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Baltic Sea 'alien' discovery! Odds are, it's a rock

June 18, 2012|By Amy Hubbard

The team behind the Baltic Sea discovery that has sparked B-movie descriptions among excitable media -- is it an alien spaceship? Underwater Stonehenge? -- has no problem ramping up the drama.

A news release last week from Sweden's Ocean X Team said the "circle-shaped object in the Baltic Sea" looked like a "huge mushroom," rising 10 to 13 feet from the ocean floor. It had a hole in the top -- "as an opening," the team said.

In addition, there were "strange stone circle formations, almost looking like small fireplaces ... covered in something resembling soot."

Fireplace soot. At the bottom of the sea.

"Normally stones don't burn," an incredulous diver is quoted as saying.

True that.

The team also said the path to the object "can be described as a runway." It can be, but should it?

In February, experts rained a little bit on the Ocean X parade with an examination of summer 2011 findings the team brought back from the Baltic Ocean site.

That Millennium Falcon-shaped object could be a rock formation from fluid or gas venting, Charles Paull of California's Monterey Bay Aquarium told Popular Mechanics. Or, he added, it could be sediment dropped from a fishing trawl. In light of the team's latest dip, earlier this month, in the Baltic, those possibilities may still hold water.

An awed Peter Lindberg, a leader of the team along with Dennis Alsberg, said in the news release: "First we thought this was only stone, but this is something else. ... As laymen we can only speculate how this is made by nature, but this is the strangest thing I have ever experienced as a professional diver."

Efforts by The Times to reach the Ocean X folks haven't yet succeeded, but the leader of the team told Fox News ... it is not a spaceship -- despite the "runway" line.

And despite his "this is something else" remark, he told Fox it's likely some sort of natural geological formation.

Ocean X says its main focus is rustling up sunken treasures, such as "antique high-end alcoholic beverages. Excursions have turned up items including champagne bottles from the wreck of the Swedish schooner Jonkoping, which is said to have sunk in 1916.

Perhaps this hoopla over a big chunk of who-knows-what in the Baltic Sea will help Ocean X market its antique beverages and other sunken treasure. 

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