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Google Maps: Mysterious location shown on maps - but experts DENY its existence

Fadu News 2018-12-06 17:02:00

Google Maps Australia: Why doesn’t the mysterious Sandy Island show up on Google? (Image: Google Maps)

Google Maps shows a very interesting feature far off the coast of Australia, near New Caledonia. There is an island there - and yet it doesn’t exist at all, so how can this be? The location is known as Sandy Island. It was first recorded in 1876 by a whaling ship called the Velocity. Sandy Island, in the South Pacific, is roughly the size of Manhattan, reported Live Science.

Google Maps Australia: Why doesn’t the mysterious Sandy Island show up on Google?

It was included on numerous charts and maps for over around one hundred years.

It even featured on the widely-used World Vector Shoreline Database, developed by the US military.

Then, in 1979, it was considered ‘undiscovered’ after scientists sailed to the island only to discover nothing there.

It continued to appear on Google Maps until November 2012, at which point Australian scientists confirmed the island did not exist.

Maria Seton, of the University of Sydney, told Live Science that she and her colleagues think that what the Velocity saw was actually a giant pumice raft - and it was never a real island at all.

Pumice occurs when volcanic lava traps gas as it rapidly cools, which creates lightweight rocks which can float.


Google Maps Australia: Sandy Island was included on numerous charts and maps for many years (Image: Auckland Museum )

It’s possible that the first voyagers saw this and believed it was a real landmass.

Shaun Higgins, a pictorial librarian at Auckland Museum, told ABC radio: “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 added: “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.”

This is far from the first island mystery recorded by Google. Far off the coast of Russia in the East Siberian Sea lies Jeanette Island - but Google users cannot see it.


Google Maps Australia: Then, in 1979 Sandy Island was considered ‘undiscovered’ (Image: Google Maps)

The island has been blurred out on Google Maps. All that can be seen is a large black smudge.

The small rock outcrop was discovered in 1881 in an expedition led by American Navy officer and explorer George E. De Long who hoped to discover open seas in the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole.

However, several years later, following the Imperial Russian Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition of 1910–1915, the Russian ambassador in London announced that Jeanette island, along with other Arctic islands, were part of the Russian Empire.

The Soviet Union later maintained their territorial claim. Administratively it now belongs to the Sakha Republic of the Russian Federation.

The US never followed up the claim made by De Long and today recognises it as Russian territory.

However, one theory to explain why the island is blurred out on Google Maps is because of the problem as to which country it could belong.