Scientists un-discover Pacific island

2012-11-22 09:27
Australia has created the world's largest network of marine reserves. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Australia has created the world's largest network of marine reserves. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Sydney - A South Pacific island identified on Google Earth and world maps does not exist, according to Australian scientists who went searching for the mystery landmass during a geological expedition.

The sizeable phantom island in the Coral Sea is shown as Sandy Island on Google Earth and Google maps, supposedly midway between Australia and the French-governed New Caledonia.

The Times Atlas of the World appears to identify it as Sable Island and according to Dr Maria Seton the weather maps used by the Southern Surveyor, an Australian maritime research vessel, also say it is there.

But when the Southern Surveyor, which was tasked with identifying fragments of the Australian continental crust submerged in the Coral Sea, steamed to where it was supposed to be, it was nowhere to be found.

"We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1 400m in that area - very deep," Seton, from the University of Sydney, said after the 25-day voyage.

"It's on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We're really puzzled. It's quite bizarre.

"How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don't know, but we plan to follow up and find out."
Read more on:    environment

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