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article imageBrazilian 'Atlantis': Evidence of continent beneath the Atlantic

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 9, 2013 in Science
A Japanese submersible has discovered a mass of granite rock structure beneath the Atlantic Ocean 900 miles off the coast of Rio De Janiero that could be evidence that a continent existed in the region that sank into the ocean millions of years ago.
Scientists with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), and the Geology Service of Brazil (CPRM) said that the seabed where the granite formation was found became submerged after Africa and South America parted more than 100 million years ago. The researchers believe the area was above sea level until about 50 million years ago.
Japan Times reports that Shinichi Kawakami, professor at Gifu University, said: "South America and Africa used to be a huge, unified continent. The area in question may have been left in water as the continent was separated in line with the movements of plates."
CPRM geology director Roberto Ventura Santos, said: "This could be Brazil’s Atlantis. We are almost certain, but we need to strengthen this hypothesis."
According to The Telegraph, the granite structure was found in a region known as the Rio Grande Elevation. Reuters reports the Rio Grande Elevation is a rise on the ocean floor about 900 miles southeast of Rio de Janeiro. It is more than 8,000 feet beneath the sea.
The mass of granite rock was first discovered last year after geologists dredged the seabed.
Subsequent investigation by JAMSTEC's mini-submersible, the Shinkhai 6500, yielded further details about the formation. The investigation also discovered large deposits of quartz sand which is also not usually formed in the sea. The Telegraph reports that JAMSTEC has been conducting investigations in the region for some time using its state-of-the art manned submersible.
Shinkai 6500
Shinkai 6500
toshinori baba
It is the first time that an investigation of the seabed in the region of the Rio Grande Elevation has been conducted, Japan Times notes.
Scientists believe that the rock formation was once a continent because granite is normally found on dry land. Discovery of granite under the ocean suggests that a continent used to exist in the region and that it became submerged under the water.
The Telegraph reports that Santo told the Brazilian newspaper Estadoa: "It is unusual because it is granite rock. And you don’t find granite on the seabed. It is more usual to find it on the mainland."
Lead researcher, Hiroshi Kitazato, said the region is of special interest because it is the "least explored worldwide. So, we believe it is very important to research it. Previously, the Shinkai carried out expeditions closer to Japan, the Indian and the Pacific Ocean."
The scientists called the granite formation "Brazil's Atlantis" for the legend of Atlantis ("Island of Atlas") first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 B.C.. Plato wrote that Atlantis was a naval power "situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules." He wrote that Atlantis conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, that is, about 9,600 B.C. Atlantis sank into the ocean, after a failed attempt to conquer Athens. Plato said the island sank beneath the waves "in a single day and night of misfortune."
Plato's reference to the Straits of Gibraltar ("Pillars of Hercules") has inspired attempts to locate the island in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, although mainstream scholars consider Plato's story a fairy tale.
The Telegraph reports that CPRM geology director Roberto Venture Santos, said their use of the term "Atlantis" and "Brazil's Atlantis" are symbolic. He said: "Obviously, we don’t expect to find a lost city in the middle of the Atlantic. But if it is the case that we find a continent in the middle of the ocean, it will be a very big discovery that could have various implications in relation to the extension of the continental shelf."
Kawakami recommended that researchers study the composition of the granite to determine whether it matches granite found in Africa and South America. He said: "The concept of Atlantis came way before geology of the modern age was established. We should not jump to the Atlantis (conclusion) right away."
Santos concluded: “If it is the case that we find a continent in the middle of the ocean, it will be a very big discovery that could have various implications in relation to the extension of the continental shelf."
JAMSTEC states in its website that its mission is "to contribute to the advancement of academic research in addition to the improvement of marine science and technology."
Meanwhile, the quest for Plato's Atlantis continues for those who give credit to the ancient Greek philosopher's account.
Popular Science reports that in 2011, a team of researchers claimed to have found Atlantis off the coast of Spain. Digital Journal reported that an underwater grid pattern on Google Earth was widely touted as the lost city of Atlantis. Google, however, explained it was only a glitch in the sonar data.
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