Not logged in
Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science

Hatzky, Jörn (2005): Physiography of the Ampère Seamount in the Horseshoe Seamount chain off Gibraltar. Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, PANGAEA,

Always quote citation above when using data! You can download the citation in several formats below.

RIS CitationBibTeX CitationShow MapGoogle Earth

The Ampère Seamount, 600 km west of Gibraltar, is one of nine inactive volcanoes along a bent chain, the so called Horseshoe Seamounts. All of them ascend from an abyssal plain of 4000 to 4800 m depth up to a few hundred meters below the sea surface, except two, which nearly reach the surface: the Ampère massif on the southern flank of the group and the summit of the Gorringe bank in the north. The horseshoe, serrated like a crown, opens towards Gibraltar and stands in the way of its outflow. These seamounts are part of the Azores-Gibraltar structure, which marks the boundary between two major tectonic plates: the Eurasian and the African plate.
The submarine volcanism which formed the Horseshoe Seamounts belongs to the sea floor spread area of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The maximum activity was between 17 and 10 Million years ago and terminated thereafter. The volcanoes consist of basalts and tuffs. Most of their flanks and the abyssal plain around are covered by sediments of micro-organic origin.
These sediments, in particular their partial absence on the upper flanks are a circumstantial proof and a kind of diary of the initial rise and subsequent subsidence of about 6oo m of these seamounts. The horizons of erosion where the basalt substrate is laid bare indicate the rise above sea level in the past. Since the Ampère summit is 60 m deep today, this volcano must have been an island 500 m high. The stratification of the sediments covering the surrounding abyssal plain reveals discrete events of downslope suspension flows, called turbidites, separated by tens of thousands of years and perhaps induced by changes in climate conditions.
The Ampère sea mount of 4800 m height and a base diameter of 50 km exceeds the size of the Mont Blanc massif. Its southern and eastern flanks are steep with basalts cropping out, in parts with nearly vertical walls of some hundred meters. The west and north sides consist of terraces and plateaus covered with sediments at 140 m, 400 m, 2000 m, and 3500 m.
The Horseshoe Seamount area is also remarkable as a kind of disturbed crossing of three major oceanic flow systems at different depths and directions with forced upwelling and partial mixing of the water masses. Most prominent is the Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) with its higher temperature and salinity between 900 to 1500 m depth. It enters the horseshoe unimpaired from the open eastern side but penetrates the seamount chain through its valleys on the west, thereafter diverging and crossing the entire Atlantic Ocean. Below the MOW is the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) between 2000 m to 3000 m depth flowing southward and finally there is the Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) flowing northward below the two other systems.
Related to:
Hatzky, Jörn (2005): Ampère Seamount (Sect. 5.2.6). Arctic Ocean and Its Constituent Seas; Bathymetry and Physiography (Sect. 5.4.1). The Orca Seamount Region, Antarctica (Sect. 5.5.2). In: Peter C. Wille (ed.), Sound Images of the Ocean in Research and Monitoring, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York, 471 pp
Further details:
Hatzky, Jörn (2005): Ampère Seamount (Sect. 5.2.6, pp. 131-132). Arctic Ocean and Its Constituent Seas; Bathymetry and Physiography (Sect. 5.4.1, pp. 202-206). The Orca Seamount Region, Antarctica (Sect. 5.5.2, pp. 222-223). In Wille, Peter C. "Sound Images of the Ocean in Research and Monitoring", Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New York, hdl:10013/epic.23498.d001
Latitude: 35.116667 * Longitude: -12.916667
Ampere_Seamount * Latitude: 35.116667 * Longitude: -12.916667 * Location: Horseshoe Area * Campaign: ANT-IX/4 (PS18) * Basis: Polarstern * Method/Device: HydroSweep (HS)
Hydrosweep DS-2; 15.5 kHz, beam width: 2.3° x 2.3°, fan width: 90°/8 km at 4 km depth; height exaggeration factor: 6
Image (Ampere-Seamount-red-green.tif): Ampère Seamount, Horseshoe Seamount Chain off Gibraltar. Multibeam echosound image in red-green anaglyphic stereo-depiction. The bird's view which is most appropriate for stereo depiction reveals the two level abrasive flattening of the Ampère summit more clearly than the slant view. This typical summit shape called guyot of a fully submerged seamount indicates its past with wind induced erosion when emerged above sea level. The simulated illumination from north show deep going landslides in the foreground and traces of volcanic outflow in the west, covering the south west part of the declivity with sharply marked boundaries.
Image (Ampere-Seamount.tif): Ampère Seamount. Multibeam echosounder image in color coded 3D-depiction. The pair images showing the Ampère Massif from two opposite sides quantifies the depth regime of more than 4000 m, as well as the varying slope structure of the flanks ascending from a broad, inclined fundament.
3.1 MBytes

Download Data

Download dataset