By: April Carson
An ancient dried-out lake bed paved with what appears to be a yellow brick road was discovered during an expedition north of the Hawaiian Islands.
The researchers were dumbfounded by the discovery, as it is far from any known civilization. The team speculated that the bricks may have been part of an ancient trading route between Polynesia and North America.
The exploration ship Nautilus, which is currently examining the Lili'uokalani Ridge within Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM), came upon the spooky sight.
"It looked like a yellow brick road leading to Oz," said one of the expedition's scientists, Dr. Kelley Elliott, in a statement.
We've only seen 3% of the seafloor within PMNM, which is one of the world's largest marine conservation areas, larger than all the national parks in the United States combined.
That means there's a lot more hidden marine life and geological features yet to be discovered within its waters.
The best thing about exploring the Mariana Trench is that it's open to anybody. The Ocean Exploration Trust is pushing the boundaries of this untouched wilderness, which lies approximately 3,000 meters beneath the waves, and watching it is free.
Researchers provide live video 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A recently published highlight reel on YouTube captures the moment researchers operating the deep-sea vehicle stumbled upon the road to Oz.
"What the heck is that?" one researcher exclaims as the bright yellow path comes into view.
"It's the road to Atlantis," a voice on the radio can be heard shouting.
"The yellow brick road?" a second voice retorted.
"This is absolutely strange," said another member of the team.
Despite being submerged beneath a thousand meters of water, the lake bed discovered by scientists on Nootka Seamount's peak appears surprisingly dry. The team reports that the ground appears to be nearly "baked crust" that may be peeled off.
The region of fractured volcanic rock in one tiny area appears to closely mimic bricks.
"It looks like a road, or a path of some sort," one researcher said.
But what could this path mean? How did it get here? Scientists can only speculate for now.
A YouTube video stated that the odd 90-degree fractures are "most likely" linked to heating and cooling strain caused by many eruptions at this baked margin.
The strange discovery was made during a scientific expedition to study deep-sea hydrothermal vents. While these vents are often found near oceanic volcanic ridges, the one discovered on Nootka Seamount is located far from any plate boundaries.
At first sight, the effect appears to be a gateway to a marvelous new realm. And in some respects, it's not entirely incorrect.
This deep-sea vent, dubbed the "Yellow Brick Road" by researchers, is unlike any other hydrothermal vent system discovered to date. It's massive in scale and sports an eerie, almost neon yellow color.
E/V Nautilus is leading us on a journey to places on our planet we've never seen before. Following the brick road is a good sign that we're on the correct track and could learn a lot more about Earth's hidden geology in the near future.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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