The Intractable Autodidact

You are your own best teacher

The Island Can Only Be Found by Those Not Seeking It

While perusing CNN for anything of interest this headline grabbed my attention:

“An ‘Undiscovered’ South Pacific Island”

How could I not read this!? There are thousands of little islands out there, and many are not very well studied or mapped, particularly in the vast Pacific and the inhospitable Arctic. Especially if they are only islands part of the time, and submerged at other times — still a great hazard to ships.

CNN’s typical hyperbolic and often ungrammatical headlines regularly mislead me into clicking on links leading to nothing of real interest, but this time was different. It turns out an island listed on many charts and maps (including Google Earth) just doesn’t exist! Sandy Island (or Sable Island) was supposed to sit between Australia and New Caledonia. And an expedition researching plate tectonics noticed the island was missing from some charts, but not others, so they checked it out for themselves. It ain’t there!

I think I’d be more excited about discovering a previously unknown landmass, but this is still pretty fascinating. It buoys my spirits to see modern maps, charts, and even Google can be wrong. We don’t know all about the Earth. We can still discover even the most basic things, like pieces of land that aren’t!

There are lots of stories like this in exploration and geography. Phantom Islands of the Atlantic is a nice quick read about, well, phantom islands of the Atlantic. Some of them were on maps until fairly recently, but none of them exist. Some may have been shoals or low-lying islands that were later inundated by the sea — a fate we all may be headed for.

More on the recent undiscovery of Sandy Island:

Auckland Museum Blog

The Epoch Times

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4 comments on “The Island Can Only Be Found by Those Not Seeking It

  1. JR Ledesma
    November 28, 2012

    It’s like history….there are many historical events that simply did not occur they way we think they occured. It is part of a historical cartography that often times points us in the wrong direction.

  2. Fork in My Eye
    December 7, 2012

    What an awesome little mystery. You have to wonder what the crew of the Velocity actually found in 1876.

    • kentiki
      December 9, 2012

      Oooh now i wanna research that!

  3. Pingback: Ocean Rocks Part Two — Ball’s Pyramid | The Intractable Autodidact

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