Mysterious underwater 'lost city' turns out to be a rare natural formation

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Mysterious Underwater 'Lost City' Turns Out To Be A Rare Natural Formation

Around the world, underwater remains of many lost cities have been discovered in the past.

Not long ago, one such Greek site was believed to have been found.

A University of East Anglia news release notes, "When underwater divers discovered what looked like paved floors, courtyards and colonnades, they thought they had found the ruins of a long-forgotten civilization that perished when tidal waves hit the shores of the Greek holiday island Zakynthos."

However, detailed mineral and texture examination conducted recently suggests the source of the underwater formations is not humans but microbes.

Based on their findings, scientists from the University of East Anglia and the University of Athens (Greece) believe the site, about 6 to 16 feet underwater, is a "natural geologically occurring phenomenon that took place in the Pliocene era – up to five million years ago."

Julian Andrews, the lead author of the study, said, "We found that the linear distribution of these doughnut shaped concretions is likely the result of a sub-surface fault which has not fully ruptured the surface of the sea bed. The fault allowed gases, particularly methane, to escape from depth...Microbes in the sediment use the carbon in methane as fuel. Microbe-driven oxidation of the methane then changes the chemistry of the sediment forming a kind of natural cement, known to geologists as concretion."

The research team notes that such formations are typically found in much deeper part of the ocean and it's unusual for them to be discovered in shallow waters.

The study results are published in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology.

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