As is the case with most villains, Sauron is probably not dead – and scientists have discovered a new underwater volcano resembling the ubiquitous Eye of Sauron, indicating that he is still watching and that his power is still there.

In a report for The Conversation, Museums Victoria’s senior curator of marine invertebrates, Tim O’Hara, said the underwater volcano was “revealed by multigrain sonar 3100 meters below” the research vessel. RV Investigator. The oval formation, known as the caldera, measures approximately 6 km by 3 km. It has an edge of just over a tenth of a mile high, as well as a tenth of a mile high cone-shaped top in the center where the real “pupil” sits.

In essence, a caldera is a collapsed volcano. The molten magma moves upward, and because of the empty chambers this creates, the surface of the volcano’s dome collapses on itself. This causes a large crater where small peaks often tend to form as the volcano continues to spew hot magma.

O’Hara said the team, which was on day 12 of exploring Australia’s Indian Ocean territories (southeast of Christmas Island), discovered two other underwater volcanic structures further down south of the New Eye of Sauron. These have been nicknamed Barad -ūr (the “Dark Fortress”, the main stronghold of Sauron in Mordor) and Ered Lithui (“Mountains of Ashes”).

The Karma cluster. (Courtesy of Tim O’Hara, The Conversation.)

All three are part of the Karma Seamount Group (or Seamount Ranges) that geologists have estimated to be over 100 million years old. But according to O’Hara, the caldera looks “surprisingly cool” for such an ancient structure. The team predicts that underwater volcanoes could remain active, sprouting new calderas long after the original foundation has taken shape.

Meanwhile, Ered Lithui is now invaded by seabed animals like batfish, brittle stars, barnacles, crabs, tusks. worms, starfish and sponges. Maybe Sauron has been invaded by SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends.

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