Deep sea explorers make beautiful discovery

Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2014 Expedition..jpg

Deep-sea explorers were in for a beautiful surprise as they dove on what they thought was a sunken ship in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the explorers found a cluster of large structures at a depth of 1,900 meters following a scan in the Gulf of Mexico. The explorers thought they had found a sunken ship as they steered their remotely operated vehicle to the bottom of the ocean. Instead the team found massive rocks splayed out across the seabed in the shape of a large flower. Upon investigation, the explorers discovered the formation to be the result of an asphalt volcano. Researchers with the NOAA say that asphalt volcano eruptions are produced by the same processes that generate oil and gas but they have been transformed by geology and then altered again when it is exposed to cold seawater. The remote cameras found corals, barnacles, anemones and fish living in and around the structure. Researchers also believe that the asphalt volcanoes may be dormant at the moment, but their size suggests that there may be more material below the structure that may be squeezed up in the future.
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