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Google Debunks Maps Atlantis Myth 82

prxi writes "Recently speculation spread that Atlantis may have been located on Google Ocean. Now Google has posted a blog entry, written by two oceanographers, explaining what exactly caused the strange markings off the coast of Africa. The authors also note that we have better maps of the surface of Mars than we do of our own oceans, and go into detail on what would be required to obtain a fine-grained map of the ocean floor. Apparently it's only 200 ship years of work, or around the cost of a modern stadium, give or take."
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Google Debunks Maps Atlantis Myth

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  • by ionix5891 ( 1228718 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @06:56AM (#26980279)

    No big loss, Atlantis was becoming one boring and predictable tv show

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      haha. no, wait, that's not funny. it's not even serious.
    • by macraig ( 621737 )

      Why, I see a comment right ^^^ here... absent any redeeming value such as it is, not as 1000th post much less first.


    • The reason.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by anilg ( 961244 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:30AM (#26980419)

      Reason for those lines: Ship tracks due to the way oceanographic equipment work.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )
        Besides there is a more interesting bit off the coast of North Carolina at 3416'24.68"N 76 2'10.39"W, in much shallower water.
        • Re:The reason.. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Muad'Dave ( 255648 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @10:29AM (#26981423) Homepage

          I noticed that same area when the day this story broke. What was so interesting that someone bothered to go searching?

          I also wonder about these mini-seamounts [] off the coast of Nags Head - are they wrecks, or actual features?

          Also, what's with the blurring here []? It's probably where data was stitched, but it might be intentional blurring of the wreck of the Monitor []. I like a good conspiracy theory.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Muad'Dave ( 255648 )
            PS - The Monitor Marine Sanctuary is in the blurred area. It "...consists of a vertical water column in the Atlantic ocean one mile in diameter extending from the surface to the seabed, the center of which is at 35 00' 23" north latitude and 75 24' 32 west longitude." [From this Federal Regulation []].
          • Only an idiot would just blur the image to hide something like a wreck. Someone who honestly wanted to hide it would just use another nondescript seabed image, there's millions of acres of the stuff that all basically looks the same. A little photochopping to make the general color and done of the image basically match those around it and editing the edges so it more or less matches up with the images that boarder it and no one's the wiser.

            • Agreed, but it wouldn't be as good a conspiracy theory without it!

              I wish that blur wasn't there - there seems to be a continental shelf mudslide under the blurred part, and that is one of the more active regions wrt currents and shifting sandbars. They don't call it "The Graveyard of the Atlantic" for nothing.

              I didn't see the Diamond Shoals Light [] on the map. Too bad; I've caught a bunch of tuna, blues, and mackerel around that thing, and fallen to sleep watching it's blink, blink out my bedroom window.


          • So this one has been explained away by Google, but the sunken city found near Cuba has never been explained. In fact, since National Geographic reported on it in 2002 [], everything has been all hush-hush -- promises of follow-up exploration, but no hard information to be found.

            If you're curious about this, perform further searches using the following keywords: sonar, Zelitsky, Weinzweig, "Advanced Digital Communications".

          • Those little mounds look very much like the byproduct of the interpolation algorithm. When your data is spaced out, and the ground surface very variable, there is no smooth transition between the data points. Interpolation algorithms will then tend to show little "islands", or "hollows" at the points of known elevations which tend toward some sort of average value of the neighboring points as you go away from them. It's a typical artifact of such algorithms.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tpz ( 1137081 )

        I've heard this stated many times in many places since this subject came up a few days back, but have yet to spot anyone ask the obvious follow-up question I'm going to ask you in case you might know the answer:

        All tinfoil-hat crap aside, why does this little patch of the ocean have so damn many ship tracks relative to any other random location? What of interest is (or is at least thought to be) down there in that area?

        I'm honestly curious.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by anilg ( 961244 )

          Its not a single patch.. there are hundreds, maybe thousands of such patches, only all the eyes watching GMaps found a few of these.

          The one off Africa got a lot of publicity due to the "Atlantis" hype.. the interest in the particular area is simply the internet word of mouth effect.

          • by tpz ( 1137081 )

            Oh, I'm certain there are many. I was just curious about the potential interest in that location (or any other garnering such in-depth investigation, for that matter.) Sunken treasure, vast natural resources, veritable swarms of nubile mermaids, that sort of thing. ;)

    • by nmg196 ( 184961 )

      Seriously, all the comments are really low numbers today? Is it a national hol in the USA or something? There are only a few dozen comments for each article and usually there are a couple of hundred by this time of day.

