge; Juan C. Braga; Jody M. Webster; Davide Bassi; Willen Renema. "Lower Miocene submerged reefs on the Koko Seamount". Essay Abstract. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
List of volcanoes in the Hawaiian – Emperor seamount chain

The Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain is a series of volcanoes and seamounts extending about 6,200 km across the Pacific Ocean. The chain has been produced by the movement of the ocean crust over the Hawaiʻi hotspot, an upwelling of hot rock from the Earth's mantle. As the oceanic crust moves the volcanoes farther away from their source of magma, their eruptions become less frequent and less powerful until they eventually cease to erupt altogether. At that point, erosion of the volcano and subsidence of the seafloor cause the volcano to gradually diminish. As the volcano sinks and erodes, it first becomes an atoll island and then an atoll. Further subsidence causes the volcano to sink below the sea surface, becoming a seamount and/or a guyot. This list documents the most significant volcanoes in the chain, ordered by distance from the hotspot; however, there are many others that have yet to be properly studied.

The chain can be divided into three subsections. The first, the Hawaiian archipelago (also known as the Windward isles), consists of the islands comprising the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi (not to be confused with the island of Hawaiʻi). As it is the closest to the hotspot, this volcanically active region is the youngest part of the chain, with ages ranging from 400,000 years to 5.1 million years. The island of Hawaiʻi is comprised by five volcanoes, of which two (Kilauea and Mauna Loa) are still active. Lōʻihi Seamount continues to grow offshore, and is the only known volcano in the chain in the submarine pre-shield stage.The second part of the chain is composed of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, collectively referred to as the Leeward isles, the constituents of which are between 7.2 and 27.7 million years in age. Erosion has long since overtaken volcanic activity at these islands, and most of them are atolls, atoll islands, and extinct islands. They contain many of the most northerly atolls in the world; one of them, Kure Atoll, is the northern-most atoll in the world.The oldest and most heavily eroded part of the chain are the Emperor seamounts, which are 39 to 85 million years in age. The Emperor and Hawaiian chains are separated by a large L-shaped bend that causes the orientations of the chains to differ by about 60°. This bend was long attributed to a relatively sudden change in the direction of plate motion, but research conducted in 2003 suggests that it was the movement of the hotspot itself that caused the bend. The issue is still currently under debate. All of the volcanoes in this part of the chain have long since subsided below sea level, becoming seamounts and guyots (see also the seamount and guyot stages of Hawaiian volcanism). Many of the volcanoes are named after former emperors of Japan. The seamount chain extends to the West Pacific, and terminates at the Kuril–Kamchatka Trench, a subduction zone at the border of Russia.

List of volcanoes in the United States

A list of volcanoes in the United States and its territories.

Outline of oceanography

The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to Oceanography.


A seamount is a mountain rising from the ocean floor that does not reach to the water's surface (sea level), and thus is not an island, islet or cliff-rock. Seamounts are typically formed from extinct volcanoes that rise abruptly and are usually found rising from the seafloor to 1,000–4,000 m (3,300–13,100 ft) in height. They are defined by oceanographers as independent features that rise to at least 1,000 m (3,281 ft) above the seafloor, characteristically of conical form. The peaks are often found hundreds to thousands of meters below the surface, and are therefore considered to be within the deep sea. During their evolution over geologic time, the largest seamounts may reach the sea surface where wave action erodes the summit to form a flat surface. After they have subsided and sunk below the sea surface such flat-top seamounts are called "guyots" or "tablemounts".There are more than 14,500 seamounts, of which 9,951 seamounts and 283 guyots, covering a total of 8,796,150 km2 (3,396,210 sq mi) have been mapped but only a few have been studied in detail by scientists. Seamounts and guyots are most abundant in the North Pacific Ocean, and follow a distinctive evolutionary pattern of eruption, build-up, subsidence and erosion. In recent years, several active seamounts have been observed, for example Loihi in the Hawaiian Islands.

Because of their abundance, seamounts are one of the most common marine ecosystems in the world. Interactions between seamounts and underwater currents, as well as their elevated position in the water, attract plankton, corals, fish, and marine mammals alike. Their aggregational effect has been noted by the commercial fishing industry, and many seamounts support extensive fisheries. There are ongoing concerns on the negative impact of fishing on seamount ecosystems, and well-documented cases of stock decline, for example with the orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus). 95% of ecological damage is done by bottom trawling, which scrapes whole ecosystems off seamounts.

Because of their large numbers, many seamounts remain to be properly studied, and even mapped. Bathymetry and satellite altimetry are two technologies working to close the gap. There have been instances where naval vessels have collided with uncharted seamounts; for example, Muirfield Seamount is named after the ship that struck it in 1973. However, the greatest danger from seamounts are flank collapses; as they get older, extrusions seeping in the seamounts put pressure on their sides, causing landslides that have the potential to generate massive tsunamis.

Notable eruptions
and vents


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