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Watch: Scientists find a ‘yellow brick road’ in Pacific Ocean. How it got there

An expedition to a deep sea ridge in the Pacific Ocean has revealed an intriguing “yellow brick road” on the sea floor.

May 11, 2022 / 04:56 PM IST
Screengrab from a video shared on YouTube by EVNautilus.

Screengrab from a video shared on YouTube by EVNautilus.

An expedition to a deep sea ridge in the Pacific Ocean has revealed an intriguing “yellow brick road” on the sea floor. The strange pathway was discovered by the vessel Nautilus in an exploration funded by NOAA Ocean Exploration.

Scientists chanced upon the ‘yellow brick road’ while surveying the Liliʻuokalani ridge within Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the Pacific Ocean.

In a video shared on YouTube, one researcher was heard describing the formation as the road to the mythical city of Atlantis. Another compared it to the yellow brick road popularised by The Wizard of Oz movie. Their excitement at the discovery of the formation, which looks man made, is almost palpable.

So what is this yellow brick road and how did it end up on the ocean floor?

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According to scientists, this “incredibly unique and fascinating geological formation” is the result of ancient volcanic geology which has fractured rock in a uniform way.

“What may look like a "yellow brick road" to the mythical city of Atlantis is really an example of ancient active volcanic geology!” EVNautilus explained on YouTube.

The formation, that looks like a dried lake bed, is actually a hyaloclastite - a volcanic rock formed in high-energy eruptions where many rock fragments settle to the seabed. The reason it looks curiously uniform and brick-like is because of being “repeatedly warmed and cooled over time as further eruptions took place in the region,” IFL Science explained.

Scientists are hoping to gain more insight on life on and within ancient seamounts (underwater mountains formed by volcanic activity) through this first-of-its-kind survey.



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first published: May 11, 2022 04:56 pm
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