An image of the ocean floor in Google Earth before (left) and after a recent update to ocean data. The updated version corrects the grid-like markings once rumored to be evidence of the lost city of Atlantis. Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Google Earth
At the National Ocean Service, we occasionally receive excited emails from folks who, while ‘navigating’ the ocean floor in Google Earth, thought per chance they had ‘discovered’ the lost city of Atlantis. Alas, while the strange grid-like patterns they found were in fact created by humans, the patterns were only made of data. In other words, there are no physical lines on the ocean floor. These lines are artifacts of the ocean floor mapping process.
Thanks to a recent update to ocean data in the Google Earth application, those grid lines are now gone and the city of Atlantis is, once again, lost.
Researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of California San Diego, NOAA, and other ocean mapping groups from around the world provided the new bathymetry data. So now the Google map you can surf online matches the map used in the research community.
We expect fewer inquiries regarding this mysterious, lost, underwater civilization…though we know some of you will still keep looking.