Missing Pacific island riddle solved, researcher says

Dec 03, 2012
Aussie scientists un-discover Pacific island
The supposed 'Sandy Island' as seen on Google Earth.

A New Zealand researcher Monday claimed to have solved the riddle of a mystery South Pacific island shown on Google Earth and world maps which does not exist, blaming a whaling ship from 1876.

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

The Times Atlas of the World appears to identify it as Sable Island, but according to who went searching last month during a geological expedition it could not be found.

Intrigued, Shaun Higgins, a researcher at Auckland Museum, started investigating and claimed it never existed, with a whaling ship the source of the original error.

"As far as I can tell, the island was recorded by the whaling ship the Velocity," Higgins told ABC radio, adding that the ship's master reported a series of "heavy breakers" and some "sandy islets".

"My supposition is that they simply recorded a hazard at the time. They might have recorded a low-lying reef or thought they saw a reef. They could have been in the wrong place. There is all number of possibilities," he said.

"But what we do have is a dotted shape on the map that's been recorded at that time and it appears it's simply been copied over time."

This November 22, 2012 photo illustration shows a computer screen displaying the Google Maps location of Sandy Island, which Australian scientists said last month did not exist. It now appears to have been removed from Google Maps.

News of the invisible island sparked debate on social media at the time, with tweeters pointing out that Sandy Island was also on Yahoo Maps as well as Bing Maps.

On abovetopsecret.com, discussions were robust with one poster claiming he had confirmed with the French hydrographic office that it was indeed a phantom island and was supposed to have been removed from charts in 1979.

told AFP last month it always welcomed feedback on maps and "continuously explore(s) ways to integrate new information from our users and authoritative partners into ".

It appears that Sandy Island has now been taken off its .

Explore further: NASA balloons begin flying in Antarctica for 2014 campaign

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Aussie scientists un-discover Pacific island

Nov 22, 2012

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.

Google drawn into S. Korea-Japan island dispute

Oct 25, 2012

South Korea on Thursday lashed out at Google for changing the name of an isolated set of islands at the centre of a territorial dispute with Japan on its English-language web mapping service.

Google merges online and offline worlds in Maps

Aug 08, 2012

Google on Wednesday took another step in its quest to merge the Internet with the real world with Maps and put itself at the heart of mobile gadget lifestyles in the process.

Google Maps taking viewers inside shops

Nov 01, 2011

Google's free online map service is letting shops, gyms, restaurants and other small businesses provide viewers glimpses of what lies behind facades seen on Street View.

Recommended for you

Scientists make strides in tsunami warning since 2004

20 hours ago

The 2004 tsunami led to greater global cooperation and improved techniques for detecting waves that could reach faraway shores, even though scientists still cannot predict when an earthquake will strike.

Trade winds ventilate the tropical oceans

21 hours ago

Long-term observations indicate that the oxygen minimum zones in the tropical oceans have expanded in recent decades. The reason is still unknown. Now scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research ...

User comments : 8

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PoppaJ
1 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2012
My question that no source has touched on is. Why the black out on what is there? What is actually being hidden?
bearly
1 / 5 (4) Dec 03, 2012
When I zoomed in on it I thought its outline resembled a huge aircraft carrier. It's obvious something is there they blacked out.
VendicarD
3.3 / 5 (7) Dec 03, 2012
Coverup and Conspiracy.

This so called non-existent island is actually the base of operations of the Illuminati and their bigfoot brothers in crime.

I know this is true cause I done did read it on a ConservaTard blog run by a scientist janitor from Texas.
A_Paradox
not rated yet Dec 03, 2012
Didn't Dr Doolittle have something to do with all this?
drel
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 03, 2012
A phantom island - Humm.... Lovecraft, the chapter "Madness from the Sea" from The call of Cthulhu. I'm just saying....
alanborky
1 / 5 (2) Dec 03, 2012
There's a long history going back centuries of mariners recording the locations of newly discovered islands which others've subsequently reported as being absent/non-existent only for still others to subsequently claim they've rediscovered them.

Contrary to the opinion of most landlubbers mariners're not the tall tale tellers or fools which's so often used to explain away many of their odder accounts.

They've always lived and died on being able to trust their own senses and each other's data.

Centuries old accounts of gigantic waves and glowing seas mocked as superstitious nonsense've subsequently been vindicated.

Islands which disappear then reappear may prove to be accounts of some as yet unsupected phenomenon.
ckid
not rated yet Dec 08, 2012
Isn't this the island where Oceanic Flight 815, a flight from Sidney to Los Angeles crashed? As we know from the TV show Lost, the island keeps moving. To find the island, you have to go to the Darhma Initiative Lampost station located under a church in Los Angeles to determine the current location.
Hot Rod
not rated yet Dec 09, 2012
It may be the same island that Jules Verne used in some of his novels, check out 'Maria Theresia Island' and 'Tabor Island'.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.