Home Terra Australis Incognita Terra Australis Ingonita - 5 How did Atlantis sink?
Article Index
Terra Australis Ingonita
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 Conclusion
11 References
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5 How did Atlantis sink?

According to Plato, Atlantis disappeared under the waters of the ocean within a single day. Is it possible for a continent to sink 4 km below sea level in one day? There are probably only two possibilities – either an impact by a huge comet or asteroid, or continental drift resulting in a sudden movement of overlapping continental shelves. Either way, the result would have been a massive tsunami, which no doubt was the Great Flood as recorded in the Bible23 and in numerous similar but entirely independent legends in other cultures24,25. The biblical26 and other27 creation myths must surely be based on the aftermath of the comet impact and the Great Flood, which respectively caused darkness over the entire planet and left mud everywhere after the flood waters had receded.  This flood would have wiped out almost all forms of life on earth, including the Greeks in their low-lying country. According to the Bible, God warned Noah about the impending flood and Noah obediently built an Ark as instructed. Torrential rain that lasted for 40 days brought the flood and only Noah and his family survived. The fact that Noah was ‘warned’ precludes a flood caused by tectonic movement, as there is no way of knowing when a slip between two continental plates will occur. On the other hand, one can clearly see a comet approaching if it is close enough. It may also have been observed long before and depending on how long the Atlantean civilization had existed, it is possible that they may have been able to calculate the most likely time of impact, like we can do today.

The tail of a comet always points away from the sun28, and if a comet was approaching the earth 12 000 years ago from the direction of the sun, its tail would have entered the atmosphere of the earth before the final impact. The tail of a comet can be hundreds of millions of kilometres long, so it is possible that the Atlanteans long observed the meteor shower which occurred when the tail began moving through the atmosphere of the earth.  They realized that they had to leave their motherland, hence the numerous ‘Noah and the Ark’ legends.  Only in boats and ships would they be safe, as the tsunami would form a giant wave in the middle of the ocean on which their ships would be able to survive. Only when the tsunami reached land would it have caused total destruction.

If the earth had been struck by a comet big enough to have nearly extinguished all forms of life on earth, there must certainly be a crater or other evidence of such an impact. Furthermore, with Terra Australis having been identified as Atlantis, one would expect this impact to have occurred either on or near this continent. Figure 15 shows South America as depicted by Mercator and Ortelius, along with a WorldSat bathymetry image of South America29. Immediately obvious is the fact that the narrow strait separating South America and Terra Australis on the maps has been replaced by a huge gap, the Drake Passage. Underneath the waters of the Drake Passage lies the Scotia Plate, a more detailed image of which is shown in Figure 16. The Scotia Plate appears to present the crater formed by a comet striking the earth at a low angle from the west, and the fractured continental blocks on the ocean floor suggest that it had penetrated through the crust of the earth. If this is true, one can understand how the crust of the earth could have been forced down by 4000 m or more. This would then explain how an entire continent could ‘sink’ below the waters of the ocean in an instant. The continent of Antarctica, which would have formed part of Terra Asutarlis Incognita, lies high above sea level, which would seem to contradict that part of Terra Australis forming part of the central plain. However, it may simply have been an extremely high part of Terra Australis, or alternatively it may have been raised to its current altitude as a result of the impact.  

Figure 15. South America on early world maps compared to MODIS bathymetry image

Figure 16. Google Earth image of the Scotia Plate

That a comet impact occurred near Southern America is suggest by geographical and archaeological anomalies like millions of fossilized sea shells littered around Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia, 3812 m above sea level30.  Although Hancock argues that this area must have been below sea level before the cataclysm which led to the upheaval of the continent, a more likely scenario is that these shells and other evidence of marine life was the result of the massive splash when the comet ploughed into the ocean.  It is interesting to note that some Creationists have been arguing that the Grand Canyon was formed by the Great Flood of the Bible. The impact of a comet at the Scotia Plate would have created a tsunami that would probably have been high enough to do just.  It should be noted that the sea passage between South America and Terra Australis appears to have been known to mapmakers long before the discovery of a passage around the southern tip of South America by Magellan in 152031 (for instance on Schöner’s 1515 globe). According to tradition Magellan had only a partial drawing of the channel on his journey, having memorized the other part for fear of the map falling into Spanish hands (see Section 8).

Another strange phenomenon we observe today is the fact that the magnetic North and South Poles are not co-located with the geographic North and South Poles.  The magnetic poles are defined by a wandering point where the earth’s geomagnetic field lines are directed vertically upwards32. The earth’s magnetic field lines are presumably formed over millions of years by the rotation of earth and the magnetization of the molten iron alloys in the Earth’s outer core33, but presumably also of the iron alloys in the mantle and crust.  One would therefore expect the magnetic and geographic poles to align perfectly. However, the impact of the comet into the crust and upper mantle of the earth, which ‘floats’ on the outer core, could easily have resulted in the crust moving relative to the outer core. The wandering effect of the magnetic North and South Poles may be seen as the steady re-alignment of the earth’s magnetic field with its geometrical axis.

It is also interesting to note that the North Magnetic Pole is estimated be located at  82.7öN 114.4öW and the South Magnetic Pole at 64.5öS 137.9öE34. The North Magnetic Pole therefore is about 812 km removed from the geographical North Pole, while the South Magnetic Pole is a massive 2838 km from the geometric South Pole. Assuming that the South Magnetic Pole was located at the geometrical South Pole before the impact, an impact at the Scotia Plate seems to have moved the crust and therefore the magnetic poles in the direction and to the position shown in Figure 17. The entire crust would have rotated in that direction and this appears to be confirmed by the direction of movement of the North Magnetic Pole. The fact that the North Magnetic Pole moved a significantly smaller distance can probably be explained by the likelihood that the continental plates in the south would have moved relative to each other much more than in the north.  For all we know the slow wobbling of the earth around its axis every 26 000 years, a process known as precession35, may also have been caused by this impact. It must certainly be more than coincidence that the earth’s precession angle (Figure 18) is 23.5ö corresponding to a latitude of 66.5ö, very close to the South Pole latitude of 64.5ö. Either way, the ancients remembered that the relative position of the stars had changed after the flood36, which would confirm a change in the orientation of the earth relative to the stars.

                         South Magnetic Pole                               North Magnetic Pole                    
Figure 17. Movement of magnetic poles after impact

Figure 18. Precession of the earth37

It should be noted that the movement of the crust and magnetic poles to its present position would not have been instantaneous. Instead, the impact would have caused an initial impetus in that direction and the continental shelves would eventually have come to rest in the present location.