Breakdown: A peculiar path was just discovered on the ocean floor. Why is it there?
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A newly discovered mysterious rock structure resembling the fictional “yellow brick road” in The Wizard of Oz is being dubbed “the road to Atlantis.”
The crew of the Exploration Vessel Nautilus were searching to investigate underwater structures known as seamounts, which are created by volcanic activity when they caught sight of a strange-looking formation.
The strange-looking feature, which resembles a road paved in cobblestones, was located in the Liliʻuokalani Ridge in the Papahānaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the Pacific Ocean. PMNM is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world, located off the coast of Hawaii.
Researchers provided live footage on YouTube, capturing the moment researchers operating the deep-sea vehicle stumbled upon the strange rock formation.
One of the scientists says: “It’s the road to Atlantis!” Another calls it “the Yellow Brick Road.”
The crew went on to explain that the formation is actually “an example of ancient active volcanic geology”.
The team spotted this “dried lake bed” formation, now identified as a fractured flow of hyaloclastite rock (a volcanic rock formed in high-energy eruptions where many rock fragments settle to the seabed), at the summit of Nootka Seamount.
The unique 90-degree fractures are likely related to heating and cooling stress from multiple eruptions at this baked margin, according to the video description posted by the E/V Nautilus’ YouTube channel.
Best known for his 1985 discovery of the RMS Titanic, Dr. Robert Ballard founded the Ocean Exploration Trust in 2008 and acquired the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, which continues to explore the world’s oceans with the Nautilus Corps of Exploration. You can learn more about the program and its goals here.
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