Nature & Environment
Deep-sea 'Eye of Sauron' volcano discovered
By T.K. Randall
July 24, 2021 · 4 comments
The great eye sees all... Image Credit: CSIRO/MNF, GSM
Researchers have discovered an undersea volcano that looks like something out of 'The Lord of the Rings'.
Nestled 10,170ft beneath the surface of the Indian ocean approximately 174 miles southeast of Christmas Island, this intriguing geological feature is 3.9 miles long and 3 miles wide.
Known as a caldera, it is a collapsed underwater volcano surrounded by a 984ft tall rim.
While underwater calderas are not particularly unusual, this one stood out to researchers because it bears a rather uncanny resemblance to the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings
It was spotted by a team of researchers during an expedition to Australia's Indian Ocean Territories and was mapped in three dimensions using multibeam sonar.
"The molten magma at the base of the volcano shifts upwards, leaving empty chambers [below]," wrote chief scientist Tim O'Hara, senior curator at Museums Victoria in Australia.
"The thin, solid crust on the surface of the dome then collapses, creating a large, crater-like structure."
"Our volcanic 'eye' was not alone. 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."
The researchers even went so far as to name one of the cone-shaped mountains Barad-dur.
At this rate, by the time they've finished documenting the region, it will be like looking at a map of Mordor.
Source: Live Science
| Comments (4)