MYSTERIOUS holes drilled 1.7 miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean have stunned scientists.
Photos show that the dents, which have been punched into an otherwise flat and sandy surface, connect into clean, straight lines.
What did they find at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean?
A remotely operated underwater vehicle operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) encountered unusual perforations over the weekend.
A short series of small holes has been mysteriously found in the seabed.
The Okeanos Explorer’s crew said they looked like they were man-made, but couldn’t offer any further explanation as to how they got there.
Okeanos explores the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a largely unexplored area of seafloor that is home to a vast submerged mountain range.
“We observed several of these sublinear rows of holes in the sediment,” reported NOAA Ocean Exploration.
“These holes have previously been reported from the region, but their origin remains a mystery.”
“Although they look almost man-made, the small heaps of sediment surrounding the holes give the impression that they were . . . excavated by something.”
The July 23 dive visited the summit of an underwater volcano north of the Azores and reached a depth of 1.7 miles.
Okeanos was equipped with a remote controlled camera to safely record discoveries.
The crew mapped the seafloor and surveyed coral and sponge communities in the uncharted region.
NOAA regularly livestreams its remote vehicle dives conducted from a surface vessel.
What are the mysterious holes at the bottom of the sea?
The area where the holes were found spans the north-south stretch of the Atlantic Ocean.
The rocky terrain is the scene of frequent earthquakes and hydrothermal vents, which form when magma rises to the sea floor.
With most of the area still largely unexplored, scientists have yet to come up with an explanation.
But the agency posted photos of the discovery on social media, encouraging its followers to speculate about the origin of the holes.
“I wonder if any company might be doing seabed sampling,” one user wrote on Facebook.
“That could explain the straight lines and spacing of the holes. Especially after seeing others in the area. The only thing is that everything else around doesn’t look like it’s been disturbed.”
Another wrote: “Boost! Fresh water from a land spring bubbles up? As if there was a rock down there for the flowing water to break through in that linear fashion.”
And a third said: “Maybe some kind of crab.”
Other people jokingly suggested that the holes might have been left by aliens.
“I’m not saying it was the aliens… but it was the aliens,” read a meme shared by a Facebook user.
The most likely explanation seems to be sand falling through gaps in the underlying rock.
One user commented, “To me it looks like the sediment is falling through or water is flowing up from a crack in a geological outcrop or cave ceiling.”
“I suspect that either old coral or a sedimentary rock structure beneath it has a cavity where material is leached further away.
“I would start to see if there are any caves or deformations in the seabed.”
The Mid-Atlantic Range stretches over 10,000 miles, making it the longest mountain range in the world.
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