The island, named Sandy Island should be located between Australia and New Caledonia in the south Pacific.
If you look at marine charts, world maps and Google
Earth the island can be found, but in reality when you travel to the exact location there is nothing but ocean there.
This is what a group of scientists from
Australia just experienced when they searched for the mysterious island.
Dr. Maria Seton and her crew were more than puzzled to discover Sandy Island had simply vanished, especially since it has regularly appeared in scientific
publications since at least 2000.
"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."
"Even onboard the ship, the weather maps the captain had showed an island in this location," Dr Seton said.
On maps, Sandy Ilsans is located in the Pacific, between Australia and New Caledonia. In reality, the island is not there...
"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," Steven Micklethwaite from the University of Western Australia 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.
The surprising 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.
Did Sandy Island really exist?
"We went to find those fragments of our country," she said.
It remains unclear how the island could have vanished. Perhaps it never even existed and the maps were incorrect and created based on some very old data.
Dr. Seton says she has no idea how the island came to be on so many maps, but she is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
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Giant Underwater Canyon Zhemchug
Can Only Be Seen Entirely From Space
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We might think that Grand Canyon is big, but it is nothing compared to Zhemchug that is so huge it can only be seen entirely from space!