    • Becoming? On the other hand, I looked at the webpage for what Tapping is doing now and decided not to watch it. SG-1 was one of my favorite things on TV. To be fair, I watched it on DVD, as dog intended.

  • by ryzvonusef ( 1151717 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:10AM (#26980337) Journal
    ITS ALL A CONSPIRACY!!!111! or something like that :)
  • by Aerynvala ( 1109505 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:21AM (#26980375) Homepage
    Atlantis was laid out on a circular pattern [], not a square/rectangular one. Duh! ;)
  • Data (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @07:22AM (#26980381)

    From FTA:

    We do our best to predict what the sea floor looks like based on what we can measure much more easily: the water surface. Above large underwater mountains (seamounts), the surface of the ocean is actually higher than in surrounding areas. These seamounts actually increase gravity in the area, which attracts more water and causes sea level to be slightly higher. The changes in water height are measurable using radar on satellites.

    That is the most interesting thing I have read through Slashdot in a really long while.

    • Completely preposterous. I might buy that the surface is slightly higher, but only because of ocean currents being deflected upwards by the seamounts. But there's no way the presence of a mountain "increases gravity in the area" enough to actually see the water level rise.
  • well (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    the first thing that tipped me off was that atlantis probably wasn't 10,000 square miles in size.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Not that it was FICTIONAL!!!?

      • by morcego ( 260031 )

        There are several theories that Plano actually based his whole Atlantis thing on facts, which were distorted by word-of-mouth before getting to him (and also after). I don't know how many of you have actually read Timaeus and Critias (I did).

        For those who haven't had those works, or most of Plato's works, lemme first state that Plato was a wacko. Completely crazy. As in "eating mushrooms for breakfast" crazy. And an attention hog. It is very much like him to get some historical facts and distort them.

  • So ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by DrugCheese ( 266151 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @08:33AM (#26980639)

    If we spent 40 stadiums worth of money we could have it done in 5 years? What is the exact stadium price to oceanographic research conversion?

    • Wait, what???

      The price for 200 ship-years is independent of the time you actually take to scan every ocean.
      With 40 ships, you'll need 5 years.
      With 200 ships, you'll need 1 year.

      But you'll still end up paying the price of *one* stadium, whichever solution you use.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Cormacus ( 976625 )

        But you'll still end up paying the price of *one* stadium, whichever solution you use.

        Thats assuming that the ships and the scanning equipment already exists and may be employed (rented/hired) at a constant cost/time. If you have to invest in the equipment, then the overall cost goes up as a product of the number of ships you use.

        If I were to put this in terms of a car analogy . . .

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Sviergn ( 1233088 )

      If we spent 40 stadiums worth of money we could have it done in 5 years?

      Clearly you have not read that critical technical project planning text, "The Mythical Stadium-Ocean"...

    • From TFA:

      So, what if we really wanted to find Atlantis? We probably couldn't do it with satellites — man-made structures simply aren't big enough to be measured that way. But we could map the whole ocean using ships. A published U.S. Navy study [] found that it would take about 200 ship-years, meaning we'd need one ship for 200 years, or 10 ships for 20 years, or 100 ships for two years. It costs about $25,000 per day to operate a ship with the right mapping capability, so 200 ship-years would cost ne

      • We probably couldn't do it with satellites â" man-made structures simply aren't big enough to be measured that way


        [Ground Sample Distance] for Intelligence/Military purposes, such as the National Reconnaissance Office programs, may have a resolution of less than a centimeter [] with the potential for real-time (live) imaging.

        Do you know any cities that are less than a centimeter across?

    • And what unit of stadium? Football, baseball, soccer...
  • by saigon_from_europe ( 741782 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @08:55AM (#26980737)

    Start Google Earth, go to the ocean west of the Ireland, and you will see even larger "Atlantis".

  • Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
  • Cost? (Score:5, Funny)

    by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @09:12AM (#26980827) Homepage Journal

    Apparently it's only 200 ship years of work...

    How much more does it cost if some of the ships have to fend off pirates?

  • And luckily, Google can't modify the images that captures in order to hide secret facilities, UFOs, and ancient civilizations.

