R’lyeh Rising

newisland_maiken.jpgThe yacht Maiken encountered that new island that formed recently in the South Pacific and blogged about it. What I’m endlessly finding intriguing is just how much their photo series resembles every sci-fi “lost world” story ever. Distant travelers plow their way through an ultra-remote area. Weird stuff begins to appear in the water, whether it’s soil, strange plants, or an unusually warm current. The debris gets denser until suddenly you’re confronted with Skull Island or the Land That Time Forgot. I know, it’s good ole magma and volcanism, but if I was minding my own business out there and encountered the “stone sea” and an angry island I’d be wanting a crash refresher course in Welles, Verne, and Burroughs.

Geographers start your engines.

In other South Pacific news:

Oceanographers have discovered a broad, almost-bare patch of seafloor in the remote South Pacific. An unusual combination of circumstances has left the region without the mineral and organic sediments hundreds of meters deep that are typical elsewhere in the world’s oceans, the scientists say.

The sediment-poor region is about the size of the Mediterranean Sea and centered approximately 4,000 kilometers east of New Zealand. Researchers discovered the area, which they dubbed the South Pacific Bare Zone, during a cruise early last year, says David K. Rea, a marine geologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The scientists were surprised when their seismic equipment indicated that there was no sediment in that region. A unique combination of factors seems to have dictated the area’s dearth of sediment that’s accumulated since the basalt crust below formed between 85 million and 34 million years ago, Rea and his colleagues report in the October Geology.

As Chris Perridas rightly notices, “The … Alert … was sighted April 12th in S. Latitude 34d21m , W Longitude 152d17m with one living and one dead man aboard.”

Get your elder signs ready.

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