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Baffled Scientists Explore Deep Ocean Holes

By: Andrew Zheng

On July 23, at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, along the volcanic ridge, sea explorers discovered a pattern of holes in the sand using a remotely operated vehicle. During the expedition, north of the Azores, near Portugal's mainland, a team of sea explorers saw about a dozen sets of holes resembling lines on the ocean floor at a depth of 1.6 miles.

About a week after the first discovery, there were four more sightings on the Azores Plateau, an underwater terrain where three tectonic plates meet. The holes were about a mile deep and about 300 miles away from the expedition's first initial sighting.

Around two decades ago, just about 27 miles away from the most recent expedition's first sighting, scientists saw similar holes during an exploration, reported NOAA spokeswoman Emily Crum. However, the passage of time did not provide any answers, said Michael Vecchione, an NOAA deep-sea biologist who took part in the latter expedition.

"The origin of the holes has scientists stumped," said the post on Twitter from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ocean Exploration project. "The holes look human-made, but the little piles of sediment around them suggest they were excavated by something."

"There is something important going on there, and we don't know what it is," Dr. Vecchione said. "This highlights the fact that there are still mysteries out there."

In May, experts in the NOAA are seeking answers during three expeditions known as Voyage to the Ridge 2022, which will end in September. The expeditions will take place off Newport, R.I., to the Azores, and back to Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.


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