Environmental Science

Yellow Brick Road Discovered In Pacific Ocean during First-Ever Exploration of Underwater Volcanoes

Yellow Brick Road Discovered In Pacific Ocean during First-Ever Exploration of Underwater Volcanoes

Scientists exploring around in an old and underwater volcanic chain in the Pacific Ocean found what seemed to be a “yellow brick road,” giving a nod to the Wizard of Oz. The natural brickwork was caused by volcanic geology, which split the rock in an unusually regular pattern. The finding was made by E/V Nautilus pilots who were on their way to explore the Ancient Seamounts of Liliuokalani Ridge as part of the Luuaeaahikiikekumu expedition. The team is using a robotic arm to sample manganese crust from the bottom, with some success.

The team’s expert use of The Claw allows them to examine a cluster of ferromanganese crust, a marine sedimentary mineral deposit made composed of iron and manganese oxides, more precisely. The vessel shuffles on, passing through a remarkably dry-looking stretch of “baked crust” before reaching the cobblestone “yellow brick road.” One researcher asks, “What is that?” Other states “The route to Atlantis.”

“What seems to be a “golden brick path” leading to the mythological city of Atlantis is actually an example of active volcanic geology from the past!” On YouTube, EVNautilus explains. The strange geological feature was found on the peak of Nootka Seamount, which is located within the Papahnaumokuakea Marine National Monument. It seemed to be a patch of dried lake bed at first, but it was later recognized as hyaloclastite, a kind of volcanic rock formed when high-energy eruptions deposited pieces on the seafloor. It has broken as a consequence of being continuously warmed and cooled over time when other eruptions occurred in the area, giving it a brick-like appearance.

Consider it like the top of a delicious brownie: the surface is firm, yet it may rise and fall with heat and cold, causing fissures. This old volcanic rock has acted in a similar way, but over a much longer period of time and with a more savory flavor. The pilots’ joy at finding such an unusual discovery is obvious in the film, but it’s a sensation they’ll have to get accustomed to, as this is the first-ever survey of the undersea region. They’re trying to figure out why the seamount track has a strange split, but who knows what they’ll uncover along the route. The same expedition acquired fantastic footage of a swimming headless chicken monster just last month. They’re obviously in for a few more surprises.