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What Were They Thinking?

Underwater city was built by microbes, not people

The structures in Greek waters reveal geologic rather than archaeological past

By
12:30pm, July 8, 2016

MICROBE MADE  Odd underwater formations near the Greek island of Zakynthos are the millions-of-years-old remains of natural hydrocarbon vents, not a lost Greek city.

When snorkelers discovered what appeared to be ancient stonework off the coast of the Greek island of Zakynthos in 2013, archaeologists sent to the site thought the odd rocks might be the ruins of an ancient city. But among the columns, bagel-shaped rings and paving stone‒like rocks, they found no telltale pottery shards or other artifacts. Soon after, geochemist Julian Andrews of England’s University of East Anglia and colleagues dove down to the supposed ruins and collected samples.

Turns out, the so-called Lost City of Zakynthos was built by microbes, not by ancient Greeks. What appear to be submerged Greek ruins are actually the fossilized remains of sediments laid down by methane-chomping microbes millions of years ago, the researchers report in the September Marine and Petroleum Geology.

The formations are the creation of microbes living in vents below the seafloor

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