Home Terra Australis Incognita Terra Australis Incognita - 4. Terra Australis on the ocean floor
Article Index
Terra Australis Incognita
1. Description of Atlantis, the sunken continent
2. What one would be looking for ...
3. Ancient maps showing a vast continent that no longer exists
4. Terra Australis on the ocean floor
5. How did Atlantis sink?
6. The main obstacle - ice core dating
7. The lakes in the middle of the Sahara desert
8. The arbitrary discovery of islands in the Atlantic Ocean
9. Greenland ice free?
10. The Atlanteans and the Jews in Egypt
11. The Burka and the Original Sin?
12. The Garden of Eden in Egypt
13. Conclusion
14. References
All Pages

4. Terra Australis on the ocean floor

Comparing the last form of Terra Australis (the C-shaped map) to a NASA bathymetry image11 of the South Pole, one is immediately struck by the close correlation between Australia and sub-marine New Zealand and the end points of the C-shaped Terra Australis (Figure 4).

Figure 4. End points of C-shaped Terra Australis compared to Australia and sub-marine New Zealand

Also evident from the NASA bathymetry map is the high-lying sub-marine region, called Regio Patalis on some maps of Terra Australis (e.g. Schöner’s 1533 globe) which connects Australia and New Zealand. If the entire region had once been above sea level, it would match the ring-shaped continent (Vatican map) shown in Figure 1.

The correlation between the C-shaped map of Terra Australis and actual geography does not end here.A huge lake is shown in the middle of the Australian end of the C-shaped Terra Australis, but no such lake exists in Australia today. In order to establish whether such a lake might have existed had Terra Australis received sufficient rainfall, I digitally filled up the low-lying region on the NASA topography map of Australia 12 (overlaid onto a Geoscience Australia bathymetry map 13), which, as shown in Figure 5, resulted in a huge lake corresponding in size and location of the Terra Australis lake (Figure 6). The Geoscience map is plotted in Lambert conical conformal projection, whereas the NASA topography map is in Mercator projection. The dark blue areas in Figure 6 are not covered in the original Geoscience map, which was converted to Mercator projection. Returning to Figure 6, even the mountain ranges agree relatively well (Figure 7). The lake on Schöner’s 1515 map is incidentally inscribed as “the lake in the mountains”, which would only make sense if the entire region surrounding the lake was considered to be part of a mountain range. This would have been the case if the inhabited central plateau on the medieval maps had been 4000 m above its present level. In other words, before Atlantis ‘sank beneath the ocean’, Australia would have been more than 4000 m higher than it is today.


Figure 5. ‘Lake’ being filled up until flow-over occurs

Figure 6. Digitally filled lake which would exist should Australia receive continuous, pouring rain.

Figure 7. Mountains on the 515 Schöner map superimposed onto a NASA Digital Elevation Map of Australia

The digitally created lake overflows in Australia’s Spencer Gulf and the sub-marine canyons on the edge of the continental shelf plunge to the ocean floor 4000 m below sea level.The reason for choosing this particular seabed profile (the Geoscience map) is the high resolution in which it is presented, as shown in Figure 8. The most prominent feature of the graded slope between the Australian continent and the ocean floor 4000 to 6000 m below is the presence of numerous submarine canyons. The canyons at the mouth of the Spencer Gulf canyon (region A) are more concentrated and significantly deeper than those further away to the sides (regions B and C), suggesting the presence of a sloped waterfall of incredible proportions. The colour altitude scale of the map is somewhat misleading - the slope is about 4 km (drop) over a range of 40 km to more than 100 km. Figure 9 shows a 3D bathymetric view of western Australia, emphasizing the steep continental slopes. Other areas of the continental shelf display similar canyons, as can be seen on the insert in Figure 8 - this represents the top left corner of Figure 6. Plato described Atlantis as having numerous lakes and rivers in the mountains and that a ditch or canal had to be dug around (parts of) the plain to receive the streams coming down the mountain, to channel the water to the sea. One can imagine the streams that would have been running down these steep slopes, had the region been exposed to intense and continuous rainfall.

Figure 8. Canyons formed by water rushing downward from the central lake to the plateau below

Figure 9. 3D bathymetric view of western Australia14,15

The submarine canyons along the continental shelf of Australia could in my opinion only have been carved out over millions of years by water running from the continental shelf down to the plateau 4000 m below, meaning that the entire area shown in Figure 6 had once been above water. The modern theory is that these canyons were formed through the turbidity currents16, which are described in the Encyclopedia Britannica as

“underwater density current(s) of abrasive sediments. Such currents appear to be relatively short-lived, transient phenomena that occur at great depths. They are thought to be caused by the slumping of sediment that has piled up at the top of the continental slope, particularly at the heads of submarine canyons. Slumping of large masses of sediment creates a dense slurry, which then flows down the canyon to spread out over the ocean floor and deposit a layer of sand in deep water. Repeated deposition forms submarine fans, analogous to the alluvial fans found at the mouths of river canyons. Sedimentary rocks that are thought to have originated from ancient turbidity currents are called turbidites.”

