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11th May 2022

Mysterious ‘Road to Atlantis’ spotted in unexplored part of ocean, say scientists

Simon Bland

‘This is crazy’ exclaimed one researcher in a recently released YouTube clip

Ocean researchers were delighted to spot something mysterious lurking on the sea floor in a little-explored part of the Pacific Ocean during a recent trip to the briny deep – quickly suggesting it was the “road to Atlantis”.

Back in April, a group of deep-diving oceanographers boarded the EV Nautilus research vessel and set off to explore the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM). Unfamiliar with this particular under water spot? It’s a marine conservation area in the North Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, just three per cent of which has actually been explored and mapped.

However with the help of this project from the Ocean Exploration Trust – itself part of a wider Luʻuaeaahikiikekumu (Luʻu-a-ea-a-hiki-i-ke-kumu) expedition – all that could soon change.

The three-person team, which consists of scientists Beth Orcutt and Valerie Finlayson and expedition leader Dwight Coleman, have been live-streaming their trip and its findings 24/7 since they began – and during a moment captured just last week, they stumbled onto something fishy.

As you can see in the video clip uploaded onto the official EVNautilus YouTube page, the team seem to have discovered what looks like a short cobbled pathway on the ocean floor. In fact, the area’s distinctive 90 degree fractures and geological patterns made it look kind of like a road – not something you’d expect to see so far below sea level.

Voices on the video were quick to chime in, with one excitedly claiming that “it’s the road to Atlantis,” before another commented on the fact that the find was a really “unique structure”.

“Are you kidding me? This is crazy,” said a third voice, while another added that “this is the yellow brick road,” – presumably to Atlantis, the mythical undersea Kingdom and home of sea God and best mate to the fishes, Poseidon.

Of course, this isn’t actually a mythical undersea kingdom and home of the sea God Poseidon. It isn’t even home to Ariel from The Little Mermaid. As the YouTube video’s caption goes on to explain, the most likely explanation for this unusual sighting is volcanic rock that has changed its appearance due to multiple years of heating and cooling.

Upon closer inspection, the researchers discovered that this “road to Atlantis” was found near the summit of Nootka Seamount – an underwater mountain that was formed thanks to submerged volcanic activity.

Ah well. While we may not have a legit reason to go out and buy a plastic trident and crown and head to the nearest beach, at least we all now know a little more about one of the most under-explored areas on the planet.

“Our exploration of this never-before-surveyed area is helping researchers take a deeper look at life on and within the rocky slopes of these deep, ancient seamounts,” continued the video’s caption, highlighting the eye-opening work that’s helping us better understand this underwater alien world.

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