ONTD Political

Oceanographers UNdiscover island

6:04 pm - 11/23/2012

Most explorers dream of discovering uncharted territory, but a team of Australian scientists have done the exact opposite.

They have found an island that doesn't exist.

The island, named Sandy Island on Google Earth, also exists on marine charts and world maps and allegedly sits between Australia and New Caledonia in the south Pacific.


But when the voyage's chief scientist, Maria Seton, and her crew sailed past where the island should be, they found nothing but blue ocean.

"We became suspicious when the navigation charts used by the ship showed a depth of 1400 metres in an area where our scientific maps and Google Earth showed the existence of a large island," Dr Maria Seton, a geologist from the University of Sydney, said.

"Somehow this error has propagated through to the world coastline database from which a lot of maps are made."


The missing island has regularly appeared in scientific publications since at least 2000.
"Even onboard the ship, the weather maps the captain had showed an island in this location," Dr Seton said.

Neither the French government - the invisible island would sit within French territorial waters if it existed - nor the ship's nautical charts, which are based on depth measurements, had the island marked on their maps.

Dr Seton had no idea how the island came to be on so many maps, but she is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Steven Micklethwaite from the University of Western Australia said, "We all had a good giggle at Google as we sailed through the island, then we started compiling information about the seafloor, which we will send to the relevant authorities so that we can change the world map."

Mike Prince, the director of charting services for the Australian Hydrographic Service, a department within the Navy that produces the country’s official nautical charts, said the world coastline database incorporated individual reports that were sometimes old or contained errors.


"We take anything off that database with a pinch of salt," he said.

While some map makers intentionally include phantom streets to deter copyright infringements, that was not standard practice with nautical charts, said Mr Prince.

"[That would] reduce confidence in what is actually correct," he said.

Nabil Naghdy, the product manager of Google Maps for Australia and New Zealand, said Google Earth consulted a variety of authoritative public and commercial data sources in building its maps.

"The world is a constantly changing place, and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavour,’’ Mr Naghdy said.

He encouraged users to alert Google to incorrect entires using the 'Report a Problem' tool, found at the bottom right corner of the map, which they would then confirm with other users or data providers.

The discovery took place onboard the RV Southern Surveyor, Australia's Marine National Facility research vessel, during a 25-day research trip in the eastern Coral Sea.

Large fragments of eastern Australia split from the mainland as the Tasman Sea formed about 100 million years ago, when Australia split apart from the super continent Gondwana, which included Antarctica, India and Africa.

"This dispersed all the continental fragments in the area, which subsided and [went] below sea level," Dr Seton, who docked in Brisbane on Monday, said.

"We went to find those fragments of our country," she said.

The team collected 197 different rock samples, more than 6800 km of marine geophysical data and mapped over 14,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor.

They also recovered limestone, which forms from near surface coral reefs, from a depth of three kilometres.

"That means we've had this massive drowning of the area. That's was a surprising discovery," said Dr Seton.


source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sandy Island will clearly appear in some sort of technothriller/conspiracy novel/scifi thing shortly. It clearly sank into the ocean/was eaten by Cthulhu/covered up by the government/was vaporized by aliens/was removed from maps for everyone's safety because it is filled with an Unspeakable Evil
hinoema 24th-Nov-2012 02:50 am (UTC)
It's still in Google Earth, though it's just a black smear with a yellow boundary line.
mollywobbles867 24th-Nov-2012 02:51 am (UTC)
justspaz 24th-Nov-2012 04:49 am (UTC)
MTE, Ricardo.

[Memerson from POI is the closest to a Lost icon I've got]
rkt 24th-Nov-2012 03:08 am (UTC)
ruh-oh
lafinjack 24th-Nov-2012 01:31 pm (UTC)
randomtasks 24th-Nov-2012 03:12 am (UTC)
The conspiracy theorists on my FB feed is already on this.
yeats 24th-Nov-2012 03:26 am (UTC)
omg christmas elf javi!
corinn 24th-Nov-2012 03:42 am (UTC)
What kind of conspiracy theories are popping up? Any gems?
randomtasks 24th-Nov-2012 05:03 am (UTC)
This one guy is absolutely convinced that Resident Evil is real so he's going on and on how they were using the island to test bio-warfare weapons and it backfired on them so they self-destructed the island.....
corinn 24th-Nov-2012 05:18 am (UTC)
...Seriously? He's not joking?

Anyone saying it's the ~real Isla Nublar?
belleweather 24th-Nov-2012 03:31 am (UTC)
Obviously a conspiracy of cartographers.
silver_apples 24th-Nov-2012 04:24 am (UTC)
You win the internets for this response.
castalianspring 24th-Nov-2012 04:40 am (UTC)
*see icon*
bushy_brow 25th-Nov-2012 03:07 am (UTC)
LMAO, OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! :-D
moonbladem 24th-Nov-2012 03:32 am (UTC)
Oh it's there. It's just a bunch of Klingons have now made it their base and applied their cloaking technology over the entire island.
veracity 24th-Nov-2012 07:09 am (UTC)
Atlantis will not be pleased if they're using her tech.
romp 24th-Nov-2012 03:50 am (UTC)
CBC last night said maybe it came from an old map with an intention error to catch copies though this article says no. I liked that idea. :/
anjak_j 27th-Nov-2012 12:44 am (UTC)
As it said in the article:

While some map makers intentionally include phantom streets to deter copyright infringements, that was not standard practice with nautical charts, said Mr Prince.

