Aliens? Crabs? Bizarre deep-sea holes baffle scientists!

Aliens might have made these holes
Close-up of the holes (NOAA Ocean Exploration)

A series of mysterious holes, laid out in a regular pattern on the mid-Atlantic seabed at a depth of 2.54km and recorded on a recent ROV dive, have set scientists scratching their heads.

The USA’s National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its partners have been conducting their Voyage to the Ridge 2022 series of three ocean exploration expeditions aboard the Okeanos Explorer since May. The expeditions, which end in September, include mapping operations and ROV dives to collect data about unexplored deepwater areas of the north Atlantic.

On the fourth dive of the second expedition, which ended on 30 July and was concentrating on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) north of the Azores and the Azores Plateau, the researchers spotted several sets of holes in the seabed sediment, arranged in neat lines. 

Aliens could have made these holes
The two red dots are laser points 10cm apart to give a sense of the size and spacing of the holes (NOAA Ocean Exploration)
Aliens? What made these holes
Note the excavated sediment – but what made this hole? (NOAA Ocean Exploration)

“While the holes look almost human-made, the little piles of sediment around them suggest they had been excavated,” reported the team. “We attempted but were not able to take a peek into the holes and poke them with the tools on the ROV.” Nor was it apparent whether the holes connected beneath the surface.

At 16,000km the MAR is the world’s longest mountain range, most of it under water, largely unexplored and subject to frequent earthquakes. It also features hydrothermal vents that can support diverse lifeforms.

Advertisement

The scientists have now appealed to members of the public who follow their expeditions on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to put forward their own ideas about how these holes formed. Responses so far have ranged from aliens to an unknown crab species to gas rising up from below the seabed and more. But why the patterns?

It turns out that scientists have come across such enigmatic holes before – 18 years ago. Several sets were spotted at a depth of 2.082km on the northern MAR in July 2004, and  prompted a report that came to no firm conclusions, though it was hypothesised that the raised sediment could indicate the action of some unknown creature. 

“The unknowns we encounter are often as deep and mysterious as the ocean itself,” comments the NOAA team. “With each expedition to map and explore ocean depths, however, we learn more about this ecosystem that is so vital to all of our lives.” The ROV dives are streamed daily between 11.45am to 10pm BST.

Also on Divernet: Yellow Brick Road Surprises Researchers, Rare Underwater Sightings In Pacific, World’s Biggest Sponge Found Off Hawaii, Deep Jelly Named – No Sample Required

LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!

Get a weekly roundup of all Divernet news and articles 🤿

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Divernet Posts

Diver Magazine Relaunch

Diver magazine needs YOU!

Are you still lamenting the demise of Diver magazine? Well now you can help resurrect an icon as we seek to bring back the magazine

For The Love Of Sharks

For The Love Of Sharks in London

Another presentation at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society later this year that’s likely to appeal to divers is “For The Love Of Sharks 2022”, an

Follow Divernet on Social Media

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x