Amazing Underwater Discoveries
Here are some unusual underwater discoveries that taught us something interesting!Weird
The ocean’s pretty big, going over 12,000 feet deep and containing 343 quintillion gallons of water. It’s absolutely massive. As such, there’s a ton of weird things we’ve discovered in it and that’s without even mentioning all the rivers and lakes that are out there too!
So, get out your scuba gear and prepare to get soaked with knowledge as we dive into some unusual underwater discoveries that taught us something interesting.
Picture the scene: you’re on vacation, enjoying a relaxing dip in the sea. Suddenly you see a giant, glowing purple cylinder twisting through the water straight at you. You would probably immediately assume the aliens had come for you and would start swimming as fast as you could in the opposite direction.
However, you'd be wrong. The crazy-looking things in the image below aren’t aliens at all, but equally strange beings called pyrosomes, and they’re actually harmless. So harmless in fact, you can even ride them!
The crazy critters are found in the uppermost parts of warm seas. But they’re not single creatures, they’re made up from hundreds of thousands of tiny organisms called zooids that are all held together inside a vast jelly-like sheathe.
What’s more, these zooids can clone themselves, meaning that as long as the entire colony aren’t killed at once, a pyrosome can theoretically live forever. And considering they grow up to a whopping 60 feet in length, whoever first stumbled across these massive sea-dwellers must’ve been terrified.
Perhaps what’s craziest of all though is the creatures’ bioluminescent ability. By triggering a chemical reaction, pyrosomes can light up so brightly they can be seen from over 100 feet away! Sometimes, other pyrosomes even appear to light up in response.
Why do they do this exactly? We’re not entirely sure, but it’s probably to confuse and deter predators like sea turtles from getting close. So, in summary, there are giant, glowing, immortal sea blobs blobbing their way around our oceans this very second.
Message In A Bottle
One summer’s day back in June 2021, Jennifer Dowker, the owner of an aquatic adventure company, found something life changing. She was taking a potential client out on the Cheboygan River in Michigan, trying to convince him to dive with her, when an idea came to her.
Over the years, Jennifer had found all kinds of interesting things on the riverbed. Maybe if she found something really interesting right now, it would be enough to convince the guy it was worth learning to dive.
So, Jennifer dived, and almost immediately came across a small green bottle half buried in the mud. Noticing there was something inside it, she brought the bottle back to the surface, dried off, and checked out the contents.
Incredibly, there was a note in there, and it dated all the way back to 1926! Addressed from a man called George Morrow, the message contained a request, for whomever found it to return it to him. Honoring the request, Jennifer posted on Facebook to see if anyone knew the man. And the post blew up.
Thousands of likes, comments, and shares later, somebody finally came forward claiming they knew George’s daughter and connected Jennifer with her. Her name is Michele Primeau, and she told Jennifer all about her father.
Apparently, he was a very sentimental man and would often make and send out things like messages in bottles. He’d probably written the one in question around his 18th birthday. But she’d never expected one to actually turn up again, never mind nearly 100 years after it was written!
What’s more, the whole thing happened on Father’s Day weekend, 27 years after George’s passing. It was almost like he was reaching out one last time. Michele let Jennifer keep the note as memorabilia, and today it’s framed proudly on her boat, eternalizing George’s memory.
Some time ago, in the year 1944, an Estonian boy was walking through the forest outside his home when he noticed something very odd. There were huge, rectangular tracks in the mud. Deciding to follow the strange trail, the boy eventually came to a lake that the tracks led into.
Suspiciously, there were air bubbles appearing at the water’s surface just in front of him. With little more than a slight suspicion of the connection between the bubbles and the tracks, the boy shrugged, and forgot about it, for years.
That was, until 2000, when he remembered the strange event again! This time, he went to the local war history club and aired his suspicions to its members. They heard what he had to say, then got up and followed him to the lake to investigate.
