Monday, December 12, 2022

Something About Disappearing Islands

How can we be wrong? Sail away with them to another world!

Lewis Barnavelt fans may remember Gnomon Island, an island near Porcupine Bay in the waters of Lake Superior as visited in The Tower at the End of the World (2001).  It's not there all the time, though, because the nefarious Ishmael Izard controls the island's ability to disappear and reappear.

Remember being asked what one superpower you wish you could possess?  How many of you wished you had the power of invisibility?  Or to bestow the power of invisibility on other people or things?  What if you could make something like Gnomon Island disappear?  

I read something recently that reminded me of Gnomon Island.  Sandy Island, located near New Caledonia in the South Pacific, has disappeared.  Though from what I can tell, it was never there in the first place.

The Unsolved Mysteries of the World blog recently explained some of the island's history:
Sandy Island was first reported by the whaling ship Velocity in 1876 and first mentioned on a British Admiralty chart in 1908. But future expeditions failed to find the island, and it was removed from some official hydrographic charts by the 1970s.

The island gained wide media and public attention in November 2012 when scientists from the University of Sydney using the R/V Southern Surveyor (an Australian research ship) passed through the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea. The island was quickly removed from many maps and data sets, including those of the National Geographic Society and Google Maps.
...
Australian newspapers have reported that the invisible island would sit within French territorial waters if it existed - but does not feature on French government maps.

Australia's Hydrographic Service, which produces the country's nautical charts, says its appearance on some scientific maps and Google Earth could just be the result of human error, repeated down the years. The British Society of Cartographer’s president Danny Dorling told the Guardian that it is still possible the island does exist nearby - and that someone may have found an island but ‘put it in the wrong location’.
How many islands have you heard about being put in the wrong location?

No comments: