British Papers have just managed to outdo themselves in terms of scientifically illiterate reporting. The Sun: Is this Atlantis?
The Telegraph: Google Ocean: Has Atlantis been found off Africa?
For the record, here is the spot in Google Maps:
So what is the structure? Actually, there is no structure there. It’s merely a grid of higher resolution sounding data amid a lower-resolution dataset, taken from a ship surveying the area.
The new Oceans dataset for Google Earth is the SRTM30_PLUS dataset, whose homepage clearly states:
Ocean data are based on the Smith and Sandwell global 1-minute grid between latitudes +/- 81 degrees. Higher resolution grids have been added from the LDEO Ridge Multibeam Synthesis Project, the JAMSTEC Data Site for Research Cruises, and the NGDC Coastal Relief Model. Arctic bathymetry is from the International Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (IBCAO) [Jakobsson et al., 2003].
You can see higher-resolution sounding ship paths in many places on the new dataset, especially around Antarctica, where the default resolution bathymetry is quite coarse. For example:
Especially outrageous is that for the articles in question, the only interviewed person is an Atlantis “expert” who finds the findings “fascinating”, whereas one phone-call to a serious marine scientist would have sufficed to pour cold water on this story.
I don’t know whether the Sun’s Virginia Wheeler and Rhodri Phillips are merely stupid, lazy and scientifically illiterate reporters, or whether they set out to deceive their readership. The fact that Matthew Moore at the Telegraph rewrote the story uncritically is just incredibly embarrassing.