Science tends to give us many joys. From finding vaccines to diseases that could kill us, such as COVID-19, although it is neither the first nor will it be the last; until the discovery of animals that seem out of movies. Now, a new find on the seabed brings us a volcano similar to the Eye of Sauron. Yes, the one that appears in The Lord of the Rings. In addition, Sauron also appears in The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. They are all JRR Tolkien books.
The discovery came as a surprise to the team exploring the Australian Indian Ocean territories, aboard the CSIRO ocean research vessel, the RV Investigator. And that’s when the underwater volcano in the shape of the Eye of Sauron appeared 280 kilometers from Christmas Island. The discovery was slow because they had to pass a multibeam sonar 3,100 meters through the area below the ship to see it in full.
The underwater volcano shaped like the ‘Eye of Sauron’
The underwater volcano is “a gigantic oval-shaped depression, called a caldera, 6.2 km by 4.8 km wide,” he explains in The Conversation. Tim O’Hara, Senior Curator of Marine Invertebrates at the Victoria Museums. “It is surrounded by a 300 m high rim (which resembles Sauron’s eyelids), and has a 300 m cone-shaped beak,” he adds.
What’s more, the volcano was not alone in the depths of the ocean. A smaller sea mountain “covered with numerous volcanic cones” also appeared on the map. A little further south of the Eye of Sauron, there was also a “larger, flat-topped seamount,” O’Hara notes. They decided to stick with the names of The Lord of the Rings and are now called Barad-dûr (“Dark Fortress”) and Ered Lithui (“Mountains of Ash”), respectively.
The Karme seamount group formed more than 100 million years ago
These three new geological features are part of the Karma seamount group. Geologists estimate that it could have formed more than 100 million years ago. At that time Australia was much closer to Antarctica than it is now.
Phil Vandenbossche & Nelson Kuna / CSIRO, Author provided
This is how it was formed
But How was the Eye of Sauron formed? O’Hara dares to explain how this peculiar cauldron was formed. “A caldera forms when a volcano collapses. Molten magma at the base of the volcano moves upward, leaving empty chambers. The thin solid crust on the surface of the dome then collapses, creating a large crater-like structure. Often a little new beak it begins to form in the center as the volcano continues to expel magma, “he says. And this is what could have shaped this peculiar underwater volcano.
In short, this underwater volcano and the two nearby mountains already have names. And not just any one, but one very geek. In the end, literature or cinema can also be good places to inspire ourselves to name our reality. The new underwater volcano called Eye of Sauron near Christmas Island is a great example of how science draws from other areas.