A mountain which the Icelandic Marine Research Institute (Hafró) discovered on the ocean floor west off the Snæfellsnes peninsula in West Iceland during an expedition earlier this summer may turn out to be a previously unknown volcano.
A fishing ship with Snæfellsjökull, the glacier-covered volcano on the tip of Snæfellsnes in the background. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
“Multi-laser measurements […] revealed a large underwater mountain deep off the foot of the continental shelf approximately 120 nautical miles west of Snæfellsnes,” a statement from Hafró reads, according to Fréttablaðið.
The mountain, which is at a depth of 950 to 1,400 meters is around 450 meters high, similar to Ingólfsfjall in south Iceland. However, it extends over 300 square kilometers, which is ten times the square measure of Ingólfsfjall.
The shape of the mountain is very similar to that of table mountains and it appears to be geologically young.
“The analysis of a rock sample from the mountain will determine whether this is the case or whether it is a volcano connected with an old drift belt, which might mean that it is 20 million years old,” the statement continues.
During the expedition multi-laser measurements were made between West Iceland and Greenland to map the shape of the ocean floor in these commonly-used fishing grounds and explore the environment of powerful ocean currents.
A total of 9,000 square kilometers were covered during the 11-day expedition.