This theory appears to have been developed due to the absence of a mechanism other than conventional river flow to explain how these canyons were formed 17,18, and is depicted in Figure 10.

Figure 10. Formation of submarine canyons by turbidity currents19

There is no question that turbidity currents do appear in nature, but it is unlikely that these currents would have been able to carve the immense sub-marine canyons on the Australian continental shelf. As an example, a sub-marine canyon runs down New Zealand’s Bounty Trough (Figure 11), and this canyon was supposedly also carved by turbidity currents. The canyon is about 900 km long and ends at a depth of about 7 km. This gives an average slope of only 0.4ö, and we are expected to accept that the turbidite deposits kept on rolling and carving into the ocean floor for 900 km, amid ocean cross currents.The turbidity currents will lose speed as the depth increases and the heavier, abrasive particles will be deposited near the continental shelf. Other forms of sedimentary erosion of the canyon must certainly be equally unlikely. The only logical explanation is that this canyon must have been formed by a river cutting through the rock of the Bounty Trough. In other words, it must have been above sea level.

Figure 11. Sub-marine canyon running down New Zealand’s Bounty Trough

An even better example disproving the theory that turbidity currents formed the submarine canyons all around the world is given by the Agadir canyon on the west coast of Africa, as shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12. Topography of the Agadir submarine canyon20

Here it is assumed that turbidity currents not only formed this majestic canyon, but that it also continued to ‘’flow’ across hundreds of kilometres of ocean floor of which the gradient is a fraction of a degree.

When I proposed my Terra-Australis-was-Atlantis theory on related forums, I was quickly asked whether I really believe that all submarine canyons around the world must have been above sea level at the time of the impact, which of course would not have been the case, and I had no answer. In my theory I propose that the crust of the earth around Antarctica must have been at least 4000 m higher before the impact of a comet forced it downward underneath the sea. Apart from the associated flood, the rest of the world would not have suffered similar consequences. So, if I reject the turbidity current theory (in my opinion it is absurd in the case of the Bounty Trough and even more so in the case of the Agadir Canyon, where turbidity currents are supposed to have carried landslide debris underwater over the ocean floor for close to 1800 km, at an average slope of less than 0.01ö), but cannot explain how submarine canyons elsewhere were formed, does it automatically dismiss my Terra Australis theory?

I simply had no answer until it eventually dawned on me that the answer may indeed be that all submarine canyons around the world were once above sea level, or at least, sea level as we understand it today. That time would have been when the surface of the earth was still too hot for any water to accumulate on its lower surfaces. All the water of the ocean would effectively have existed in the atmosphere, in a billion-year-long cycle of water vapour condensing in the upper atmosphere, falling down to the continents in the form of rain, running down the edges of the continental shelves and cutting deep canyons in it, and being evaporated again when it reaches the terrifically hot ocean floor (see Figure 13). This would have continued until the crust of the earth had cooled down enough for the oceans to begin forming. In the end most of the water in the atmosphere condensed and the oceans were flooded, covering the canyons cut into the continental shelves hundreds of millions of years earlier, and leaving on the ocean floor billions upon billions of tons of sand.

As I am not a geologist, I would much appreciate the opinion of experts in the field of submarine geology on this new hypothesis. Has it ever been considered or proposed elsewhere as the forming agent of submarine canyons around the world? If not, how would they explain the formation of the Bounty Trough and Agadir submarine canyons, where turbidity currents very clearly could not have formed them, but only free-running water?

Figure 13. Suggested formation of submarine canyons in continental shelves all over the world, billions of years ago

That the southern region of the earth was indeed more than 4000 m higher sometime in the recent past, and by implication that maps of this region must have existed, is suggested by the 1570 world maps of Ortelius21 and Mercator (1569)22, which both show a curious bulge of the western coast of South America. As shown in Figure 14, there is a matching ‘bulge’ on the ocean floor. What on earth would have possessed Mercator to draw this curious shape, unless he had access to ancient maps depicting the region before it ‘sank’?

Figure 14. Mercator’s 1569 World Map with South America’s west coast bulge on the ocean floor


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