Geomythology: This comprehensive geomythology investigation utilizes a unique tectonophysics model to provide a new interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis and its potential relationship to Egyptian myth. It demonstrates how a paradigm shift—from a sunken island to one uplifted—can help explain the mystery and could provide previous unknown lost knowledge of ancient human history that challenges current widely held conceptions. For answers to many frequently asked questions, click the FAQs tab in the right margin.
A growing number of enterprising geologists are beginning to embrace analytical mythology as a tool in their search for field evidence of natural cataclysmic events that may have occurred in ancient history and prehistory. This fledgling field is called geomythology. In our comprehensive geomythology investigation, we will begin by asking a rather provocative question concerning a common interpretation of the most popular and well known of all myths; the myth of a sunken island transcribed by Plato (Greek to English translations of Plato’s Critias and Timaeus dialogues used in this study are by Benjamin Jowett, 1871. Excerpts from his works are noted in quotation marks).
What if Plato’s Atlantis didn’t sink, but rather, only appeared to have sunk and actually rose instead? Would this paradigm shift–from an apparently sunken island to one uplifted–still fully comply with Plato’s detailed descriptions and might it help to solve the mystery? Can the application of this new geomythological hypothesis provide compelling physical evidence to support not only the historicity of Plato’s lost Atlanteans, but also reveal the exact location of their legendary seaport, Atlantis, as well? To answer these questions and many more, we must first look at a geophysics model of the general area Plato described to gain an understanding of the tectonic forces that could have been the source of the seismic action associated with the catastrophe. And, with this geophysics model as our template, we will then follow the virtual map Plato left behind (much as Homer’s descriptions were followed by Heinrich Schliemann for Troy and Robert Bittlestone for Ithaca) to locate the site of the once powerful and influential cultural center known to the Greeks as Atlantis and to the early pre-dynastic Egyptians as Bakhu of Zep Tepi . The results from this analysis are intriguing and could inspire constructive debate among scholars from a wide variety of disciplines. Indeed, we may find that events are not always as they appear and truth is often stranger than fiction.
Did Atlantis sink or was it actually uplifted during the catastrophe?
Plato describes nearly unfathomable destruction from “violent earthquakes” lasting “a single day and night” which, according to his dating at about 11.6k BP, was alleged to have occurred at a distant point in time now known to be consistent with catastrophic climatological changes accompanying the last glacial retreat of the Pleistocene ice ages. This point in geologic time is known as the end of the Younger-Dryas (YD).
The YD was apparently terminated about 1,400 years after it arrived, as measured through several proxies, by a sudden rise in average atmospheric temperature marking the birth of the much warmer Holocene we are experiencing today. Further, the enigmatic YD began about 12.8k BP with similarly perplexing cooling climate changes accompanied by various proxies, including a carbon matt and a nanodiamond distribution plume (C. R. Kinzie et al, Journal of Geology 122(5):475-506.September 2014). The two sudden climate changes so closely connected in time, one cooling another heating, are not unprecedented, but they do stimulate scientific curiosity, and beg the question of correlation in some way.
While several scientific teams are searching for the causes of the catastrophes associated with the turbulent arrival and disappearance of the YD, there is general agreement that the disasters were probably initially on a hemispheric scale and could have resulted from the shock-wave of effects, including rapid atmospheric cooling/heating and severe seismicity, associated with several potential forms of extraterrestrial (ET) or cosmic impact such as comets, asteroids, meteorites, or cosmic forces consisting of high-energy accelerated particles such as a concentrated solar flare.
Though causation of the catastrophe that initiated the Holocene continues to elude researchers, if we assume Plato’s accounts of the earthquakes are accurate, such extreme seismic activity could have been caused by huge upheavals in the Earth’s crust, far exceeding mere meters of uplift or subsidence that result from earthquakes in recent centuries which last only a few seconds, but still have horrific effects. With a need to define the dynamic, we look in the field of geophysics to find that there is a relatively slow tectonic process known as epeirogenesis, whereby large areas of the Earth’s crust gradually heave and subside more or less as a uniform body. Although a rather slow process, this phenomenon can be generally applied to help establish a framework for the sudden unprecedented crustal action suggested by Plato.