  • by killmenow ( 184444 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @09:16AM (#26980863)
    I doubt we'll ever have (publicly available) highly detailed ocean maps like we have of Mars. The reason: there are no nuclear submarines on the surface of Mars.
    • Also, Mars isn't covered in a Barbara Walters filter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It's far more complicated than that. Some of our ocean floor data is obtained through classified channels, and thus can't be published; even more of it is obtained via treaties and agreements that make the data "unclassified, restricted to DOD only", which means it still can't be published on Google.

      • So then what's the deal with that submarine, the Googlielmo, cruising around the deep blue seas snapping geolocated photos for something called "Google Maps - Ocean Floor View"?
  • by hesaigo999ca ( 786966 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @09:38AM (#26980999) Homepage Journal

    This is the finale, where they end up landing Atlantis on earth....right?
    Oh wait, you were talking about the REAL Atlantis, I thought it never existed.

    • by deroby ( 568773 )

      AFAIK submarines tend to move around. What use would a 'virtual push-pin in the middle of the ocean' labeled 'submarine' have anyway ? You think that if you walk around NY-City, all the people you saw on Google-street-view will still be there ?

      Anyway, if -by sheer coincidence- a sub would be located, it would show up as a 'spike' in the map and probably get discarded as an error or anomaly.
      Also, these sounding exercises likely make ONE HELL OF A NOISE from the point of view of a stealthy submarine, I'm sure

      • way off............wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy off!

        • by deroby ( 568773 )

          I'm kind of confused here too, afaik I replied to some comment about there being no chance at all of ever getting a seabed-map because there are 'top secret' subs around...

          Somehow I either pressed the wrong 'Reply to this' button, or the Slashdot database got messed up !?!
          Actually, due to the reply ( I got on my comment, I'm thinking it's the latter... Slashdot going berserk ?? It's the end of the world !

  • Sounds like a project for the economic stimulus package to me. 100 ships, crews of 30 or so, that's employment for 3000 persons for 2 years.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sjefsmurf ( 1414991 )
      Problem is... there arent really that many ships out there with proper equipment for this type of work (multi beam echo sounders and and sonarts for quality mapping of the ocean floor) and if someone went out there to rent 100 ships for 2 years, there would be a significant shortage of surveying vessels for everybody.

      Prices would head towards infinity and beyond faster than the US gov could print money to pay with.

      On the positive side, you would need a lot of additional people. You would need quality po

      • On the other side... I am willing to bet that both US Navy and Russian Navy are sitting on a bunch of highly classified charts of significant chunks of the ocean floor for use on their subs.

        You're absolutely right of course, they have detailed charts created using submarine differential gravitimeter data (submarines never turn on a sonar on patrol). But the data is generally only for submarine patrol areas and, as you say, highly classified and thus unavailable for most uses including most U.S. Navy uses. A separate public data set would still be highly valuable to many people.

  • There goes Real World Atlantis.
    • Do we have to? putting that show on the bottom of the ocean still doesn't sound like a bad idea to me.

  • They were talking about this on the radio this morning, making it sound like Atlantis was found and totally confirmed. I like the idea of mapping the ocean floor. I doubt they could really do it for a reasonable price though.... and why bother, Google's probably already mapping it :)
  • Santorini (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spiedrazer ( 555388 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2009 @12:38PM (#26982987) Homepage
    Many readers may already know this, but Atlantis has most likely already been found, as near as we humans will probably ever be able to tell anyway.

    If there was an actual place and society that inspired the fictional tale of morals and corruption spun by Plato, it was most likely the Minoan civlization on Santorini and Crete from around 1600 BC. It was an advanced (for the time) civilization wiped out (or at least dispersed forever) by the cataclismic eruption of the caldera that formed the ring structured island. This link has oner of the better discussions of the issue without all the hyperbol and passion that many 'seekers' often display.

  • How big and expensive does an echo sounder have to be? Would it be feasible to fit them to medium/small slocum gliders and just let them random-walk their way around the ocean, beaming back (or storing) GPS and depth data?

  • So if Mars is better mapped than the Terran oceans, where is Google Mars?
  • When I was a kid I was taught in school that Antartica is all ice. Basically, a continental iceberg. When we looked under there with sonar we discovered a lost continent submerged under a thousand feet of (frozen) water. When we mapped the coastline as it would be if you removed the ice, we found that same coastline on ancient maps.

    What more do you need? How many lost continents do we have to find?

    • I used to work with somebody who was mapping the ground under the Antarctic ice cap with radar. The idea is you mount the radar on a sled pointing straight down and tow it along the surface. Then you take your data back to the lab and use interferometry to deduce the shape of the surface.

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.