For the last 10 years Sandy Island in the Pacific has featured on maps and satellite images, but as it lay in a little-explored region of the ocean off the sea lanes, it had few visitors.
Imagine scientists’ surprise when, on being despatched there on a survey mission, they found nothing at all, not a squeak of dry land, and over 1000 metres of water beneath them as they sailed over the island’s map co-ordinates.
So where has it gone? Was it ever there? Was it an anti-theft device used by Google Earth to catch pirates?
“It’s completely possible that it was a human error in digitising these maps at some stage and it’s just entered the databases once, and it’s stuck around inside the databases because no scientific vessels have actually been in that region for a very, very long time. It’s a very poorly explored part of the world, like much of our oceans unfortunately,” says scientist Sabin Zahirovic.
Another theory is that the island was ocean debris that had managed to collect in a mass before breaking up. The French may be upset, as it was in their waters and would have been theirs, had it existed.
Afficher Sandy Island sur une carte plus grande
Latest world news
From Jerusalem to Damascus to Moscow, Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter
Brussels airport departure hall reopens after terror attacks
Dozens killed in ISIL suicide blasts in southern Iraq
Syria: Russia ‘seeks truce for Aleppo’ after wave of deadly bombings
Collapsed Kenya building ‘had no occupancy permit’
Wires > News
- 19:08 CET German official denies report on foreign policy shift on Israel
- 18:52 CET Police fire tear gas, detain 200, in Istanbul May Day scuffles
- 18:33 CET Saudi Arabia kills two militant suspects in southwest, arrests…
- 17:57 CET Anti-immigrant AfD says Muslims not welcome in Germany
- 17:49 CET Brussels airport departure hall reopens after deadly bombings
- 17:47 CET Pope condemns paedophilia as details of girl’s death shock Italy
- 16:59 CET Donald Trump says Republican race all but over if he wins Indiana
- 16:04 CET Foreign minister reaffirms Japan’s economic ties to Thailand