Textural Characteristics of Sediments on Deep Seamounts in the Eastern Pacific Ocean between 10°N and 30°N

  1. Barbara H. Keating,
  2. Patricia Fryer,
  3. Rodey Batiza and
  4. George W. Boehlert
  1. Lisa A. Levin and
  2. Charles A. Nittrouer

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM043p0187

Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls

Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls

How to Cite

Levin, L. A. and Nittrouer, C. A. (1987) Textural Characteristics of Sediments on Deep Seamounts in the Eastern Pacific Ocean between 10°N and 30°N, in Seamounts, Islands, and Atolls (eds B. H. Keating, P. Fryer, R. Batiza and G. W. Boehlert), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM043p0187

Author Information

  1. Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1987

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900681

Online ISBN: 9781118664209



  • Seamounts;
  • Coral reefs and islands


A review of sedimentation on seamounts provides a perspective for understanding the processes which affect sediment texture on seamounts. To examine these processes in the eastern Pacific Ocean, between 10°N and 30°N, forty cores were collected from 16 seamounts using DSRV ALVIN. Visual observations combined with analyses of grain size and carbonate content indicate that sedimentation on seamounts is complex and highly variable. Sediment texture, composition, and color vary greatly between latitudinal regions, between seamounts within the same region, and between environments within seamounts. Seamount latitude, water depth, and age influence large scale(over 103 km) supply and removal patterns of sediment through changes in productivity, calcium carbonate dissolution, and production of hydrothermal precipitates. Localized volcanic settings within seamounts (e.g., calderas, benches, bases) experience hydrodynamic conditions associated with different degrees of winnowing and deposition, which give rise to highly varied sediment textures over intermediate spatial scales (kms). Physically and biologically generated surface roughness (e.g., ripples, mounds, tests) modifies sediment texture and composition on cm scales by causing differential deposition and removal of particles. Feeding activities and test construction by agglutinating protozoans (xenophyophores) also contribute fine-scale heterogeneity. Thus, the processes influencing the character of the sediment which accumulates on seamounts occur on spatial scales spanning eight orders of magnitude, from 10−5 to 103 km.