As recent research in the Pacific Ocean resurfaces, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), we find out that the ocean floor is indeed a mystery. A team of researchers identified something quite odd, yet intriguing, an amount of about 15,000 holes, averaging 11 meters in diameter and 1 meter in-depth, on the ocean floor.
Thousand of small, round divots shoveled out of the soft sediment, made researchers confused. It’s not clear how the holes were created, and such a phenomenon appears to be strange. The finding was made during an underwater survey that examined some features named pockmarks – significant depressions in the seafloor.
The MBARI team established their autonomous underwater machines, filled with sonar devices, for further examination. They didn’t discover any proof of methane, and they concluded that those pockmarks have been inactive for almost 50,000 years. Other results, however, indicated the existence of the mysterious holes.
The Pacific Ocean Presents Thousands of Odd Holes
The holes appeared to be too small to be identified by ship-mounted sonar, but they became noticeable after all. The team sent in remotely controlled machines (ROVs) filled with cameras for a better look. The ‘micro-depressions,’ contain ‘tails’ of sediment, which appear to be adapted in the same way in many directions.
They also contain 20 % of other things such as stones, a whale skull, and kelp holdfasts. The sediment near holes was empty. Researchers detailed, “The presence of these objects provides microhabitats for fish, that were commonly observed in ROV dives stirring up the fine-grained sediment, which is then carried away by sea-bottom currents, further contributing to carving out the eroded hole(s) left behind.”
MBARI found out that the holes are nothing like pockmarks, being morphologically distinct from them. Eve Lundsten, a MBARI marine scientist, stated, “Overall, a lot more work needs to be done to understand how all these features were formed, and this work is in progress.”