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Mysterious island goes missing in the Pacific


The Australian Navy’s Hydrographic Service believes human error may be behind the mysterious disappearance of Sandy
The Australian Navy’s Hydrographic Service believes human error may be behind the mysterious disappearance of Sandy

Staff writers

November 25, 2012 — According to a team of geologists, a South Pacific island seems to have disappeared from the Coral Sea between Australia and New Caledonia.

Sandy Island appeared to lie about 1200 km due east of the Queensland, Australia
Sandy Island appeared to lie about 1200 km due east of the Queensland, Australia

A small island, roughly 32 km long and 8 km wide, located in the South Pacific Ocean is posing a major concern for scientists after apparently vanishing off the face of the earth.

When the geologists, who were tasked with identifying fragments of the Australian continental crust, arrived at the area the island was meant to be, the ship's navigation charts reported water depth of about 4600 ft. -- a clear sign that Sandy Island had in fact, vanished.

One of the scientists involved is now saying that human error is at the root of the problem. 

Sabin Zahirovic, a geologist at the University of Sydney, says that mistakes were likely made by those who transferred cartographers' charts to digital form. 

He believes that once the digitized maps were entered in the database, they just stuck around, since no scientific vessels have been to that region in a very long time. 

Sandy Island appeared to lie about 1200 km due east of the Queensland, Australia, coast toward the French-held archipelago of New Caledonia. 


With files from France 24

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