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Lost Land of Atlantis

It was an island of “marvellous beauty” in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with a shrine surrounded by a wall of gold, and a royal palace served by warm and cold springs. Pure fantasy? Perhaps, but in Ancient Greece, somewhere around 335 BC, Plato wrote about a place called Atlantis that had all these things. It was a continent, Plato said it had contained a great civilisation, but the people had become so selfish and arrogant that the god destroyed them and their land. The continents sank under the sea. Plato’s story set off one of the longest running searches in history. For centuries, Plato’s story was regarded as just a story. Some people wondered if Atlantis would one day rise up from the depths of the ocean. Geologists and oceanographers got into the argument and pointed out that there is no evidence that there has ever been a mid-Atlantic continent. Given what we now know about the way the earth was formed, such a continent would have been impossible, they said. Many scholars believe that Plato got the idea for his Atlantis story from garbled accounts of another ancient catastrophe. Sometime around 1400 BC there was a huge volcanic explosion on the island of Thera in the Aegean Sea, not far from Greece. Part of the island sank as a result. Tidal waves and falls of volcanic ash resulting from the massive explosion caused widespread destruction throughout the region. This theory became extremely popular during l980s, but it did not convince everyone and it did not end the hunt for Atlantis.

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