Scientists from the Australian research agency CSIRO discovered an ancient underwater volcano during an Indian Ocean expedition south of Christmas Island.
The volcano is located more than 3 km below sea level, about 280 km southeast of Christmas Island. Analyzing the images taken by the device, scientists drew attention to a giant oval caldera measuring 6.2 by 4.8 km. The hollow was surrounded by a “hoop” of rocks. In the center was a cone-shaped peak 300 meters high. The features of the relief reminded geologists of the pupil. The volcano’s unusual shape inspired scientists to call it the “Eye of Sauron.” It is the symbol used by orcs and other servants of Mordor on their weapons and armor in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
The team also discovered two more seamounts south of the Eye of Sauron. They gave them names related to the Lord of the Rings universe. For example, a smaller mountain south of the Eye of Sauron, covered with volcanic cones, became the “Dark Fortress” (Barad-dur), and a large elevation with a flat top was named “Ash Mountains” (Ered Litui).
Scientists explain that all of these three discovered objects are part of the Karma seamount group, which, according to geologists, are at least 100 million years old.