Without actually going in though, it was impossible to be sure what had been causing the bubbles all those years ago. So, a couple of the club’s members got their scuba gear on and took a dive to find out. They discovered an entire tank down there! Not just any old tank either, a Soviet-built, World War II era T34/76 tank.
Because of how incredibly rare these tanks are, there was no question it had to be retrieved. But how do you go about getting a 27-ton war machine from almost 10 ft of mud under more than 22 ft of water? Using a 68-ton bulldozer of course!
The team attached ropes between the tank and bulldozer, but even then, the vehicle couldn’t do all the work on its own. So, for the next six back breaking hours they tugged and heaved, until eventually the metal beast emerged from its 56-year slumber.
Remarkably, it was in fantastic condition, immaculately preserved thanks to all the mud! It turns out that during a battle, the Soviet tank had been captured by the Germans, so it likely fought for both sides at different times.
Then, at some point in the war, it either slipped into the lake accidentally or was driven into it on purpose to conceal its location. Either way, one thing’s for sure, those historians were very tankful for its recovery!
Over Par, Underwater
Unfortunately, a lot of golf courses are built by the coast, so there are certainly a few golf balls knocking around on the ocean floor. In fact, when Alex Weber and her dad Mike Weber were freediving along the central coast of California in early 2016, they found 2,000 of them.
Disgusted at all this plastic pollution, Alex recruited the help of her long-time friend Jack Johnston to get rid of them all. But despite a full day of collecting, there seemed to be no end to the little white balls. Undeterred, they continued to dive down and pick up the waste, day in, day out.
Over time, they graduated from just picking up balls, and began to study the local ecology too, mapping the underwater locales, naming the coves and crannies, and understanding the water currents. All this gave them a greater grasp of the huge problem pollution presents to our oceans.
Never mind everything else, golf balls on their own could absorb a chemical called dimethyl sulfide, which many animals associate with food. Yet, by September 2018, Alex and Jack had recovered a whopping 50,000 of them. Now, they work tirelessly to inform people of their findings and spread their anti-pollution message.
The Real Atlantis
Everybody’s heard of the mythical underwater city of Atlantis. But did you know that deep beneath the ocean, in Egypt’s Abu Qir Bay, lies an astonishing real-life Atlantis? And it’s cooler than you can imagine.
Back in 1933, a British RAF pilot flying over the area noticed what looked like ruins under the water. It wasn’t until decades later however, in 2000, that a team of archeologists dived down to explore, and found one of the most amazing historical discoveries of recent times.
Huge, 16-foot statues protruded from the ocean floor; smaller figures seemingly depicting gods littered the rocks below; and steles with ancient hieroglyphics on them told of tales long forgotten. There were even the remains of a monolithic chapel.
Built by the ancient Egyptians in the 12th century BC, the vast city went by two names: the Greek, Heracleion, and the Egyptian, Thonis. Originally, it stood proudly on land, serving as a vibrant trading hub due to its close proximity to the water, which allowed for easy access by boat.
People came from all over to visit its grand temples and explore the buzzing markets. Helen of Troy was even said to have visited before the Trojan War began! But over time earthquakes, tsunamis, and rising sea levels weakened the foundations that the legendary city was built upon.
Eventually, sometime in the 2nd century BC, things got so bad that buildings began to collapse into the water. 1,000 years later, in the 8th century AD, Thonis was all but gone, consumed by the ocean that had once made it a success. But with its rediscovery in 2000, its legend is sure to live forever!
Off The Rails
Back in 1985, boat captain and all-round adventurer Paul Hepler was diving off the coast of New Jersey when he found something very strange on the ocean floor. Sat perfectly upright on the seabed, 90 feet below the surface, were two ancient-looking trains!
Paul was astounded, and even more so when he figured out the locomotives were both Planet Class 2-2-2 T models. In other words, some of the oldest steam trains ever built in the United States! Dating all the way back to the mid-19th century, these trains were only produced for a very short time, making them exceedingly rare.
What were they doing down at the bottom of the sea? Well, oddly enough, nobody knows. There are no records of them being lost, or even that they ever existed in the first place.
