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Emperor Seamount Chain
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Emperor Seamount Chain

Emperor Seamount Chain

In the frigid darkness of the deep North Pacific Ocean between the Hawaiian and Aleutian Islands is a chain of silent volcanoes that arose millions of years ago from molten rock, 80 kilometers below the Earth’s surface. Until the 1970s, they harbored large numbers of deepwater corals and fish. Large offshore trawlers invaded these undersea paradises, dragging away their deep-sea corals and fish including alfonsinos and pelagic armorheads. Even several decades later, there is little indication of coral recovery. Yet, harbored within the complex terrain of these seamounts are small nooks, crannies and overhangs that were too difficult to trawl – these areas have served as a refuge for the deep-sea life that once blanketed the Emperor volcanoes and may hold the seeds of promise for their recovery, if properly protected.
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