"There occurred violent earthquakes and floods. And in a single day and night of misfortune... the island of Atlantis disappeared in the depths of the sea."
This account, written by Plato more than 2,300 years ago, set scientists on the trail of the lost city of Atlantis. Did it ever exist? And if so, where was it located, and when did it disappear?
In a recent paper in Geology, Marc-Andre Gutscher of the European Institute for Marine Studies in Plouzané gives details of one candidate for the lost city: the submerged island of Spartel, west of the Straits of Gibraltar.
The top of this isle lies some 60 metres beneath the surface in the Gulf of Cadiz, having plunged beneath the waves at the end of the most recent ice age as melting glaciers caused the sea level to rise.
Geological evidence has shown that a large earthquake and a tsunami hit this island some 12,000 years ago, at roughly the location and time indicated in Plato's writings.
Gutscher has surveyed this island in detail, using sound waves reflected off the sea floor to map its contours1. His results bring mixed news to Atlantis hunters.
... more. The article definitely has to be read in conjunction with Kris Hirst's (About's Archaeology Guide) cogent comments and Gutscher's response therein.
Elsewhere, the World Peace Herald has a bit on that Atlantis Conference:
Researchers are no closer to finding the location of the lost city of Atlantis, saying they are confused by Plato's account of its disappearance.
Plato, more than 2,300 years ago, wrote Atlantis disappeared into the ocean in just one day after violent earthquakes and floods.
During a conference of Atlantis researchers held earlier this month in Malta, Marc-Andre Gutscher of the European Institute for Marine Studies, noted Egyptians who told Plato the Atlantis story may have used a different definition of "years," meaning the destruction of Atlantis occurred more recently than thought.
The conference reached no firm conclusions. But researchers did agree on 24 criteria a geographical area must satisfy to qualify as a site where Atlantis could have existed.
The criteria include the existence of: hot springs, northerly winds, elephants, enough people for an army of 10,000 chariots and a ritual of bull sacrifice.
Geologist Floyd McCoy of the University of Hawaii-Kaneohe said most of Plato's description of Atlantis is ambiguous and open to interpretation, Nature reported.
McCoy told the conference, "With the information we have from the ancient text, it may never be found -- if indeed it ever existed."
And, alas, the poorly-translated press releases continue ... here's just the incipit:
The expedition is directed by specialist the investigating outstanding and in languages and writings of the antiquity, Spanish-Cuban Georgeos Diaz-Montexano(1), President Founded Emeritus of the rising "Scientific Atlantology International Society" (S.A.I.S.), and creator of the Proto-genesis project. Between his objectives it is the confirmation of revealers and enigmatic data found in several texts of the antiquity. ... more
The old authors and the Atlantis
The Spanish-Cuban investigator and scriptologist Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has made very revealing discoveries that they allow to guarantee his thesis on the possible existence of an historical substrate in the story of Plato on the Island or Atlantis Peninsula or Atlantis, the one that would be according to Georgeos Diaz, in some point between the Straits of Gibraltar, the Gulf of Cádiz, the coasts of Morocco, and the Madeira Islands like possible more remote point. In their intellectual effort for to decipher definitively the enigma of the Atlantic civilization that Plato denominated with that same name, Diaz-Montexano has been able to find several references of other authors classic, previous to Plato, who give to faith of the existence of an island or peninsula that like the Atlantis Island was located just in front of the Straits of Gibraltar between Gadira or Gades, the present Cádiz, and the Atlas or coasts of Morocco.