Scientists find a ‘Yellow Brick Road’ in a place never seen before in the Pacific: ScienceAlert

Scientists find a ‘Yellow Brick Road’ in a place never seen before in the Pacific: ScienceAlert

Scientists find a ‘Yellow Brick Road’ in a place never seen before in the Pacific: ScienceAlert

An expedition to a pelagic ridge just north of the Hawaiian Islands has revealed an ancient, dried-up lake bed paved with what appears to be a yellow stone road.

The eerie scene was discovered earlier this year by the scout ship Nautilus as it entered the Lili’uokalani ridge Papahānaumokuākea Naval National Monument (OSS).

PMNM is one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, larger than all of the national parks in the United States combined, and we’ve only explored about 3 percent of the sea floor.

Researchers from the Ocean Exploration Trust are pushing the boundaries of this wilderness, which lies more than 3,000 meters below the waves, and the best part is that everyone can follow the exploration.

A highlight role of the footage from the expedition published on YouTube in April 2022 captures the moment when researchers piloting the deep-sea vehicle stumbled upon the road to Oz.

“It’s the road to Atlantis,” you hear a researcher exclaim over the radio.

“The yellow stones gone?” objected another voice.

“This is bizarre,” another member of the team added.

‘Are you kidding me? This is awesome.’

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Despite being under about a thousand feet of ocean, the bottom of the lake discovered by researchers at the top of the Nootka Seamount looks surprisingly dry.

On the radio, the team notes that the soil almost looks like “baked crust” that can be peeled off.

In a small section, the volcanic rock has fractured in a way remarkably similar to bricks.

“The unique 90-degree fractures are likely related to heating and cooling stress from multiple eruptions at this baked edge,” is reading a caption to the YouTube video.

At first glance, the effect is easily mistaken for a path to a beautiful new world. And in a sense, that’s not entirely wrong.

Following the stone road is a sign that we are moving in the right direction and will soon be able to learn much more about the hidden geology of the Earth.

You can read more about the E/V Nautilus Expedition in 2022 here.

A version of this article was first published in May 2022.



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