Hopes dashed as Google Ocean image of 'lost city of Atlantis' proves to be nothing of the sort
For a few tantalising hours researchers appeared to have solved one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world - the location of the mythical underwater city of Atlantis.
More than 600 miles off the coast of Africa and nearly 3.5 miles below the surface lay a mysterious grid of lines and markings that closely resembled the streets of a city.
The image - discovered on the internet mapping tool Google Earth - lay in an area of the Atlantic long thought to be a possible location for the fabled lost city.
There were just two problems.
First, the grid of streets, walls and ancient buildings turned out to be the size of Wales
And second, the grid of lines doesn't actually exist on the sea floor.
According to Google, the pattern is an "artifact" of its map making process.
Details for the ocean maps on Google Earth come from sonar measurements of the sea floor recorded by boats - and the area around the Canaries was mapped by boats travelling in a series of straight lines.
The admission was a blow to Atlantis hunters who are convinced the city still lies undiscovered below the waves.
The grid can be found by anyone using the latest version of Google Earth on their computer. It lies in the Canary Basin, 620 miles west of the Canary islands, and east of the Konstantinov Ridge.
'It's true that many amazing discoveries have been made in Google Earth - a pristine forest in Mozambique that is home to previously unknown species, a fringing coral reef off the coast of Australia, and the remains of an Ancient Roman villa, to name just a few,' said a spokesman for Google.
"In this case, however, what users are seeing is an artifact of the data collection process. Bathymetric (or sea-floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea-floor.
'The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data. The fact that there are blank spots between each of these lines is a sign of how little we really know about the world's oceans."
The perfect rectangle was spotted by a British aeronautical engineer who claimed it looked like a 'man-made aerial map' of a city.
Atlantis experts said that the unexplained grid is located at one of the possible sites of the legendary island, which was first described by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato.
The earliest known records of this mythical land appear in Plato's 'dialogues', Critias and Timaios.
............. continua .....................
THIS is the amazing image which could show the fabled sunken city of Atlantis.
It shows a perfect rectangle the size of Wales lying on the bed of the Atlantic Ocean nearly 3½ miles down.
A host of criss-crossing lines, looking like a map of a vast metropolis, are enclosed by the boundary.