Upgrade eliminates Atlantis from Google Earth
Data glitch explanation won’t satisfy true believers
The latest update to Google Earth has resolved the software error that caused some to suspect the lost city of Atlantis had been found in the Atlantic Ocean.
For the last three years, Google Earth has shown what appears to be a grid on the sea floor between the Canary Islands and the mid-Atlantic ridge that bisects the ocean. After it was spotted, Google explained that the pattern was formed by a processing glitch caused by overlapping data sets, but that didn’t stop some internet denizens fond of tinfoil headgear from proclaiming that the image is proof that the legendary city existed.
Data glitch, or the largest city in human history?
Atlantis was first mentioned by Plato around 360BC. He spoke of a vast continent, larger than Libya and Asia Minor combined, lying just beyond the mouth of the Mediterranean. Plato never claimed to have seen the city, which supposedly sank beneath the waves in 24 hours, but instead claims to have heard of it as a story passed down over generations. The advent of the theory of continental drift and undersea mapping techniques has led to a waning of support, but there are still a few stubborn souls who believe the story.
The upgrade to Google Earth involved students identifying such cases and checking the data that produced the images. In the case of Atlantis, the image was formed by mixing a relatively low-quality scan of the sea bed, and overlaying that with the paths taken by sonar-carrying ships performing scans. Due to the scale of the images, the resultant “city” would have been the size of Wales – or New Jersey, for The Reg's stateside readers – making it the largest metropolis in recorded history, had it existed.
The undersea data for Google Earth comes from a variety of sources other than sonar, however. Around 90 per cent of the data on the ocean floor’s topology are taken from gravity measurements made from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) rather than ship-mounted sonar, and this data will be upgraded next year with much more accuracy using the European Space Agency satellite called CryoSat.
To date, around 15 per cent of the ocean floor has been mapped to within one kilometer resolution for the Google Earth project, with the eventual goal being to explore the entire undersea landscape. It’s a sad fact that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about our own terrestrial ocean-floor terrain. ®
The surface of the moon is not covered in a couple of miles of water.
Just over half of the moon's surface is visible from my back garden with my telescope (given enough time, and the various wobbles that allow us to see a bit more than half). Using bigger kit, and the odd lunar orbiter, you can see a lot more. It is also a lot easier to walk on the moon's surface (ask Neil), than on the bottom of the oceans, thousands of meters below (ask any scuba diver). Getting to the bottom of the ocean is relatively simple, of course. Getting there alive is quite a different matter.
I was under the impression that the best guess of Atlantis was that there was a factor of ten mistranslation from Egyptian to Greek. With the factor of ten mistranslation Atlantis should have been located 2500 miles west of egypt, and that it had been 9000 years ago. Except, it's not there and there is no record of it.
If you accept that the translator messed up, it becomes 250 miles and 900 years which fits with Atlantis having been the Minoan empire, and it's destruction being caused by the eruption on Santorini which destroyed 75% of the landmass of the island and caused a 150 foot tusnami.
I won't pretend to be an expert in that area of history, but in my view the Minoan explanation is the most likely. We don't even know what the Minoans called themselves because the volcanic eruption totalled their home island, destroyed their powerful fleet (150 foot tidal waves don't mix with wooden ships) and wiped out everything within about 150 miles of the shore line which didn't leave many of their trading partners there either, bearing in mind the tiny size of states at the time. Virtually nothing is known of their society, but what we do know does actually seem to match with the recorded stories of Atlantis.
It's good enough for me, anyway.
I'm kind of surprised people obsessing about Atlantis wouldn't have known that one.
They got to you, didn't they, Iain?
Who was it - the NSA? Majestic 12? The Illuminati? THEY CAN'T BURY THE TRUTH FOREVER, YOU HEAR ME????
*froths at mouth and collapses, twitching*