Researchers recently discovered mysterious lines of holes along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean and more than a mile and a half below sea level. And no one knows what caused them.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studying an underwater mountain range in the Mid-Atlantic using a remotely operated vehicle found more than a dozen seemingly organized lines of holes punched in the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Photos from researchers posted on the government agency’s website show the dots of holes to appear to connect in nearly straight lines.
According to NOAA, the holes appear “almost human made” and “little piles of sediment around them suggest they had been excavated.” Attempts to peer into the holes and poke them with the vehicle’s tools were unsuccessful, and researchers were not able to determine if the holes were connected beneath the sediment.
The discovery was made during NOAA’s “Voyage to the Ridge 2022” — a series of three expeditions to explore and map deepwater areas of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and Azores Plateau. The ridge is the world’s longest mountain range, but because of its location beneath the surface of the ocean, it is still largely unexplored. It also sits along tectonic plates and experiences earthquakes frequently.
NOAA said the recent discoveries were not the first time scientists had come across these hole-y mysteries. Back in July 2004, an expedition along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge found several sets of the same type of holes at about 1.3 miles below the surface.
The agency took to social media to ask for theories to the origins of the holes this week, writing, “Okay Facebookers, time to get out those scientist hats!”
Hypotheses ranged from “aliens to an unknown crab species to gas rising up from below the seafloor.”
For now, the sea floor perforations — much like other strange phenomena the government studies — remain a mystery.