I used to work as a cartographer for a power company, drawing power distribution equipment relative to street-level maps - mainly for use by electrical engineers, but also for telephone/water/gas engineers. I came across a couple of phantom streets on the street-level maps in the course of that work.
romp 27th-Nov-2012 03:10 am (UTC)
That is so cool! I guess the maps of Moscow were completely wrong, just to be tricky. You weren't allowed to take photos from planes or the Ferris Wheel in Gorkey Park because overhead shots would have revealed reality.
bnmc2005 24th-Nov-2012 04:27 am (UTC)
Dumb question: Any chance it sunk or just got overwhelmed with the rise of the oceans?
eveofrevolution 24th-Nov-2012 04:59 am (UTC)
Joining you with wondering this "dumb question"
blueburndown 24th-Nov-2012 05:16 am (UTC)
"We became suspicious when the navigation charts used by the ship showed a depth of 1400 metres in an area where our scientific maps and Google Earth showed the existence of a large island," Dr Maria Seton, a geologist from the University of Sydney, said.

They also recovered limestone, which forms from near surface coral reefs, from a depth of three kilometres.

"That means we've had this massive drowning of the area. That's was a surprising discovery," said Dr Seton.


Short answer, It's possible.

ceruleanst 24th-Nov-2012 05:41 am (UTC)
There would be some evidence of it underwater. 1400 meters is a very long way to sink; that would have to be literally cataclysmic and we would have noticed.
lafinjack 24th-Nov-2012 01:32 pm (UTC)
But... we just DID notice!
ceruleanst 24th-Nov-2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
I meant that if it had happened while human civilization was making maps there, it would have been a seismic event of some significance to everyone populating the Pacific.
lafinjack 24th-Nov-2012 08:18 pm (UTC)
Oh you and your specifics.
justspaz 24th-Nov-2012 04:49 am (UTC)
Damon Lindelof (co-creator of Lost) had the best reaction to this:
"Been there. Done that."

So obviously someone just moved the island.
bmh4d0k3n 24th-Nov-2012 04:33 pm (UTC)
Photobucket
fenris_lorsrai 24th-Nov-2012 05:41 am (UTC)
it was never an island at all, it was really a GIANT TURTLE. of course it's moved.
hello_ilu 24th-Nov-2012 06:05 am (UTC)
Holy shit, was that an Aladdin and the King of Thieves reference?

Edited at 2012-11-24 06:06 am (UTC)
fenris_lorsrai 24th-Nov-2012 06:09 am (UTC)
Not specifically, I was thinking more along lines or world turtle or all kinds of myths involving turtles that sailors mistook for islands. it's not a super common piece of shared myth, but its not totally weird either.

I had considered making a joke about it being a coil of the world serpent briefly lifted above the waves...
hello_ilu 24th-Nov-2012 06:10 am (UTC)
Aaaah, gotcha! Thought it was worth checking <<
othellia 24th-Nov-2012 06:47 am (UTC)
Regardless, I like the way you think. <3
poetic_pixie_13 24th-Nov-2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
Your iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiicon. <3

I had such a crush on Cassim, idek.
othellia 24th-Nov-2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
You and me both, bb.
hello_ilu 25th-Nov-2012 06:33 am (UTC)
CASSIM. <3

Shit, I'm mostly into ladies and I had a massive crush on him.

Edited at 2012-11-25 06:33 am (UTC)
seasight 24th-Nov-2012 06:34 am (UTC)
First Pluto, now an ISLAND. Come on, guys.
paksenarrion2 25th-Nov-2012 01:30 am (UTC)
Maybe the Island ran off with Pluto and they are having an affair?

Interstellar babies FTW!!
normaltrouble It's just lost under the lens flare and the black oil. 24th-Nov-2012 09:09 am (UTC)
It's a break in the time/space continuum...suuure it's "lost" yeah, sure, and traces of naquada were found at that site--giving off an amazing!signal!of!lens!flare!
that contained cyphers of certain numbers, that somehow when played backward made you really want to pick up a flashlight and point the said flashlight into a dark tunnel...full of gloopy oil that swirls and feathers towards you seemingly without weight or form...

I am sure all they were doing there is deep space telemetry. And it is well known that Venus is often mistaken for many of those "lost objects" including islands.

How'd that bee get into my apartment...???

(edited for a few missing words...)




Edited at 2012-11-24 09:13 am (UTC)
simply_blah 24th-Nov-2012 04:08 pm (UTC)
It was the mermaids.
fenris_lorsrai 24th-Nov-2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
They were just rerunning that this week, followed by the dragons one.
simply_blah 24th-Nov-2012 04:47 pm (UTC)
I know! I haven't seen the dragon one since they originally aired it. I recorded them both.
astra_aurora 24th-Nov-2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
Iä Cthulhu.
ladyofshalott06 It's obvious, isn't it?25th-Nov-2012 06:23 am (UTC)
I blame

keestone 25th-Nov-2012 09:25 pm (UTC)
I guess Sinbad and his mates lit a fire.

In other news, look out for giant eggs.
anjak_j 27th-Nov-2012 12:57 am (UTC)
Suddenly I'm reminded of the first episode of Star Trek: TNG - Encounter at Farpoint...


(For those not into Trek, in said episode the people of another planet forced a jellyfish-like space creature to take the form of a structure that they used as a planetary star-base.)
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