Researchers exploring the depths of the Atlantic Ocean’s floor have come across a line of strange holes that have left scientists baffled over their explanation.
The July 23 photos from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have left experts asking its Facebook audience for theories to account for the strange phenomenon.
“On Saturday’s #Okeanos dive, we observed several of these sublinear sets of holes in the sediment. These holes have been previously reported from the region, but their origin remains a mystery,” the NOAA’s Facebook page wrote.
“While they look almost human made, the little piles of sediment around the holes make them seem like they were excavated by…something,” it added. “What’s YOUR hypothesis?”
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The camera images were taken 1.7 miles below sea level while observing an underwater volcano near the Azores. The remotely operated camera picked up the unexpected sighting that continues to drive speculation regarding their origin.
The Miami Herald reported that the discovery of the lines first occurred in the NOAA’s Voyage to the Ridge 2022 expedition that sought to map the deepwater areas “of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and Azores Plateau.”
“The majority of it sits underwater and thus much of it remains largely unexplored. With active tectonic spreading, the MAR is the site of frequent earthquakes,” NOAA reports.
“Hydrothermal vents may form where magma provides heat as it rises to the seafloor. These vents are known to support diverse chemosynthetic communities. However, little is known about life at these sites once vents go extinct, or what life lies beyond the vents, further away from the rift zone,” it added.
The NOAA’s first public image of the holes from 2022 explained that “we observed several of these sublinear sets of holes in the sediment. These holes have been previously reported from the region, but their origin remains a mystery.”
Comments on the agency’s Facebook post offered a variety of explanations to account for the mysterious line of holes.
“Is that an object or animal inside the holes? Does that line run in the same direction as the current?” Anthony Narehood asked.
“Water from underground springs?” Mike Weathersby wrote.
Others speculated the markings were human-made, referring to past exploration.
“I wonder if some company may be conducting sea floor samples,” Ralph Styer mentioned. “That might explain the straight lines and the spacing of the holes. Especially if you have seen others in the region. Only thing is, everything else around it doesn’t seem like it’s been disturbed.”
Despite numerous theories, researchers have yet to explain the sea holes and their intriguing order. Human activity is unlikely, as the surrounding area appears untouched, and NOAA would be among the only research group with access to the deepest reaches of the Atlantic Ocean’s sea floor.
“There are large unexplored ocean areas, and there is an enormous amount we do not know about them. We actually know more about the moon than the seafloor,” said Steinar Ellefmo, an Associate Professor in the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Geology and Mineral Resources Engineering.