A team of marine scientists have discovered fascinating geological formations while diving at Lili uokalani ridge in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the Pacific Ocean.
The team of researchers was studying seamounts, underwater mountains, or geologic landforms that were formed by extinct volcanoes rising abruptly. The team was inspecting the summit of Nootka Seamount with the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus and discovered a "dried lake bed" formation that featured hyaloclastite rock.
The geological formation was described as a "yellow brick road" that leads to the mythical city of Atlantis and is a prime example of ancient volcanic geology. The 90-degree brick-like fractures were likely caused by sharp heating and cooling stress from multiple eruptions. The PNMM is located north of the Hawaiian islands and spans a whopping 583,000 square miles of ocean, making it one of the largest marine conversation areas on Earth.
"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. Scientists are studying the microbial communities residing within the ferromanganese crusts found over rock surfaces and how the characteristics of the crusts vary from region to region in ocean basins as well the microorganisms that live on and within them.
These studies will help provide baseline information on the living communities of seamounts which can inform management and conservation measures," reads the video's description.
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