I did not find any seamounts as close as 100 m to the water surface (100m from the mean surface level at the location of the mountain) that are not part of any Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ.)

Do any such seamounts exist?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you clarify how you looked for the information? And perhaps spell out Exclusive Economic Zone in the question, if that's what you mean. $\endgroup$ Feb 15 '19 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that is what I meant. I just googled it, my knowledge of geographical databases is close to 0. $\endgroup$
    – zabop
    Feb 15 '19 at 18:12

Yes, there are many. According to the seafloor topographic data of ETOPO (1 arc second resolution), and the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) database of marineregions.org. There are at least 157 seafloor features higher than -100 m (closer than 100 m to the sea surface). With that data, I made the following figure that shows:

  1. ETOPO topographic data
  2. All EEZ polygons
  3. All 157 -100 m contour lines that are completely or partially outside any EEZ.
  4. A red point at the centroid of each contour line (to make even the smaller seamounts visible).

enter image description here

Some of them are just a few meters below sea level according to ETOPO.

But note that with this data we can only see large features. ETOPO resolution is about 2 km. Therefore, a seamount with a sharp summit just above -100 m would probably not show up on ETOPO data.

For more information about individual seamounts you can query the Seamount Catalog of EarthRef.org. There you can find high resolution multibeam seafloor topographic data for many seamounts, there are more than 1,800 seamounts in the catalog so far.

For example, for Vema seamount that was mention by @arkaia and that corresponds to the point just West of South Africa in my figure, you can find data like this:

enter image description here


Checking the Wikipedia page on underwater volcanoes and listing them by height, I think the best candidate is Vema Seamount. Vema Seamount is in international waters and its shallowest point is at 11 meters from the surface. It is so shallow that it represents a navigation hazard.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is that close enough to the surface that it would be out of the water in the troughs of waves in stormy weather? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Mindor
    Feb 15 '19 at 23:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mr.Mindor, it is unclear. Usually during stormy weather you have associated wind setup (surge) in shallow areas, so they tend to be these features tend to be deeper during storm events. The other aspect is that waves would start breaking when they get closer to shallow areas. $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Feb 16 '19 at 4:04

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