Lost and Found: Is this your Atlantis?

Detail of Pillars of Hercules from TabulaPeuti...

Image via Wikipedia

“In those far-away days that Ocean could be navigated, as there was an island outside the channel which your countrymen tell me you call the ‘Pillars of Heracles.’ This island was larger than Libya and Asia together, and from it seafarers, in those times, could make their way to the others, and thence to the whole opposite continent, which encircles the true outer ocean.”

-Critias to Socrates

It seems a bit absurd to claim that Atlantis is “lost.” That doesn’t mean I believe I will sail to an Atlantean shore and sip rum on the beach, but I do mean there is a lot of evidence suggesting Atlantis did exist, and where it was located. (Atlantis.rar for all data used)

Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride provides an entertaining and informative rundown on the history of Atlantis.

To the left you will see an old map of the Pillars of Heracles.  (the northern pillar is the Rock of Gibralter and the southern is either Monte Hacho or Jebel Musa) These used to mark the limit of the known world.

But slightly west of those pillars . . .

Let’s use Google Earth to look for something that would be larger than Libya and Asia put together. To get an idea of the supposed size of Atlantis, here is a map of the known world as drawn by the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus:

Note: Asia extends into what is modern day Pakistan and the southern extent of Libya is a little past the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula.

The world looks a little different in the map of Herodotus but it does create a better spatial scale. Now let’s use Google Earth to look at the ocean floor to the west of the Pillars of Heracles:

Imagine if the sea level were lower and the landmasses hadn't been exposed to thousands of years of erosion. Can you see what might look like another continent?

Here is that same image with an added polygon to demonstrate what that continent might have looked like:

If you are still skeptical, think of how this continent would fit into a supercontinent like Gondwana. Keep in mind, this image would likely exaggerate the size of the actual continent.

If this were to be the continent known as Atlantis, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to accept the islands in the Caribbean as the islands to the west that made the Americas accessible to seafarers of that time. I will bring up one more feature that can be viewed in Google Earth that has recently caused a bit of controversy in online forums.   31°19’2.13″N  24°25’42.69″W contains markings that appear to be on the ocean floor. The markings look like they could be the remains of a city, and are also within the polygon of the supposed Atlantean continent. Here is an image:

Google claims these lines are caused by the ship's sonar when they scan the ocean floor. I just wonder why this would be the only spot on the ocean floor like this, and why the ship would travel on that course.

Google Earth, or Captian Planet?

Rather than throw useless entries up on this site as filler until I leave at the end of the month, I thought I would use this time to remotely take you to some locations that deserve some attention, even if you never step foot there. A great way to do this is using Google Earth.

For this entry I want to take you to Pike County, Ky. In reality though, it could be Anycounty, Appalachia. I am directing you there to show you a form of surface mining referred to as mountaintop removal. It’s Getting Hot In Here has a short video worth checking out and SEATTLEDIRT has some great aerial photography showing mountaintop removal sites in West Virginia. This is a site I found using Google Earth (click the image to view full size or download Mountaintop Removal.kmz):

Pike County, KY

If you don’t already have Google Earth, you can download it for free. It is a great resource and I have a link on my download page. If you have Google Earth, expand the Global Awareness layer and make sure the Mountaintop Removal layer is checked. This will show you many other landscapes that have been altered due to this process. Once you view a few locations you won’t really even need the layer because you will be able to identify these sites with little effort, even without zooming in very far. They literally scar the entire Appalachian landscape. If the process can create this much change in the physical landscape, can you imagine how great an impact it has on the lives of those inhabiting the surrounding areas?