(ORDO NEWS) — An expedition to a deep-sea ridge north of the Hawaiian Islands uncovered an ancient, dry lakebed paved with what looks like a yellow brick road.
This eerie scene was stumbled upon by the research vessel Nautilus, which is currently surveying the Lili Ridge (Liliʻuokalani) within the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument (PMNM).
PMNM is one of the largest marine reserves in the world, larger than all national parks in the United States combined, but we’ve only explored about 3 percent of its seabed.
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 great thing is that anyone can watch the exploration.
Every day, the explorers broadcast live, and a recently posted video on YouTube captured the moment the explorers piloting a deep-sea submersible stumbled onto the road to Oz.
“This is the road to Atlantis,” one of the explorers exclaims over the radio.
“Yellow Brick Road?” another voice retorted.
“It’s weird,” another team member added.
“Are you kidding? This is crazy.”
Even though the lake is under thousands of miles of ocean, the bottom of the lake, found by researchers atop the Nootka Seamount, looks surprisingly dry. Over the radio, the team notes that the ground looks almost like a “baked crust” that can be torn off.
In one tiny area, the volcanic rock has cracks that look strikingly like bricks.
“The unique 90-degree cracks are likely related to heating and cooling from multiple eruptions at this baked edge,” the caption to the YouTube video says.
At first glance, this effect is easy to mistake for a path to a brave new world. And in a sense, this is not entirely false.
The E/V Nautilus is embarking on a journey to parts of our planet that we have never seen before. Following the brick 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.
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