An ancient dried-up lake bed with what appears to be a yellow brick road has been discovered during an expedition to a deep-sea ridge just north of the Hawaiian Islands.
The mysterious scene was stumbled upon earlier this year by the exploration ship Nautilus as it surveyed the Lili’uokalani ridge within Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument (PMNM).
Even though we have only explored about 3% of PMNM’s seafloor, it is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world, bigger than all of the national parks in the US put together.
The best part is that anyone can watch the exploration being conducted by researchers at the Ocean Exploration Trust as they push the boundaries of this wilderness, which is located more than 3,000 meters below the waves.
The moment that researchers operating the deep-sea vehicle stumbled upon the road to Oz is captured in a highlight reel of the expedition’s video that was uploaded to YouTube in April 2022.
On the radio, a researcher can be heard saying, “It’s the road to Atlantis.”
Then another voice retorted, “The yellow brick road.”
Another team member concurred, calling the situation “bizarre.”
“Are you serious? This is absurd.”
The lake bed that scientists found on the summit of the Nootka seamount appears to be dry despite being buried beneath about 1,000 meters of water.
The team remarks over the radio that the ground resembles “baked crust” that could be peeled off.
The volcanic rock has fractured in one tiny area in a way that remarkably resembles bricks.
The YouTube video’s caption states that the “unique 90-degree fractures are probably related to heating and cooling stress from multiple eruptions at this baked margin.”
The effect can be mistaken for a way to a fantastic new world at first glance. And in a way, that isn’t entirely incorrect.
We are on the right track if we continue down the brick road and may soon discover much more about the Earth’s hidden geology.