The tectonic model shown in Figure 1 (image on left, click to enlarge) is a cross-sectional view of Earth’s crust in the Mediterranean region looking northwest that depicts the catastrophe scenario and demonstrates the principle of an abrupt continental upheaval. This model takes into account that the Sahara was wet during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, it wasn’t until about 7,000 years ago that it began its most recent aridification. The question is, how wet was it at the time ascribed to the Atlanteans? That question is still under diligent study today, but there is already general agreement that many large lakes and reed filled swamps covered vast areas at the time. If for a moment we assume that the strait at Gibralter was closed, as it had been about 6 million years earlier, and that the western Sahara desert was actually a former glacial shallow sea, which was itself continuous with the Mediterranean Basin (as indicated in Figure 1, let’s call the unified body the Saharan-Atlantic Sea for discussion purposes), then the model clearly shows it is possible ATLANTIS DID NOT SINK, it only appeared to have sunk and was actually uplifted along with a large portion of north and northwest Africa. Before such an uplift, formation of the Saharan-Atlantic Sea could have been made possible in part by increased water flows from both the central Saharan watershed intermittent during the Late Pleistocene and the glacial rivers draining meltwaters from the Eurasian Plate due to a steeper gradient toward the plate boundary margins in the Mediterranean basin, the volume of each of which would then exceed current models.
During a sudden upheaval of this magnitude, which would have coincidentally ripped open the proposed closed strait at Gibraltar, the expansive Saharan-Atlantic Sea would have quickly drained in vast flows from the top of the uplifted African Plate, flooding down into the waters of the Mediterranean basin (Fig.1; #2). This uplift would have also caused a powerful tsunami, perhaps even a mega-tsunami, to race northward colliding with the northern coast, inundating and destroying all settlements in its path, including ancient Athens. The tsunamic flooding would have receded with such current into the Mediterranean basin as to denude the fertile soils from large swaths of the northern coast, subsequently commingling them with drainage from the African plate, which then flowed together through the newly opened strait into the Atlantic basin as the dynamic settled; the heavily laden waters possibly contributing to the formation of the Spartel mud bank that is dated similarly and which may conceal aggregates from the violent opening of the strait. Simultaneous with these events, ancient Athens would have been left submerged in the newly formed modern Mediterranean Sea (Fig.1; #3). In support of this aspect of our theory, Plato did in fact indicate that ancient Athens was destroyed by the same catastrophe as Atlantis, noting of Athens that “all the richer and softer parts of the soil, having fallen away, and mere skeletons of the land being left” and “the Earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight”.
For the sailors who later ventured toward Atlantis and witnessed the aftermath, the exposed seafloor of the formerly navigable sea on the African continent would have caused an unavoidable illusion suggesting the island sank–depositing its dissolved soils into the sea rendering it forever closed to sailed passage. They would have only found “a shoal of mud…impassable and impenetrable” which they naturally assumed “was caused by the subsidence of the island” since the illusion was entirely convincing. These ancient mariners would have had no way of knowing that the former island was actually uplifted by an extraordinarily rare rolling and tilting adjustment of the African Plate, exposing the sea-floor of the former Saharan-Atlantic; and that the city itself was beyond the horizon rendering invisible its existence in the distance (Fig. 1; #3). So, these adventurous sailors would have reported to others what they believed they saw, which was much later chronicled by Plato. Although somewhat counter intuitive, this model shows that it is possible for Atlantis to have been uplifted and still fully comply with Plato’s descriptive requirements. The model also could help to explain why Atlantis hasn’t already been found – – no one was looking in this location and accidental discovery would have been hindered since, over thousands of years, ruins in this area would have naturally been covered by many meters of sand as the arid conditions began to prevail.
Now that we have a working theoretical model, we must next ask the question, are there adequate terrestrial forces alone acting upon the tectonic processes of the Earth’s crust to cause such a wide-spread, large-scaled rapid epeirogenic uplift? Or, do we actually need to add significant down-thrust impact forces from an unknown ET prime-mover into our equation, in a manner similar to the investigative teams looking for the catastrophic causes of both the beginning and end of the Younger-Dryas, to obtain the accelerated form of epeirogenesis ?