It’s amazing to realize that while 6 out of every 7 square miles of the Earth’s surface is covered in water; we’ve barely explored any of that water in great detail. We know more about the moon than we do about the oceans and seas that wash our planet clean.
That, in turn, leads to some amazing discoveries in the water. Both man, animals, and fish have left a lasting impression beneath the surface of the waves. Here are 18 underwater discoveries too bizarre to believe:
18. The Silfra Rift
The Silfra Rift is the zone that separates the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia. In itself that might not be too interesting, though the fact that the water is freshwater and not seawater is unusual. However, what makes the Silfra Rift fascinating is the incredible view offered as the plates drift 2 cm further apart each and every year.
17. A Dornier 17
The Dornier 17 was a bomber which was part of the German air force back in World War II. Its biggest contribution to the war effort came during the Battle of Britain. The last Dornier 17 was decommissioned in Finland in 1952 and it was thought that there were no remaining planes of this type anywhere in the world – until divers found one on Goodwin Sands in the UK. £600,000 later – the plane is now in a museum undergoing restoration and will be the only one of its kind in the world.
16. The Baltic Sea Anomaly
If you like your mysteries focused on extra-terrestrials then The Baltic Sea Anomaly is for you. It’s 60 meters across, about 4 meters deep and rests on an 8-meter tall pillar. Nobody knows what it is but there are reports that electronic equipment fails when it comes into close proximity – leading to speculation that it’s a drowned UFO.
15. The Ghost Fleet
The Ghost Fleet must be a terrifying sight for unprepared divers. It consists of more than 40 destroyed vehicles from World War II. It lays in the middle of the Pacific near in Chuuk Lagoon which is an atoll protected by a reef. Chuuk Lagoon was the main base of the Japanese navy in the South Pacific Theatre and in 1944 much of its naval capacity was destroyed by American-led bombing raids.
14. The City of Pavlopetri
If you thought that Atlantis was a myth; you’d be right (at least to the best of our current knowledge) but it’s places like Pavlopetri that fuel the rumors. This Greek city was claimed by the waves a long time ago about 2,800 BCE, to be precise, and is in remarkable good condition given the exposure to the water. It was rediscovered in 1967 and has been fully mapped since.
13. The Mystery Circle of the Pacific
Yoji Ookata, a Japanese diver with a penchant for underwater photography, was diving off the coast of Southern Japan when he came across a bunch of sand patterns 80 meters below sea level. The “Mystery Circle” was given its name by a television crew following in Yoji’s footsteps. Where do they come from? It’s a byproduct of the Japanese Puffer fish’s reproductive rituals and is designed to protect its eggs from predators.
12. Two Steam Trains
Closer to home, Paul Hepler in 1985 was surveying the ocean bed new New Jersey when he discovered two very large metal items. It took a couple of dives to determine that these were two steam engines and each was about 28 meters long. What’s really peculiar is that no-one knows how they got there or even where they were built. There are plans afoot to bring them up the surface for restoration.
11. An Underwater River in a Sea
The world’s sixth largest river appears to be flowing along the bottom of the Black Sea! That’s not the strangest part; the river has trees growing in it and waterfalls cascading down certain parts of its length. There are many other suspected undersea rivers but the Black Sea Undersea River was the first confirmed river of its type in the world.
10. The SS Mahratta – Twice Over
The original SS Mahratta ran aground in 1907 on Goodwin Sands off the coast of Kent in the UK. Thirty-two years later her successor, also the SS Mahratta, ran aground on Goodwin Sands. What’s even more peculiar is that both ships were on the same route to Calcutta when they sank. Divers would later discover both with the second resting on top of the first.
9. The Legendary Lost City of Heracleion
1,200 years before the common era the city of Hearcleion stood as the gateway to Egypt and protect the power of the Pharoahs. In the 6th or 7th century of the common era, the city fell under an onslaught of tidal waves, earthquakes, and floods and was sunk to the seabed forever more. It was found in 2000 when a French archaeologist was diving near Alexandria.
8. Loki’s Castle
If you’ve ever wondered how Yellowstone Park would be if it was buried under the waves; then Loki’s Castle is your answer. It’s a region of extreme hydrothermal activity near Greenland and hosts 5 active vents. Apart from looking spectacular, it’s also home to unique creatures which are able to thrive in the 320-degree heat of the vents.
7. The Lost City of Dwarka
The Indian Navy working with archaeological experts turned up a real surprise; the mythical city of Dwarka. The myth of Dwarka is nearly 12,000 years old! It was believed to have been created by Lord Krishna and was said to have been his seat of power. At some point in its history – it was reclaimed by the sea and now lurks beneath the waves.
6. Not The Sphinx But A Sphinx
Divers off the coast of the Bahamas had a bit of a surprise when they unearthed a 2,500-year-old sphinx. It’s thought to have come from Egypt but is a mystery because it’s widely understood that Egyptians were poor sailors and never traveled far from shore. The ship it was carried on is too badly wrecked to gain much further insight into its origins.
5. Mu, Possibly
In 1987 near Yonguani a diver called Kihachiro Aratake discovered what appears to be the Lost Continent of Mu. However, despite the amazing find – not everyone in the field of science agrees that it IS the lost continent. Whichever way the debate turns out; there’s no disagreement that this is a seriously impressive find with an amphitheater composed of huge stone blocks as its crowning glory.
4. The 6 Mahabalipuram Pagodas
Quite a few historians have argued that 6 of the 7 fabled Mahabalipuram Pagodas were simply folk tales and that the one which has always been on land was the only one. Then in 2004 India found itself on the tail end of the tsunami that wreaked havoc across Asia and when the water receded – there were the pagodas. Divers now regularly visit the wreckage.
3. Ice Fingers
Ice Fingers look incredibly attractive but they spell doom for unwary sea creatures. They’re an unusual occurrence which takes place around the poles and is essentially created by cold sinking saltwater which is much heavier than the water around it. They’re also very, very cold and anything caught in the formation will normally freeze to death.
2. A Pyramid
Off the coast of the Azores in Portugal, a yachtsman found something unusual on his sonar when diver went to investigate they discovered a giant pyramid. Its base is more than 8000 square meters and it’s more than 60 meters tall. It’s not clear whether the structure was constructed or is natural but either way it hasn’t stopped people from speculating that it’s the return of the mythical city of Atlantis.
1. The Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Despite its spectacular appearance, it’s a relatively well-understood phenomenon – a sinkhole. It’s more than 300 meters wide and more than 120 meters deep. It can be found near the Belize Barrier Reef and is considered to be a modern natural wonder by those who have been fortunate enough to see it.