Sandy Island: The "ghost island" of Australia that disappeared in 2012


There is a "ghost island" off the coast of Australia that lives like a ghost on Google Maps – and there are confusing experts.

The mysterious Sandy Island has been mapped since 1774 as being located in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, but you will not find it on Google Maps today.

Instead, you will see a faint outline of what looks like a long, thin island – but with no land mass in sight.

media_cameraThe mysterious Sandy Island is a "ghost" mapping, and only appears in Google Maps as a faint outline.

The history of Sandy Island begins on September 15, 1774, when Captain James Cook mapped a Sandy I in the east of the Coral Sea, on the northeast coast of Australia.

It was published in Cook's Letter of Discovery made in the South Pacific Ocean in 1776.

Historically, it was believed that the island was 24 miles long and five miles wide – a hard thing to lose, basically.

media_cameraThis nautical chart of the UK Hydrographic Office of 1908 is one of the first appearances of Sandy Island. Image: R.C. Carrington, Hydrographic Office

A hundred years later – in 1876 – a whaling ship called Velocity also reported Sandy Island. This was observed in several maps of the 19th century of Great Britain and Germany.

Eventually, sea charts began to change maps with the letters ED (for "dubious existence") after several trips failed to identify the island where it was mapped.

The French Hydrographic Service removed the island from its nautical charts in 1979. But the real "discovery" occurred on November 22, 2012 when Australian R / V Southern Surveyor scientists could not find Sandy Island.

media_cameraThe island is supposedly northeast of Australia.

The crew also recorded ocean depths, which were never below 4,300 feet – suggesting that there was no chance of an island lurking just below the waves.

On November 26, 2012, Google removed the island from its Google Maps service. However, there is an increase in the sea bed visible in the satellite view of Google Maps.

So what's the official explanation for Sandy Island?

It does not exist, because no one can say with 100 percent certainty what Captain Cook saw so many years ago. The best theory is that the island may have been marine pumice ferries.

These are masses of floating pumice stones that have been expelled from underwater volcanoes and then move on the surface.

These rafts can sometimes travel thousands of miles.

It is possible that what Captain Cook and the Velocity later saw were pumice rafts making a slow journey across the Pacific Ocean.

You can check out Sandy Island by yourself here: 19.22 ° S 159.93 ° E

This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.

Originally published as Strange history of Phantom Island off Australia


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