Marine scientists aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus have discovered an ancient dried-out lake bed that looks like a “yellow brick road.” The appearance of the ground led researchers to describe it as “the road to Atlantis.”
The exploration took place during the research team’s study on the seamounts – underwater mountains formed by volcanic activity – in an area called Liliʻuokalani ridge in the Papahānaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the Pacific Ocean. The team is using a remotely operated vehicle in their investigation.
PNMM, one of the largest marine conversation areas in the world, is located northwest of the Hawaiian islands, and it encompasses 583,000 square miles (1,510,000 km2) of ocean waters along with ten islands. And the E/V Nautilus has spent most of the past month in the PNMM studying the geological and biological systems of seamounts.
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Live footage that captures the moment of the exploration has been published on YouTube by EVNautilus.
“It’s the road to Atlantis”
As can be heard in the video, one of the scientists says: “It’s the road to Atlantis,” while another one resembles “the Yellow Brick Road” in the children’s novel The Wizard of Oz.
Although the formation strongly resembles a human-made brick road with rectangular blocks, it is actually a pattern of cracks in the seabed that is “an example of ancient active volcanic geology,” according to the description in the video posted by the EVNautilus YouTube channel.
It is stated in the caption of the YouTube video that “the unique 90-degree fractures are likely related to heating and cooling stress from multiple eruptions at this baked margin.”
The exploration vessel Nautilus is operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the ocean. It also live-streams the ship’s adventures and provides viewers a firsthand look at what the remote-operated diving vehicles catch deep down the Ocean.