Tasmantid seamounts: volcanic and tectonic record, carbonate reefs, physical oceanography and tsunamigenic potential
Tasmantid seamounts are a chain of underwater hotspot-derived intraplate volcanoes situated 150km to 600km east of the Australian mainland, within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Because of the long record of hotspot-derived volcanic activity – spanning more than 2000km and >40 million years – the seamounts provide an exceptional and largely untapped record of Australian plate velocity and environmental and sedimentological history.
The larger seamounts are capped by shallow-water coral reef facies and other carbonate sediments, thus preserving a key biologic and climatic record of the seas east of Australia. The seamounts were swath mapped and sampled at the end of 2012.
Morphologic analysis of the seamounts is allowing identification of volcanic and coral-growth geomorphology, as well as the search for tsunamigenic mass-wasting deposits with implications for potential future risk.
A variety of diagenetic studies are underway on ancient shallow-water reef limestones as well as younger deep sea carbonate sediments, along with geochemical studies of surface waters and deep sea coral and echinoderm skeletons.