Researchers have discovered an underwater landscape that was created millions of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions.
The jagged peaks are reminiscent of Middle Earth's Mordor in the Lord of The Rings trilogy.
Hidden For Millions Of Years
The University of Adelaide and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, a research team from the University of Aberdeen, used cutting-edge technology in order to bring to life the features of an underwater landscape. Using 3D seismic reflection, they were able to map and measure the structures that were created 35 million years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions.
In total, the team found 26 ancient lava flows measuring up to 15 kilometers in width and 34 kilometers in height along with volcanoes that measure up to 625 meters or about 2,000 feet high. These underwater features have not been previously studied, and have remained hidden from sight for millions of years.
It has been relatively more difficult to study submarine volcanoes simply because of their inaccessibility. Thanks to the new technique that the researchers used, however, there is now a chance to explore the submarine volcanism further.
Interestingly, researchers note that the technology that they used is actually similar to the technology used to capture ultrasound images of babies.Because of it, researchers were able to see the terrain and observed features similar to "kipukas" on land. Kipukas are elevated landforms, which become encircled or surrounded by lava after an eruption.
Such a feature has never been observed in previous data before, so the technique truly does give researchers a new way of looking at submarine volcanism. Perhaps with the new technology, researchers could give more peeks into "secret worlds" that have been hidden away for millions of years.
'Mordor Under The Sea'
One of the observations on the terrain is that it looks quite like Mordor from the Lord of the Rings. In particular, the undersea landscape shares the same dangerous-looking terrain with its jagged peaks and outcrops.
Although Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, and Gollum/Smeagol are the ones who truly made their way into the perilous terrains of Mordor just to destroy the One Ring, there is now a peek at a real version of Mordor, albeit an underwater wonder.
"By using data acquired as part of oil exploration efforts, we have been able to map these ancient lava flows in unprecedented detail, revealing a spectacular volcanic landscape that bring to mind illustrations from Lord of the Rings," said Dr. Nick Schofield of the University of Aberdeen's School of Geosciences, co-author of the study.
Who knows? Perhaps next time, it would be the rolling hills of the Shire.
The study is published in the American Geophysical Union.