"Fried Egg" in the bottom of Atlantic Ocean
It looks with a fried egg so much that the person who discovered it first, couldn't think of any other suitable name for this geologic formation
Located at the bottom of the Northern Atlantic Ocean, 150 kilometers from the Azores islands, near Portugal, this "Egg" left the Portuguese scientists amazed enough to be divulged at the annual meeting of the A.G.U. (American Geophysical Union). This discovery was made last year during a scientific expedition by E.M.E.P.C. (Task Group for the Extension of the Continental Shelf), while trying to revindicate that the portuguese continental platform it's beyond the 200 nautical miles, giving the right to the country of exploring the marine resources deep below, using sound probes to map the morphology of the bottom of the ocean.
With that data, high resolution maps were made of the ocean floor to be delivered to the U.N. with the proposal of the extension of the continental shelf. However, it was only after that the investigators looked at the maps with other scientific purposes and discovered the "Fried Egg", around 2000 meters beneath the surface.
Imagery has revealed a circular structure with 6 km in diameter, and at the center there was an "bump" with 3 km diameter, the "white part of the egg" it's 100 meter deeper than the surrounding area and from the base of the "white" to the top of the "yolk" it's 300 meters.
Last October, the E.M.E.P.C. team returned to the site to confirm the discovery and to dive the portuguese marine robot "Luso" ,if the weather conditions allowed. However, the dive was not possible and it was postponed until 2010, and hopefully the robot will collect rock and sediments samples for further study of this "Egg".
In the meantime, some hypothesis were already made on the origin of this strange structure, the engineer hydrographer oceanographer physicist Manuel Abreu, E.M.E.P.C. scientist in charge, states that it could be a crater made by a meteorite impact, a mud volcano, or something completely different and unknown.
The meteorite hypothesis
The structure presents some resemblances with a collision between a cosmic body and the surface of the Earth, it's common to have a elevation at the center of a impact crater caused by a meteorite. If the presence of glass is found in the crater, that would prove a meteorite impact with no more than 17 million years old, because that's the age attributed to that particular bottom ocean area. The amount of sediments at the top of the "yolk" could also be a hint on the actual age of the structure. At the moment, the E.M.E.P.C. team it's running simulations to determine the dimensions of the object to cause such a crater, if that was what happened.
The mud volcano hypothesis
There is another explanation for this structure, a formation created by geo-excreted liquids and gases, known as a mud volcano. The problem it's that all mud volcanoes known at this time haven't formed in areas with the same geological context as this "Fried Egg" is found, because the sediments layer is not thick enough to hold the fluids coming from the inside of Earth, like the case of the methane gas from the mud volcanoes, and there is not known any compression between tectonic plates in that area. The mud volcanoes have an economic interest, because it's a known alternative energy source, and if it is indeed one, it would represent a new class of this geological formations.
And to furthermore amaze the scientists, another strange and similar geological formation was found about 3 to 4 km from the "Fried Egg", shown at the right side of the above picture. The presentation of the discovery at the A.G.U. has opened the debate for the worldwide scientific community, with opinions dividing between the mud volcano and the meteorite crater theories.
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