Unpack your scuba gear, would-be Atlanteans. Turns out one “lost underwater city” is actually just the work of microbes and methane. Earth farts, basically.

Years ago, the Guardian recaps, snorkelers off the Greek island Zakynthos spotted what looked like pillars and paving stones, something you might expect to see in some plaza thousands of years ago. Might they have stumbled upon some lost, sunken city in an area of the world where people discover ruins underwater and a million conspiracy theorists holler something about “Atlantis” and “aliens” and rush to their YouTube channels to issue an update????

A team from the University of Athens and University of East Anglia says nope.

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The problem was, as environmental scientist Julian Andrews explained to Smithsonian magazine, “There’s no other evidence, nothing that suggests human civilization,” adding that, “There’s no pottery, no coins, nothing else that usually goes along with these things.” And God knows humans can’t go anywhere without leaving a bunch of trash. Instead:

Zakynthos sits nearby a well-known underwater oil field in the Mediterranean Gulf of Patras, which could explain where the methane feeding the dolomite-making microbes came from. According to Andrews, the formations’ odd shapes are likely the result of the various methane leaks sizes and how tightly microbes gathered around them to feed.

In larger leaks, the microbes could spread out and form mineral structures more evenly, resulting in the slab-like structures. Meanwhile, smaller sites that leaked methane in a tight jet may have led the microbes to make column-like and doughnut-shaped formations as they clustered close around the smaller food source.

“What’s unusual about these is that they’re in very shallow water,” added Andrews.

Unless that’s just what THEY want you to think.....


Photo via the University of East Anglia.