Don’t miss a thing by getting the Daily Star’s biggest headlines straight to your inbox!
An underwater world that looks like Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings has been discovered near Australia.
A collapsed volcano in the form of an Eye of Sauron and two other seafloor structures reminiscent of the evil realm of Mordor were found.
Scientists discovered the desolate landscape while exploring the Indian Ocean about 174 miles southeast of Christmas Island.
Sitting on top the volcano was a sinister looking eye peering out into the ocean from 10,170 feet deep.
The structure is much bigger than the all-seeing Eye of Sauron from J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy series – measuring 3.9 miles long by 3 miles wide.
At the summit is an oval rim forming the eyelids, which drops 984 feet before rising to the same height in a tall cone-shaped peak at the centre, forming the pupil.
A team of researchers discovered the structure while onboard the ocean research vessel Investigator, owned by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
They were on the 12th day of an expedition to Australia's Indian Ocean Territories when they used a multibeam sonar to create 3D maps of the caldera and the surrounding seafloor.
Australia to host 2032 Olympics as Brisbane given the nod for Games
Like other calderas, this one formed when the peak of the original volcano collapsed, according to the researchers.
"The molten magma at the base of the volcano shifts upwards, leaving empty chambers [below]," chief scientist Tim O'Hara, senior curator at Museums Victoria in Australia, wrote in The Conversation.
"The thin, solid crust on the surface of the dome then collapses, creating a large, crater-like structure."
Star Wars and Rocky hit with stricter age ratings as films 'could upset woke brigade'
The area surrounding the volcanic crater was also home to two other noteworthy structures.
"Our volcanic 'eye' was not alone," O'Hara wrote.
"Further mapping to the south revealed a smaller sea mountain covered in numerous volcanic cones, and further still to the south was a larger, flat-topped seamount."
Pirates of the Caribbean cast now – nude leaks, court battle, Katy Perry romance
The researchers named the cone-covered mountain Barad-dûr, after Sauron's main stronghold, and the seamount Ered Lithui, after the Ash Mountains.
Both of these are found alongside the Eye of Sauron in the evil realm of Mordor.
The Ered Lithui seamount is part of a cluster of seamounts thought to date back about 100 million years, O'Hara wrote.
Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless surprises fan with new unrecognisable snap
It was once above the water's surface, giving it its flat top, and it has gradually sunk to around 1.6 miles (2.6 km) below sea level.
Over millions of years, sand and sinking detritus — particulate matter, including plankton, excrement and other organic matter — have coated the seamount in a thick layer of sediment around 328 feet (100 m) deep.
But as the caldera remains relatively uncovered, it could be significantly younger, O'Hara said.
To stay up to date with all the latest news, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.
"This sedimentation rate should have smothered and partially hidden the caldera," he wrote.
It also "looks surprisingly intact for a structure that should be 100 million years old."
This freshness suggests that the volcano was created, and subsequently collapsed, after the seamount began sinking into the ocean.
"It is possible that volcanoes have continued to sprout long after the original foundation," O'Hara wrote. "Our restless Earth is never still."
- In the News
Source: Read Full Article