Senior Editor
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The Inertia

If you’ve been scrolling around the internet over the last few days, chances are good that you’ve seen a clip of a so-called “yellow brick road.” Found by the EV Nautilus crew on the Liliʻuokalani Ridge within Papahānaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the northwestern part of the Hawaiian Islands, it’s been touted as a possible road to Atlantis. And while that may sound like a pretty incredible find, it’s not the case.

The strange rock formation was found at the summit of the Nootka Seamount, which is part of the monument that encompasses 583,000-square-miles of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls.

The formation has been officially identified not as a road to Atlantis, but a fractured flow of hyaloclastite rock, which is basically volcanic rock formed in high-energy eruptions. “The unique 90-degree fractures are likely related to heating and cooling stress from multiple eruptions at this baked margin,” the researchers explained.

So while it may not be as exciting as an underwater yellow brick road to a mythical city, it’s still an incredibly interesting example of what the Earth is capable of producing.

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