UNDERWATER footage has captured what scientists jokingly call the “Road to Atlantis” at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The unusual formation, which looks like a cobbled path, was spotted by the deep-sea exploration ship Nautilus last month.
A remote-controlled vehicle operated by the team from the non-profit organization The Ocean Exploration Trust was 1,000m below the surface at the time.
A live stream of the trip in an area near Hawaii called Liliʻuokalani Ridge was uploaded to YouTube on April 29.
During the clip, which has been viewed millions of times, scientists aboard the Nautilus can be heard marveling at their find in real time.
They excitedly compare the formation to the “yellow brick road” seen in The Wizard of Oz. They also describe it as the “Road to Atlantis”.
While it may appear like a brick walkway leading to the mythical sunken city, the structure has far simpler origins.
It’s actually the result of ancient volcanic activity that left rock fragments behind.
The video was captured at Nootka Seamount, an ancient volcano in Papahānaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
“At the summit of Nootka Seamount, the team discovered a ‘dry sea bed’ formation,” said the Ocean Exploration Trust.
It added that the team has now identified the structure as “a fractured flow of hyaloclastite rock (a volcanic rock formed during high-energy eruptions that deposit many rock fragments on the seafloor).”
“The unique 90-degree breaks are likely related to heat and cooling stress from multiple eruptions at this baked rim.”
Nautilus explores uncharted regions of the deep sea to make discoveries in biology and archeology.
The ship has a crew of 17, including scientists who operate the various research instruments.
These include remotely operated underwater vehicles loaded with high-resolution cameras and the opportunity to collect seabed samples.
“Our exploration of this unprecedented area is helping researchers get a deeper look at life on and within the rocky slopes of these deep, ancient seamounts,” the Trust said.
“Scientists are studying the microbial communities living in the ferromanganese crusts found over rock surfaces and how the properties of the crusts in sea basins differ from region to region, as well as the microorganisms that live on and in them.
“These studies will help provide fundamental information about seamount communities that can inform management and conservation measures.”
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8774157/yellow-brick-road-bottom-pacific-path-to-atlantis/ The mysterious “Yellow Brick Road” found at the bottom of the Pacific is dubbed the “Path to Atlantis.”