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RE: Atlantis
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The possibility that a highly advanced civilisation emerged and then disappeared into the depths of the ocean has captured the imagination of people over the centuries. The story of Atlantis has been the subject of countless books, films and television programmes. Archaeologists excavating in the island of Crete are confident they have found the ruins of the legendary lost continent of Atlantis.

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Minotaur labyrinth
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Image of Minotaur labyrinth found
An ancient image of the mythological Minotaur labyrinth has been found in Bulgaria.

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The ancient Minoans
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The legend of Atlantis, the country that disappeared under the sea, may be more than just a myth. Research on the Greek island of Crete suggests Europe's earliest civilisation was destroyed by a giant tsunami.
  Until about 3,500 years ago, a spectacular ancient civilisation was flourishing in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The ancient Minoans were building palaces, paved streets and sewers, while most Europeans were still living in primitive huts.
But around 1500BC the people who spawned the myths of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth abruptly disappeared. Now the mystery of their cataclysmic end may finally have been solved.

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RE: Atlantis
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Research presented in Greece at the July Atlantis 2005 conference and published in the August Geology points to a sunken island off the Strait of Gibraltar as the site of ancient Atlantis.
Researcher Marc-Andre Gutscher combines new information on the bathymetry of Spartel Bank, in the Gulf of Cadiz, and the likely effects of great subduction earthquakes like the 1755 Lisbon quake and tsunami, to paint a tantalizing picture of Atlantis's life and death.



Plato's account of how the fabled city of Atlantis sank below the surface of the ocean does have scientific grounding, according to a seafloor survey of an island west of the Straits of Gibraltar.
Marc-Andre Gutscher of the University of Western Brittany in Plouzane, France, performed a detailed mapping of the seafloor on Spartel Island, already proposed as a candidate for the origin of the Atlantis legend in 2001 by French geologist Jacques Collina-Girard.
Lying 60 meters beneath the surface in the Gulf of Cadiz, the island is right "in front of the Pillars of Hercules", or the Straits of Gibraltar, as stated by Plato.
Gutscher proposes that an exceptionally large quake could have dropped Spartel/Atlantis by 10 meters at once, while tsunami waves of 10 meters or greater height would have obliterated any human structures and left the island unrecognizable. A few more subduction earthquakes would have sunk the remaining islets beneath the sea, leaving treacherous muddy shallows.

Analysis of sedimentary deposits revealed a large earthquake and a tsunami hit the island about 12,000 years ago, roughly the time indicated in the Greek philosopher's writings for the destruction of the city, Gutscher reports in the current issue of Geology.

"Geological records revealed that in the geographic region chosen by Plato for his narrative, there are recurrent great earthquakes (magnitude 8.5-9) which create enormous tsunamis, with waves 5-15 meters in height. One such catastrophic event occurred around 10,000 B.C." - Marc-Andre Gutscher.

Even though explorers have searched for the sunken island in no less than 40 different places, no evidence of Atlantis has ever been found. Every clue about the fabled island goes back to Plato's account, written in about 360 B.C
The philosopher claimed that two centuries earlier, Egyptian priests had told the Greek statesman Solon of a flourishing civilization outside "the pillars of Hercules."
When the people of Atlantis became wicked and decadent, the gods punished them by sending "violent earthquakes and floods."

"The power came forth out the Atlantic Ocean ... In a single day and night of misfortune ... the island of Atlantis disappeared in the depths of the sea" wrote Plato.

According to Gutscher, the type of destruction described by Plato is a very accurate description of a "sudden, catastrophic destruction associated with a great earthquake," like the famous Great Lisbon earthquake which ravaged the southern Iberian region in 1755, with associated tsunami heights reaching 10 meters.
The sedimentary records revealed that catastrophic events like the 1755 Lisbon earthquake occur every 1,500-2,000 years in the Gulf of Cadiz.

An unusually thick turbidite, a thick, coarse-grained deposit resulting from sand and mud shaken up by underwater avalanches, was dated to around 10,000 B.C., around the same time as Plato's account.
Layers of turbidite also revealed that eight earthquakes occurred in the area after Atlantis sunk.
Each earthquake would have resulted in a drop of the sea floor by several meters, making Spartel higher by 40 meters by 12,000 years ago. The island could have measured five by two kilometres.

"If inhabited, it would have probably been by simple fishermen, certainly not the advanced Bronze Age culture described by Plato" - Marc-Andre Gutscher.

"Atlantis is a myth" - Christos Doumas, Director of Akrotiri Excavations in Santorini, summarized at the conference on Atlantis on Milos Island, Greece, last month.

The conference highlighted 24 criteria that a geographical area must satisfy in order to qualify as a site where Atlantis could have existed.
Among several other oddities, the island must have sheltered a literate population with metallurgical and navigational skills, hot springs, northerly winds, elephants, enough people for an army of 10,000 chariots and 1,200 ships, and a ritual of bull sacrifice.

"No single proposed location in the world satisfies all these 24 criteria. At least the Spartel hypothesis offers a geologically plausible scenario for the type of catastrophic destruction described by Plato in this region of the world" - Marc-Andre Gutscher.

Read Timaeus By Plato.

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