Sandy Island, New Caledonia

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Sandy Island
Île de Sable

Landsat satellite image showing the island's supposed location.
Sandy Island New Caledonia 2.jpg
Cercle rouge 100%.svg


Geography
Coordinates19°13′S 159°56′E / 19.22°S 159.93°E / -19.22; 159.93Coordinates: 19°13′S 159°56′E / 19.22°S 159.93°E / -19.22; 159.93
Length15 mi (24 km)
Width3 mi (5 km)
Country
NCL
Demographics
Population0
 
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Sandy Island
Île de Sable

Landsat satellite image showing the island's supposed location.
Sandy Island New Caledonia 2.jpg
Cercle rouge 100%.svg


Geography
Coordinates19°13′S 159°56′E / 19.22°S 159.93°E / -19.22; 159.93Coordinates: 19°13′S 159°56′E / 19.22°S 159.93°E / -19.22; 159.93
Length15 mi (24 km)
Width3 mi (5 km)
Country
NCL
Demographics
Population0

Sandy Island (sometimes labelled in French: Île de Sable) is a non-existent island that was charted for over a century as lying between Australia and New Caledonia in the Coral Sea. Google Maps displayed the island[1][2] until 26 November 2012, when it was removed. On Google Earth's default view the island area is covered by black pixels, but the program's historical imagery feature has a satellite image of the southern portion taken by DigitalGlobe on 3 March 2009 showing a darkened sea.

A claim that the island does not exist was made by some amateur radio enthusiasts on a DX-pedition in April 2000.[3][4] They noted that it was shown on some maps, but not on others such as the 1999 Times Atlas of the World, 10th Edition.[4] A discovery of the island's absence was again made on 22 November 2012 by Australian scientists aboard the RV Southern Surveyor studying plate tectonics in the area. During the voyage, they noticed a discrepancy between different maps and decided to sail to the supposed location to investigate. The crew found no island and recorded depths never less than 1,300 metres (4,300 ft).[5][6][2] They found that "The ocean floor actually didn't ever get shallower than 1,300 meters below the wave base…"[7]

An early appearance of Sandy Island at this location, on an UK Hydrographic Office 1908 nautical chart that had several editions throughout the last quarter of the 19th century.[8]

The status of the purported island became the subject of discussion on scientific mailing lists such as GMT-HELP in late November 2012.[9] The Australian Hydrographic Service, a department of the Royal Australian Navy, said that mapping an island as a copyright trap—a practice in cartography to place a fictitious "trap street" on a map for the purpose of trapping potential copyright violators—would not have been standard practice with nautical charts, and its appearance may be simply due to human error.[5]

On 29 November 2012, the National Geographic Society announced that it was officially striking Sandy Island from its maps. "The Geographer" at National Geographic, Juan Valdes, said, "Full evidence has finally been presented. "Sandy Island" has now been officially stricken from all National Geographic map products".[10]

The Auckland Museum found the island on a 1908 British Admiralty chart, with a notation attributing its charting to a whaler Velocity in the year 1876.[11][12][8] After returning from a voyage in the Pacific, the ship's master reported two unusual features. The first was a series of "heavy breakers", the second some "Sandy Islets", or Sandy Island. Both then appeared in an Australian maritime directory for 1879. It noted the islets extended north and south "along the meridian 159º 57' E" and "between lat 19º 7' S and 19º 20' S".[13]

In 1774, published on a 1776 map available in the David Rumsey Map Collection, Captain James Cook charted a "Sandy Island" 420 kilometers due east at virtually the same latitude, and at just less than 164 degrees of longitude (rather than just less than 160 degrees of longitude for the phantom "Sandy Island" on charts and maps after 1876). French maps from 1826 and 1875 show "Ile de Sable(s)" at the location of Cook's "Sandy Island".[14]

If the island had existed, it would have been within French territorial waters.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Scientists un-discover Pacific island". 3 News NZ. 23 November 2012. http://3news.co.nz/Scientists-un-discover-Pacific-island/tabid/417/articleID/277808/Default.aspx. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Scientists un-discover Pacific island". University of Sydney. 23 November 2012. http://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newscategoryid=2&newsstoryid=10619.
  3. ^ "Sandy 'Marie Celeste' Island undiscovered - again: Radio hams beat science by a decade". The Register. 22 November 2012. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/22/undiscovered_sandy_island/. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  4. ^ a b "TXØDX challenges National Geographic (Bulletin 16)". TXØDX. 10 April 2000. http://www.n4gn.com/tx0dx/16.html. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  5. ^ a b c "South Pacific Sandy Island 'proven not to exist'". BBC News. 22 November 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20442487. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  6. ^ "The Pacific island that never was". The Guardian. 22 November 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/22/sandy-island-missing-google-earth. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  7. ^ "The mystery of the missing island". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 November 2012. http://media.smh.com.au/news/world-news/the-mystery-of-the-missing-island-3815346.html. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  8. ^ a b Richard Chirgwin (25 November 2012). "Sandy Island does exist - on a 1908 chart". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/25/sandy_island_seen_in_1908_chart/. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  9. ^ GMT-HELP mailing list. 22 November 2012. https://listserv.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1211&L=GMT-HELP&T=0&F=&S=&X=5A5927734D113E3E2F&P=105110.
  10. ^ Juan José Valdes (29 November 2012). "Sandy Island (Île de Sable or Île de Sables): The Island That Never Was". National Geographic. http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/11/29/sandy-island-ile-de-sable-or-ile-de-sables-the-island-that-never-was/. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  11. ^ Eli MacKinnon (2012-11-27). "Google's phantom island may have 19th-century roots". FOX News. http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/11/27/google-phantom-island/?intcmp=obnetwork. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  12. ^ Shaun Higgins (2012-11-23). "The mystery of an island that isn't there". Auckland Museum. http://blog.aucklandmuseum.com/2012/11/the-mystery-of-an-island-that-isnt-there/. Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  13. ^ Luke Harding (29 Nov 2012). "Sandy Island: whaling ship behind land that proved not ahoy". http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/29/sandy-island-whaling-ship-origin. Retrieved 30 Nov 2012.
  14. ^ Maps of Sandy Island through history

External links