The path to the Emerald City might travel along the ocean’s bottom. While investigating a region known as Lili’uokalani Ridge in the Pacific Ocean’s Papahnaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the crew (researchers) of the Exploration Vessel Nautilus spotted a peculiar-looking feature.
The Exploration Vessel Nautilus spotted a wild ocean floor feature that looked like a “yellow brick road to the mythical city of Atlantis” while studying the Liliʻuokalani Ridge. © Image Credit: Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET
“The yellow brick road?” a scientist mused in an interview of the discovery in April 2022. Others remarked that the rocks were reminiscent of a very different fictional world: “It’s the road to Atlantis,” one researcher said.
The short strip of golden rocks, which are spaced at exact 90-degree angles, has the appearance of having been chiseled and arranged by human hands. The researchers discovered that the street that appeared to be paved was actually just a natural product of ancient volcanic activity that took place hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean.
“At the summit of Nootka Seamount, the team spotted a ‘dried lake bed’ formation, now IDed as a fractured flow of hyaloclastite rock (a volcanic rock formed in high-energy eruptions where many rock fragments settle to the seabed),” the researchers said.
“The remarkably brick-like divisions between the rocks are likely the coincidental result of heating and cooling stresses from multiple volcanic eruptions over millions of years”, the team added.
The researchers took a detour down this eerie undersea road while operating a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) around the Papahnaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a protected conservation area covering roughly 582,578 square miles (1,508,870 square kilometers) of the Pacific Ocean northwest of Hawaii.
Devil’s Piles juga antara pembentukan batu yang pengkaji Temui selain Yellow Brick Road. © Image Credit: Public Domain
The mission of the trip, which is a part of the Nautilus Exploration Program of the Ocean Exploration Trust, is to investigate the ancient seamounts at Liliuokalani Ridge, which is situated on the western edge of the monument.
Gathering geological samples from the region’s seamounts, which are underwater mountains created by volcanic activity, is one of the team’s main goals in order to better understand their ages and origins. In order to learn more about the unique animals that have survived close to the deep underwater volcanoes of the Pacific, the crew will also collect microbial samples.
“Our exploration of this never-before-surveyed area is helping researchers take a deeper look at life on and within the rocky slopes of these deep, ancient seamounts,” the researchers added. Previous expeditions aboard the Nautilus research vessel have unearthed a plethora of eerie aquatic anomalies.
During a trip to the Papahnaumokuakea Marine National Monument in 2018, researchers were taken aback by a wiggling, googly-eyed creature that appeared to change shape in front of the camera.
Gulper eel (Eurypharynx pelecanoides). © Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The gulper eel (Eurypharynx pelecanoides), a fish with a huge mouth that can unhinge its big jaw to devour anything larger than itself, was later identified as the species.
The researchers in command of the ROV during that voyage also made a cultural allusion in response to the unexpected scene in front of them. “Looks like a Muppet,” one researcher said.