Some experts reckon the locomotives were being transported across the ocean on a barge when they hit a violent storm. This storm may have knocked the engines off the ship, plummeting them to their deep, wet resting place.
Evans Baudin is the daredevil French photographer who took the incredible, albeit terrifying, pic below. While diving off the coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico, Evans saw the beast approaching and took his opportunity.
But what is it? Well, it isn’t just one thing, it’s actually a whole host of creatures! The biggest of which is a whale shark, the largest of all fish, and capable of reaching over 60 feet in length! As such, whale sharks have absolutely massive mouths, and just as Evans took his pic, this whale shark opened its gigantic jaws.
Those things inside its mouth aren’t teeth though. Its chomper is actually chock-full of fish! But considering whale sharks don’t eat fish, what’s going on? These fish are remora, and they’re known to use sharks’ mouths to catch a ride!
In doing so, the remora not only protect themselves from predators, but also get to feast off parasites living inside the shark. So, both whale shark and remora stand to gain from the relationship, something called mutualistic symbiosis.
Back in 2020, computing giant Microsoft recovered a strange cylindrical object from the ocean floor off Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The huge cylinder was made of metal and needed a whole assortment of heavy machinery to hoist it up from its deep abode. So, why were Microsoft so interested in this big heap of junk?
Well, the company hadn’t so much discovered the object than rediscovered it. You see, two years earlier, they were the ones that had put it down there in the first place! It’s actually a data center, which are the things responsible for supplying you with internet.
Basically, data centers consist of a ton of computers, all sending and receiving data. Without these babies, you’d be lost, and I wouldn’t have a job. Usually, they’re found on land, however, there, the computers are susceptible to temperature fluctuations, bumps, jostles, and corrosion from oxygen and humidity.
All of these things damage the data center, affecting your precious internet and being a general pain in the proverbial. The solution? You guessed it; pack the computers up into a deoxygenated container and dunk that bad boy deep under the sea! That way, it’ll be protected from all those issues.
Plus, over half the world’s population lives within 120 miles of the coast. In data distance, that’s not very far, meaning they’d all be getting super-smooth web surfing, video streaming, and game playing.
Why the heck were Microsoft removing the datacenter then? Well, it was just a test for now to see if the idea was viable and it was a very successful one. So, in the future we could see all our datacenters getting dunked.
I think we’ve established by now that there are some very weird things lurking below the world’s waters. But did you know that some of the most isolated parts of the ocean harbor things much, much creepier than anything we’ve seen so far?
And that’s partly because you can’t see them but you sure can hear them. Like this freaky sound in the clip below, which comes from somewhere between New Zealand and South America:
That’s a pretty spooky series of upsweeping tones, and they’re even spookier because scientists aren’t sure what causes them! They reckon it could be underwater volcanic activity, caused by magma bursts. But without confirmation, it could also be something much freakier.
And check out the sound in the video below too, coming from the Ross Sea:
Although it sounds like a ghost train, scientists think it’s more likely to be the result of an iceberg. I know what you’re thinking; icebergs don’t go around making spooky choo-choo noises. But you should know none of these sounds are at a high enough frequency for the human ear to hear without using specialist equipment.
So, both the sound from between New Zealand and South America, and the iceberg sound we just heard, have actually been sped up between 16 and 20 times their natural frequency just to make them audible for our measly human ears!
Therefore, the iceberg isn’t exactly shouting at the top of its voice; as icebergs drift and grind against one another in the water, they produce ultra-low frequency vibrations. These, sped up, are what we hear on the recording!
High To Low
It’s common knowledge that Apollo 11 was the first spaceship to send man to the moon back in 1969. But did you know that when it launched, two of its engines broke off mid-flight? In fact, they were supposed to.
A second set of engines were used for the flight home. When the first set fell off though, they crashed into the Atlantic Ocean at a blazing 5,000mph, then drifted almost three miles down to the seafloor.
