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Scientists searching for shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico found something else instead

Scientists Discover Rare Asphalt Volcano

Scientists searching for shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico instead found something they say no one has ever seen before.

The researchers from Texas A&M's Galveston branch had already found three shipwrecks roughly 175 miles off the coast. So they sent two remote-controlled vehicles to investigate what they believed was a fourth. But it wasn't quite what they expected.

KHOU reports, "So this is a very substantial asphalt volcanic structure ... a volcano of asphalt. Tar shooting from beneath the floor of the gulf, solidifying as it hits the near freezing water."

Researchers have nicknamed the structure "Tar Lily." It measures 20 feet in diameter and about 10 feet at its highest point.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Although the asphalt volcano appears to be dormant for the moment, the size of the extrusions suggests that there may be more asphalt below that might get squeezed out in the future."

As for the shipwrecks, researchers a Texas A&M believe they likely sank together in a storm.

Researchers have found a variety of artifacts on the early 19th century vessels, including "navigational equipment, muskets, cannons, roles of suspected hides, tallow and even medicinal supplies like ginger used to treat sea sickness."

The age of the volcano is unknown, although colonies of coral growing on it suggest it's at least 100 years old.

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lgvxl42 April 30 2014 at 10:03 PM

............Let me guess! They found that air plane...........

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baggersrnutz April 30 2014 at 6:38 PM

That could explain what The Florida Volcano was ! Not that one of course, but Florida had a column of smoke that rose from inside a impenetrable swamp. One day it quit no one was ever able to find it.

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PATRICE April 30 2014 at 6:33 PM

Looks like lava flow coming from a fault line in the ocean. It had solidified into this masses, around it.

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1 reply
gramargo PATRICE April 30 2014 at 7:40 PM

The deeper you go, the colder the water is, and it doesn't really take very long, my diving friends say, to feel a pretty big difference as you go down, even in the gulf.

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dal May 01 2014 at 5:30 AM

Though knowing there are volcanos in the south east is interesting I would had liked to hear more and seen something about the ship wrecks.

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Anne Boleyns Crown May 01 2014 at 6:34 AM

Very cool! Would love to hear more about the ship wrecks as well.

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bobjeeps9 April 30 2014 at 6:13 PM

So where are the pictures of the 3 ship wrecks?

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1 reply
mestranger2all bobjeeps9 April 30 2014 at 6:24 PM

yea i want to see those as well all i saw in the pics was mounds of mud

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jamestaylor1031 May 01 2014 at 6:58 AM

Re: " So this is a very substantial asphalt volcanic structure ... a volcano of asphalt. Tar shooting from beneath the floor of the gulf, solidifying as it hits the near freezing water." ....... So what they are saying is the The Gulf of Mexico actually has " freezing water " ?? ....... Really ? ....... Next thing they will say is that there are Icebergs in the Gulf of Mexico ....... Who knew ? lol

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3 replies
uravagrant April 30 2014 at 5:59 PM

BP is trying to cap it.

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arklight99 April 30 2014 at 5:57 PM

'- - roles of suspected hides?' Precisely what roles were these suspected hidey playing?

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1 reply
kathydulleahogan arklight99 April 30 2014 at 6:56 PM

arklight99, I think 'roles' is misspelled and should read: 'rolls of suspected hides"

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1 reply
gramargo kathydulleahogan April 30 2014 at 7:42 PM

Funny.....I'm usually very conscious of misspellings, but I was reading quickly and went right past that one! But it's obvious what was meant, so I'm not going to feel embarrassed by missing it.

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bigelowseminars April 30 2014 at 6:23 PM

pardon my ignorance, but I did not know there was near freezing water anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico. HA!

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3 replies
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