Atlantis Found on Google Earth? You Decide

Atlantis was found Friday — and then lost again to the ocean waves.

London's Sun tabloid proclaimed Friday morning that an aeronautical engineer from Chester in northwestern England had discovered the fabled lost city using the armchair geographer's favorite tool — Google Earth.

A strange pattern in the ocean floor off the western coast of Africa looked a lot like an ancient city street grid, and the Sun even said it was in the location "seemingly suggested by the ancient philosopher Plato."

"Even if it turns out to be geographical, this definitely deserves a closer look," New York State Museum archaeologist Charles Orser told the Sun.

But the jubilation was to be short-lived.

Within hours, a Google spokeswoman told one of the Sun's rivals — it's not clear which one — that "what users are seeing is an artefact of the data-collection process."

"Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor," the unnamed spokeswoman explained. "The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data. The fact that there are blank spots between each of these lines is a sign of how little we really know about the world's oceans."

At least Bernie Bamford, the man who temporarily thought he'd made an earth-shattering discovery, wasn't entirely wrong.

"It must be man-made," he told the Sun.

• Click here to read the Sun's account.

• Click here to read the Daily Mail shoot it down.

• Click here to visit's Archaeology Center.