Rather, it's "geologic in origin," NOAA Ocean Explorer reported in a tweet yesterday (June 27).
The finding, although not surprising, is a bit of a letdown after NOAA tweeted earlier that day that the anomaly could be "an archaeology site, a geological formation or otherwise!" [Photos: Colonial-Age Shipwrecks Found Off Cape Canaveral Coast]
Scientists aboard NOAA's Okeanos Explorer noticed the anomaly while mapping the seafloor off the coast of North Carolina. They dubbed the site the "Big Dipper" anomaly and promptly sent a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) underwater to investigate.
Today #Okeanos is diving on a sonar anomaly that could potentially be a shipwreck. Tune in to help us discover what this sonar anomaly is - be it an archaeology site, a geological formation, or otherwise! Join us live @ https://t.co/a6CNS1u6ZW pic.twitter.com/VwiZWGbc4p— NOAA Ocean Explorer (@oceanexplorer) June 27, 2018
Given that North Carolina's coast is called the "Graveyard of the Atlantic," because of the many shipwrecks discovered in the area, NOAA scientists initially speculated that the anomaly could be the remains of a long-lost ship, according to The Charlotte Observer.
But the ROV found otherwise. The anomaly turned out to be a "rocky feature," NOAA said in a tweet. On the upside, this feature "is great habitat for many species, including the many fish already seen," NOAA noted.
The #Okeanos sonar anomaly appears to be geologic in origins. The team will continue to circumnavigate this rocky feature. This rocky feature is great habitat for many species including the many fish already seen. Join us live @ https://t.co/a6CNS1u6ZW pic.twitter.com/C91i7A93yT— NOAA Ocean Explorer (@oceanexplorer) June 27, 2018
The Okeanos Explorer's current expedition — called Windows to the Deep 2018: Exploration of the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin— is helping NOAA researchers map the seafloor in unknown and poorly understood deepwater areas of the southeastern United States, according to the expedition's mission plan. The expedition began on May 22 and runs through July 2.
Parts of the expedition included mapping "unexplored areas of the Blake Plateau, Blake Ridge, Blake Escarpment, submarine canyons offshore of North Carolina, submerged cultural heritage sites, areas predicted to be suitable habitat for deep-sea corals and sponges, inter-canyon areas, and gas seeps," NOAA said.
Meanwhile, the ROV dives are helping scientists understand the "diversity and distribution of deepwater habitats in this region," NOAA said.
However, aliens and unknown shipwrecks don't seem to be a part of that underwater world, at least not yet.
#Okeanos is headed back to the surface after investigating the "Big Dipper" Anomaly. While the anomaly was geologic in origins it yielded many fish species and other fauna. Learn more about the past dives here: https://t.co/whgpJunuZh pic.twitter.com/cxEsfho5lq— NOAA Ocean Explorer (@oceanexplorer) June 27, 2018
Original article on Live Science.