The deep ocean is home to millions of surreal, alien-like entities, and these manganese nodules are no exception. The nodules were first discovered in 1873, and scientists have been hypothesizing about how they came to exist ever since.
The nodules are in the news today after a crew of German scientists discovered a previously unknown batch of them a few hundred miles off the coast of Barbados. Live Science first reported their find. The discovery is noteworthy since nodules are most commonly found in the Pacific Ocean.
Colin Devey, Chief Scientist of the team that discovered the nodules, spoke to Live Science about his crew’s find.
"I was surprised, because this is generally not the place you think of for manganese nodules," said Devey. "These were very, very circular, which is strange. They usually look like cow flops."
The nodules form when clusters of precious metals crystallize around a core, Live Science reports. The core can be made of anything – a fossil, a rock or anything else. The nodules expand at a painstakingly slow rate, adding roughly one centimeter of new growth every one million years.
Here, from Wikipedia, are a few pictures of the nodules:
The more nodules we discover the better, scientists say. Due to the age of the nodules, they contain detailed information on the history of the earth’s climate. MailOnline reports that scientists are eager to examine the nodules in hopes of unearthing new information on how different climate conditions could have contributed to their growth.