A staff of marine biologists realized they undoubtedly weren’t in Kansas anymore after discovering what gave the impression to be a yellow brick highway on high of an undersea mountain close to Hawaii.
“The yellow brick highway?” a scientist mused in a YouTube video of the invention.
Others remarked that the rocks had been paying homage to a really completely different fictional world: “It is the highway to Atlantis,” one researcher mentioned.
The yellow rocks, divided from one another at neat 90-degree angles, type a slender strip and appear like they had been carved and organized by human fingers. Nonetheless, the seemingly paved roadway was merely the pure results of historical volcanic exercise hundreds of ft under the water’s floor, the researchers mentioned in an outline under the video.
“On the summit of Nootka Seamount, the staff noticed a ‘dried lake mattress’ formation, now IDed as a fractured stream of hyaloclastite rock (a volcanic rock shaped in high-energy eruptions the place many rock fragments settle to the seabed),” the researchers wrote.
The remarkably brick-like divisions between the rocks are seemingly the coincidental results of heating and cooling stresses from a number of volcanic eruptions over tens of millions of years, the staff added.
The researchers took a detour down this eerie undersea highway whereas piloting a remotely operated automobile (ROV) across the Papahānaumokuakea Marine Nationwide Monument, a protected conservation space encompassing about 582,578 sq. miles (1,508,870 sq. kilometers) of the Pacific Ocean northwest of Hawaii. The expedition is a part of the Ocean Exploration Belief’s Nautilus Exploration Program and goals to research the traditional seamounts close to Liliʻuokalani Ridge, on the monument’s western edge.
One of many staff’s predominant targets is to gather geological samples from the realm’s seamounts — underwater mountains shaped by volcanic exercise — to raised perceive their ages and origins. Studying this will additionally yield new insights into the formation of the Hawaiian Islands, the researchers wrote on the Nautilus website. The staff will even gather microbial samples, to review what sorts of oddball organisms have managed to thrive close to the deep, underwater volcanoes of the Pacific.
“Our exploration of this never-before-surveyed space helps researchers take a deeper have a look at life on and inside the rocky slopes of those deep, historical seamounts,” the researchers added.
Earlier expeditions aboard the Nautilus analysis vessel have turned up loads of unnerving marine oddities. Throughout a 2018 tour to the Papahānaumokuakea Marine Nationwide Monument, researchers had been dumbfounded by a wriggling, googly-eyed creature that appeared to vary form whereas in entrance of the digicam. Researchers later recognized the creature as a gulper eel (Eurypharynx pelecanoides), an extremely big-mouthed fish that may unhinge its large jaw to swallow prey even bigger than itself.
The researchers controlling the ROV throughout that expedition additionally responded to the unusual sight earlier than them with a cultural reference.
“Seems to be like a Muppet,” one researcher mentioned.
Initially printed on Stay Science.