The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posted photos of the underwater formations on Twitter, writing:
“On Saturday’s #Okeanos dive, we saw several sublinear sets of holes in the seafloor. The origin of the holes has scientists stumped. The holes look human made, but the little piles of sediment around them suggest they were excavated by…something.
What’s YOUR hypothesis?”
On Saturday's #Okeanos dive, we saw several sublinear sets of holes in the seafloor. The origin of the holes has scientists stumped. The holes look human made, but the little piles of sediment around them suggest they were excavated by…something.
What's YOUR hypothesis? pic.twitter.com/iGezxV9TK8
— NOAA Ocean Exploration (@oceanexplorer) July 25, 2022
People were quick to share their ideas of what could be making the unusual holes, ideas that ranged from “aliens to an unknown crab species to gas rising up from below the seafloor…and more.”
Maybe a piece of pipe that was perforated and laying on the seabed. Now buried in sediment, it makes a good home for burrowing sea life?
Like this? pic.twitter.com/tYqoO7tLnA
— TheGoodDoctor (@The_GoodDoctorD) July 25, 2022
Could be extraterrestrials, relatives visiting from ancient Atlantis, UFO parking garages. Tiny size indicates an extremely advanced technology, enabling shrinking to small size in order to evade detection. Looks like we’re catching up with them though.
— rwhitlock (@rwhitlock181) July 26, 2022
In an NOAA press release, the organization explained that this wasn’t the first time these holes have been discovered.
They wrote: “In July 2004, while exploring at a depth of 2,082 meters (6,831 feet) during an expedition along the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge, scientists discovered several sets of these holes. A paper by scientists Michael Vecchione and Odd Aksel Bergstad highlights how these unusual holes point to gaps that exist in our basic understanding of mid-ocean ridge ecosystems. In the paper, the scientists address some of the hypotheses shared on social media.”
Great ideas re: origin of mysterious holes seen at 2,540 m (1.6 mi) depth during #Okeanos Voyage to the Ridge 2022! This wasn't 1st time these were seen & while scientists aren't sure how holes formed, they suspect their origin is likely biological: https://t.co/yGpbuz7phP pic.twitter.com/dOuIjPlHX9
— NOAA Ocean Exploration (@oceanexplorer) July 27, 2022
They went on to say that Vecchione and Bergstad were unable to determine the source of the holes or how they were constructed, but they did have a hypothesis. The press release explained that “the raised sediment may indicate excavation by an organism living in the sediment or digging and removal, perhaps via a feeding appendage of a large animal on the sediment surface.”
It seems that’s the best guess to date, but it’ll be interesting to see what further research reveals!