South Pacific Island Visible on Google Maps Does Not Actually Exist

#WTF

Sat, Nov 24th, 2012 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

A bunch of scientists went to investigate a mysterious island positioned midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia, only to discover that it does not exist. Sandy Island has been "featured in publications for at least a decade." The Dharma Initiative could not be reached for comment.

Scientist Maria Seton, who was on the ship, said that the team was expecting land, not 1,400m (4,620ft) of deep ocean.

"We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400m in that area - very deep," Dr Seton, from the University of Sydney, told the AFP news agency after the 25-day voyage.

"It's on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We're really puzzled. It's quite bizarre.

"How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don't know, but we plan to follow up and find out."

This Foreign Policy article explains when and why the island appeared:

In this era of rising sea levels, it's not unusual for islands to disappear beneath the surface, but based on depth readings at the site, this island seems never to have existed. Live Science notes that a group of New Caledonian ham radio operators actually disproved the island's exitence a decade ago, but the scientific delegation from Australia should hopefully help make it official.

A librarian in New Zealand has traced the first mention of Sandy Island back to a "chart created by the Hydrographic Office of the British Admiralty in 1875".

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