Scientists have discovered a series of mysterious holes at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and asked internet users to share their theories about how these holes formed.
On Facebook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) posted photos of the underwater formation. They said “perfectly aligned” holes were discovered on Saturday, but had previously been reported from the region. They found the unique notches as part of the “Voyage to the Ridge 2022” – the three telepresence-enabled ocean exploration expeditions on the NOAA ship Okeanos Explorer.
Take a look at the images below:
“During Saturday’s #Okeanos dive, we observed several of these sublinear holes in the sediment. These holes have been previously reported from the region, but their origin remains a mystery,” NOAA said on social media.
“Although they look almost man-made, the small piles of sediment around the holes make it look like they were excavated by … something,” it added, further asking Facebookers for their “hypotheses.”
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The fun challenge generated a lot of reactions. One person wrote, “I’m not saying they’re aliens, but they’re aliens.” Another suggested they are “tiny cracks” through which gases can escape. “It somewhat resembles sand eruptions that occur during earthquakes,” the user wrote.
A third said: “This seems to me like sediment falling through, or water flowing up from a fissure in a geological shelf or the roof of a cave.” “A previously unknown species of crab that hides in rectangular holes and hunts in linear packs, waiting for prey to fall into their claws,” noted the fourth.
During Saturday’s dive, scientists examined the ocean floor at a depth of about 2 miles (3 km) while visiting the summit of an underwater volcano north of the Azores – near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The discovery was made during the Okeanos ship’s Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition, during which scientists explore and map the poorly understood deepwater regions.
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In a press release, NOAA said the researchers are unable to determine with certainty the source of the holes or how they were constructed. But they have hypothesized that the holes could indicate excavation by an organism living in the sediment or digging and removal, perhaps via a feeding appendage of large animals on the sediment surface.
“The ultimate origin of the holes still remains a mystery,” the federal organization concluded.