Scientists say Google Earth island in Pacific doesn’t exist

Sandy Island lies between Australia and New Caledonia, according to Google Earth. Reality is different.

(Credit: Google Earth)

If you thought Apple’s Maps app might steer you wrong, just watch out if you’re navigating the South Pacific with Google Maps.

It and Google Earth, as well as marine maps and charts, show a feature west of New Caledonia that Australian scientists say is a phantom island.

Sandy Island looks like a gaping hole in the Coral Sea. About 16 miles long, north to south, it could make the perfect beach nirvana.

But the University of Sydney scientists found only ocean 4,620 feet deep when they went to the site while on a research expedition. The depth would preclude the island sinking.

“We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on-board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400 meters in that area — very deep,” geoscience postdoctoral fellow Maria Seton was quoted as saying by AFP news.

“It’s on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We’re really puzzled. It’s quite bizarre.

“How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don’t know, but we plan to follow up and find out.”

Relate… [Read more]

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