Intraplate seamounts research

Thick manganese-oxide crusts precipitated from hydrothermal fluids when the volcano was active and from seawater over time since, making it hard to discern the original rock textures.

Intraplate seamount volcanism is of different types

Many chains of seamounts (submerged mountains) are of hot spot or subduction arc origin. However, some intraplate seamounts have different origins. Near-ridge seamounts erupted near the axes of mid-ocean ridges onto recently derived oceanic crust. In the north-east Pacific, these include the Vance and President Jackson seamounts near the Juan de Fuca and Gorda Ridges, respectively, and the Taney Seamounts off San Francisco, which are no longer associated with an active spreading center (map, 50 kb). Some isolated seamounts and other linear seamount chains have erupted onto much older oceanic crust, and their formation is enigmatic: they do not appear to have erupted as hot spot volcanoes or near-ridge seamounts, and they are not associated with subduction processes. Examples of these include Davidson, Pioneer, and Guide seamounts (map, 118 kb) near the California coast, and the Line Islands chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Note that our work at Axial Seamount is covered in the Mid-ocean Ridge section.

Near-ridge seamounts

There are many linear chains of seamounts that originate near mid-ocean ridges and are somehow due to excess magmatic activity that erupts intermittently but profusely over extended periods at that same point of the ridge.

Continental margin seamounts

Davidson Seamount is one of several seamounts along the California continental margin. It is located about 120 km southwest of Monterey, CA, and rises to within 1300 m of the sea surface.

Non-hot-spot linear chains

Some linear chains of submarine volcanoes, such as the Line Islands in the Central Pacific, are not associated with a hot spot or mid-ocean ridge, and do not become progressively older with distance.

Eclectic seamounts topics

Our expeditions to the sea floor result in biological as well as geological observations and collections. New fish and sponge species have also been discovered. In another study, deep sea coral on Davidson Seamount were examined and isotopes in their skeletons were used to study past climate change.


Upper-ocean systems
Acoustical ocean ecology
Acoustic instruments
Acoustic fingerprinting
Acoustic community ecology
Acoustics in the news
Marine biogeochemistry
Ocean carbon export
Technology development
Coastal carbon cycling and ocean acidification
Carbon cycle feedbacks
Western boundary current carbon cycling
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Biological oceanography
Global modes of sea surface temperature
Krill hotspots in the California Current
Nitrate supply estimates in upwelling systems
Chemical sensors
Chemical data
Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory in Elkhorn Slough
Listing of floats
SOCCOM float visualization
Periodic table of elements in the ocean
Biogeochemical-Argo Report
Profiling float
Marine microbes
Population dynamics of phytoplankton
Microbial predators
Microbe-algae interactions
Targeted metagenomics
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Interdisciplinary field experiments
Ecogenomic Sensing
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Ocean observing system
Midwater research
Midwater ecology
Deep-sea squids and octopuses
Food web dynamics
Midwater time series
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Seafloor processes
Revealing the secrets of Sur Ridge
Exploring Sur Ridge’s coral gardens
Life at Sur Ridge
Mapping Sur Ridge
Biology and ecology
Effects of humans
Ocean acidification, warming, deoxygenation
Lost shipping container study
Effects of upwelling
Faunal patterns
Previous research
Technology development
High-CO2 / low-pH ocean
Benthic respirometer system
Climate change in extreme environments
Station M: A long-term observatory on the abyssal seafloor
Station M long-term time series
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Sargasso Sea research
Antarctic research
Geological changes
Arctic Shelf Edge
Continental Margins and Canyon Dynamics
Coordinated Canyon Experiment
CCE instruments
CCE repeat mapping data
Monterey Canyon: A Grand Canyon beneath the waves
Submarine volcanoes
Mid-ocean ridges
Magmatic processes
Volcanic processes
Explosive eruptions
Hydrothermal systems
Back arc spreading ridges
Near-ridge seamounts
Continental margin seamounts
Non-hot-spot linear chains
Eclectic seamounts topics
Margin processes
Hydrates and seeps
California borderland
Hot spot research
Hot-spot plumes
Magmatic processes
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Explosive eruptions
Volcanic hazards
Hydrothermal systems
Flexural arch
Coral reefs
ReefGrow software
Eclectic topics
Submarine volcanism cruises
Volcanoes resources
Areas of study
Automated chemical sensors
Methane in the seafloor
Microscopic biology research
Open ocean biology research
Seafloor biology research
Volcanoes and seamounts
Hydrothermal vents
Methane in the seafloor
Submarine canyons
Earthquakes and landslides
Ocean acidification
Physical oceanography and climate change
Ocean circulation and algal blooms
Ocean cycles and climate change
Past research
Molecular ecology
Molecular systematics
SIMZ Project
Bone-eating worms
Gene flow and dispersal
Molecular-ecology expeditions
Ocean chemistry of greenhouse gases
Emerging science of a high CO2/low pH ocean
Research publications
Submarine Volcanism Publications
Breusing, C., Johnson, S.B., Tunnicliffe, V., Clague, D.A., Vrijenhoek, R.C., Beinart, R.A., (2020). Both allopatric and ecological processes contribute to speciation in Alviniconcha hydrothermal vent snail. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 37: .
Clague, D.A., Martin, J.F., Paduan, J.B., Butterfield, D.A., Jamieson, J.W., Le Saout, M., Caress, D.W., Thomas, H., Holden, J.F., Kelley, D.S., (2020). Hydrothermal chimney distribution on the Endeavour Segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 21: 1-12.
Clague, D.A., Paduan, J.B., Caress, D.W., McClain, J., Zierenberg, R.A., (2020). Lava flows erupted in 1996 on North Gorda Ridge Segment and the geology of the nearby Sea Cliff Hydrothermal Vent Field From 1-M resolution AUV mapping. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7: 1-25.
Full publications list