The engines lay there undisturbed for over four decades, until in 2013, billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos decided he wanted to pull them out. Because if you’re interested in space and happen to be a billionaire, why not.
The location of the engines was pin-pointed, and an elite team of 60 professionals pulled together to complete the mission. It was on. They went out to sea, got to the right spot, and dove over 14,000 feet in search of the elusive objects. And sure enough, the engines were there! Though corroded and looking more akin to a crashed UFO, it was definitely them.
So, with the aid of some high-tech remote operated vehicles, the team got to work. Piece by piece, they recovered the old engine parts, and finally, after three long weeks, the operation was a success. Now, they’re on display in the Museum of Flight in Seattle, where you can go see them for yourself!
When New Zealander Michael Johnston was out taking his dogs for a swim in the local river back in 2019, he had no idea he was about to stumble across a real-life portal to the past. It's not a Rick and Morty style portal or anything, but about as close as we can get.
Hidden beneath the water’s surface, he found the fossilized footprints of the Moa bird, which has been extinct for some 600 years!
At an impressive 12 inches long, there’s no doubt they belong to the ancient bird, which could grow to over twice the height of an average human being. The mummified claw in the image below gives a clue on just how terrifying they’d have been up close.
What’s more, these particular prints aren’t just hundreds of years old, they’re millions of years old! Moas lived in New Zealand for over 60 million years, and it seems to be the only place they ever lived. Which makes sense, considering they’re the only completely wingless bird there’s any evidence for.
They didn’t have wings so they weren’t leaving New Zealand anytime soon. Despite the birds thriving for millions of years, when the Māori people settled on New Zealand around the 13th century AD, they hunted the moa to extinction within a century.
Unless you’ve been living in a pineapple under the sea your whole life, you’ve probably heard of SpongeBob SquarePants, the classic children’s cartoon. The two main characters are SpongeBob, a sponge, and Patrick, his lovable starfish sidekick.
But did you know the show is actually a documentary? So maybe not quite. But it could be, just look at these two dudes in the image below, discovered off the East Coast of the United States, over a mile below the ocean’s surface.
Do they look familiar at all to you? It’s your favorite cartoon duo, only they’ve swapped Bikini Bottom for a lump of volcanic rock. This version of SpongeBob is actually a yellow glass sponge, which can live up to a whopping 15,000 years! And Patrick’s actually a Chondraster starfish, of which very little is known.
What we do know though, is the cartoon characters’ real-life counterparts have a much less friendly relationship. In fact, lots of sea sponges eat creatures like starfish. So rather than chilling as buddies, real-life SpongeBob’s probably on his way to devour Patrick, limb by limb.
The seas are full of amazing, beautiful creatures that are utterly harmless to us. But they’re not the only things dwelling in its depths. Dare to swim in some parts of the ocean, like the waters off Hawaii, and you might find yourself face to face with one of the little devils below.
It looks pretty harmless, right? Wrong. These guys aren’t just fish, they’re cookie cutter sharks, but they don’t get their name because they like cookies. Despite their small size, cookie cutters prey on animals far bigger than themselves. How?
First, they latch onto them with their sucker-like lips. Then, they dig rows of razor-sharp teeth into them. Finally, with one swift spinning movement, the fish rip a perfectly circular chunk of flesh from whichever unfortunate creature they’ve come across.
And there have been multiple times when that unfortunate creature has been a human! If you weren’t already terrified of these things though, you'll be now. It’s not just flesh they’ve been known to take chunks out of, they’ve ripped off parts of nuclear submarines too!
Sure, they only go for the softer parts, like electrical cables and rubber sonar domes, but sonar is how the subs navigate! So, these tiny terrors have effectively blinded submarines thousands of times bigger than them and forced them back to base for repairs.
Thank God they’re so small. Imagine if they were even a tenth of the size of the subs; they wouldn’t stand a chance! Making cookies will never feel wholesome again.
If you were amazed at these underwater discoveries, you might want to explore more incredible discoveries here. Thanks for reading!