Aussie Scientists Disprove Existence Of South Pacific Island

It shows up on Google Maps, coastal databases and marine charts, but when scientists from the University of Sydney went to visit Sandy Island, it was no where to be found. Did the island, supposedly located between Australia and New Caledonia, suddenly disappear like a confusing LOST plot twist?

Unfortunately, no, that wasn't the case. Instead, the scientists had simply undiscovered the island.

They first became suspicious of its existence when they arrived at the proper coordinates only to discover a vast blue ocean and a water depth of over 1300 metres. If the island had disappeared due to erosion, there would still have been a large chunk of land mass beneath the waves. And how exactly Sandy Island made its way onto maps and charts as far back as 2000 is currently a mystery that the team from the University of Sydney is now trying to solve.

Was it simply human error? It's certainly been known to happen. Google Maps pulls its data from a variety of public and commercial sources, and unlike its fleet of Street View vehicles, it doesn't have a flotilla of boats scouring the planet's oceans for technical accuracy. So while the island still shows up in Google's database, don't expect it to be there much longer now that it's been proven to be fake. [BBC]

WATCH MORE: Science & Health News


    My guess is it's probably one of those intentional mistakes to see who is copying maps.

    Whether it was Google that stole the map or whether they were the ones that planted the mistake is another question.

      Seems a bit big for that, it's 25km long!

        bit long ? in what way ? it's a speck of sand on a beach when put into world map perspective.

        It is simply a copy mark for map makers to catch out copy cats

          Actually, the don't do this for nautical weather maps; as they come from an international database.

            I giggle at the premise of how many people have steered clear of it thinking it was there :P

    Hmm, well the Google Maps satellite image shows a black region in the shape of the island, not ocean. Maybe other satellite images actually show it? One expedition doesn't seem very scientific, what if there was a navigation error?

      Sure, lets send 100 expididtions and average the results. Do you think they got there after plugging in the co-ordinates and just gave up and u-turned out of there??

      Looks pretty suss when you view it like this:,159.962311&spn=0.915188,1.454315&t=f&z=10&ecpose=-20.10089912,159.9623447,93980.92,-0.002,44.173,0

    This might explain where all the new islands in Dubai are coming from!

      I love the idea that Dubai has been stealing islands. Tasmanians will wake up one day and suddenly be in the Middle East.

      I saw this in Reckless Kelly -

    Ah, good. I see the cloaking system is back up and running! Now you'll never find my secret lair! Mwahahahahaha!
    *leans back in chair, strokes cat*

    No such issue on Here maps...

    All they need to do is watch Lost: Season 4, Episode 14, and everything will be clear

      Since when did *any* episode of Lost *ever* make *anything* clear?

    The must have copied it off apple maps haha

      It is on apple maps! It's even rendered in 3D haha.

    Well that ruins my xmas holiday plans then...

    It is actually there, it is just "out of phase" with our reality.

    How hard is it to disprove the existence of an island though? You don't exactly need a science degree.

    Step 1: Go to co-ordinates of said island
    Step 2: Use your eyes to see if it's there or not
    Step 3: Profit!

    Dr Evil's secret lair exposed. "Fricken Google and their fricken laser beams".

    It was originally called ''Atlantis''.

    Theres a sandy island under Western Australia... Type Sandy island Australia?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now