Weekend crossword: how a fake island tricked Google Maps

Sandy Island was first recorded by the whaling ship Velocity in 1876.
Image Credit: Google Maps

At the end of 2012, the island of Sandy, which was supposed to be located in the region between Australia and New Caledonia, was “undiscovered”. In other words, it has been declared that it does not exist.

Click Start to play the weekend crossword, which explores the names of all the imaginary lines around the Earth that people have agreed to, as a standard in geography.

In the old days, explorers traveled on ships to uncharted territory in the hope of finding new lands and establishing settlements. But in the South Pacific, a mysterious island that had appeared on maps (even Google Maps) and appeared as a black polygon on Google Earth, must have experienced the opposite – an “undiscovered” or removing all charts – because when a group of Australian scientists sailed there they found open water instead of land.

But how does a supposed island make its way across the maps when in reality it doesn’t exist?

According to an April 2013 report published on the US science news site LiveScience, Sandy Island was first recorded by the whaler Velocity in 1876, and was first mentioned on a British Admiralty map. in 1908. But as several expeditions failed to find the island. , it was removed from some official maps related to the region in the 1970s. Yet it has remained on other maps and made its way into digital databases, such as the World Vector Shoreline Database, developed by the US Army.

So what did the Velocity crew see?

Some scientists believe they mistook a giant pumice raft for dirt. Pumice is formed when lava cools quickly – it traps gas inside and creates rocks so light they can float. Sandy Island sits along a pumice highway, so to speak – in 2012, an erupting underwater volcano called Havre Seamount drifted pumice off the coast of New Zealand, and it covered 22,000 square miles. Sandy Island is in the same region.

When Sandy Island was not discovered, an obituary for the island was published in newspapers around the world.

In a time when we have mapped our entire world and there isn’t much room left for discovering new lands (or even fake lands), the Sandy Island hoax was a great reminder of how our vast planet can still surprise us!

Do you know the island? Play the weekend crossword puzzle and let us know at [email protected]

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