Riddle of Missing Pacific Island Solved
A South Pacific island identified on Google Earth, now blacked out, never existed. Credit: Google Maps
New Zealand researcher 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.
landmass in the Coral Sea 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 Australian
scientists 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.
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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."
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.
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 Google Maps".
It appears that Sandy Island has now been taken off its map.
– by AFP