Document 250911 (N)
Conference made, November 30, 1912, at the Oceanographic Institute of Paris.
It is a dark poem that of Atlantis, as it unfolds before our eyes, wonderfully concise and simple, in two dialogues of Plato. It is understood, after reading it, that any antiquity and the Middle Ages, from Socrates to Columbus for a period of nineteen hundred years have given the name Dark Sea to the oceanic region which was the scene of a cataclysm as scary. It is felt, the sea, full of crimes and threats, more than any other wild and inhospitable, and we wondered in terror that was beyond its mists, and what remains, still beautiful after one hundred centuries of immersion, hiding under the equanimity of its waves. To deal with the crossing of the Dark Sea and beyond the abyss where Atlantis is sleeping, it took courage to Columbus more than human, almost unreasonable confidence in the idea he had formed of the true shape of the land, an almost supernatural desire to bring Christ – the way of its patron Saint Christopher, the sublime passer rivers – unknown to the people who were waiting for so long, “sitting in the shadow of death”
The mysterious edge of the Western world.
After the voyages of Columbus, the terror goes, the curiosity remains. Geographers and historians seized the issue of Atlantis: looked over the abyss, they seek to determine the exact position of the sunken island, but finding no clear indication of nowhere, many them slip to skepticism. They doubt Plato, thinking that this great genius has been able to create from scratch the story of Atlantis, or that it took for an island with a gigantic portion of Mauritania and Senegambia. Other transport Atlantis in Northern Europe, yet others are not afraid to identify with America as a whole. Only the poets remain faithful to the beautiful legend of the poets who, following the beautiful formula of Leon Bloy, “are sure of what they guessed” the poets, who would not want more than one Atlantic n ‘ with no drama in his past, and who are not resigned to believe that the divine Plato is wrong, or he could completely misunderstand  .
It may well be that the poets were right, again. After a long period of disdainful indifference, here’s that for a few years, science returns to Atlantis. Some naturalists, geologists, zoologists and botanists, are now wondering if Plato did not transmitted, by amplifying only a page of the real history of mankind. No statement is still permitted, but it seems increasingly obvious that vast region, continental or made in large islands, has collapsed to the west of the Pillars of Hercules, ie the Strait of Gibraltar and its collapse does not go very far in the past. In any case, the question arises of Atlantis back to the men of science: and as I do not think we can ever solve it without the help of Oceanography, I thought it was natural to speak here in this temple of marine science, and to call on such a problem, long scorned but now revived, the attention of oceanographers, attention also to those who, from the bottom of tumult cities, lend an ear to the distant murmur of the sea
First of all re-read, if you wish, the story of Plato. It is in the dialogue called Timaeus or Nature . There are four contacts: Timaeus, Socrates and Critias Hermocrates. Critias has the floor, he speaks of Solon, and a trip made this wise legislator to know, in the Delta of Egypt. An old Egyptian priest Solon deeply surprised by revealing the history of the origins of Athens, the Athenians very forgotten. “I’ll make no secret, Solon, – said the priest – and I agree to satisfy your curiosity, out of respect for you and your kindred and all Surita to honor the goddess, protecting our town, which has high and set up your city, Athens, after the Earth and Vulcan, and a thousand years later, our city we know. Since the founding of this, our sacred books speak for a period of eight thousand years. So I will talk with you briefly about the legislation and best plays of the Athenians during the nine thousand years since Athens is. Among so many great actions of your fellow citizens, there is one which must be placed above all others. The books tell us the destruction of Athens by a singularly powerful army, army from the Atlantic and insolently invaded Europe and Asia because the sea was so practicable for vessels and there was, beyond the straits which you call the Pillars of Hercules, an island larger than Libya and Asia. Of this island, we could easily go to other islands, and those there to every continent around the Inland Sea. Which is below the strait we are talking about looks like a large port whose entry would be close, but it is a sea and the land that surrounds it is a true continent. Atlantis on the island kings ruled a wonderful power. They were under their rule the whole island and several other islands and some parts of the continent. In addition, this side of the strait, yet they ruled over Libya to Egypt, and Europe to the Tyrrhenian. All that power meets one day to enslave all of a sudden our country, yours, and all peoples on this side of the strait. It was then qu’éclatèrent to light the strength and courage of Athens. By the value of its soldiers and their superiority in military, Athens had supremacy over the Greeks, but they have been forced to abandon it only braved the terrible danger, stopped the invasion, piled victory after victory, preservation of slavery and free people still went to full independence all those who, like us, remain below the Pillars of Hercules. Later, major earthquakes and floods engulfed in one day and one fatal night, all that was home of warriors. The island of Atlantis disappeared under the sea Since that time, the sea in these parts, has become impractical to Mariners; vessels can go there, due to the sands that extend across the location of the island damaged  . ”
This is certainly a story that has no color of a fable. It is almost scientific precision. Presumably, the size of the island Atlantis are somewhat exaggerated, but it must be remembered that the Egyptian priest did not know the vastness of Asia, and the words larger than Asia have not in his mouth meaning that they have today. Everything else is perfectly clear and perfectly reasonable. A large island off the coast of the Strait of Gibraltar, nurse of a numerous race, strong and warlike other smaller islands in a wide channel between the large island off the African coast, it easily passes the large island in small, and the latter on the mainland, and it is easy then to win the shores of the Mediterranean and enslave the peoples who settled there, first the South to the border Egypt and Libya, and those of the North and up to the Tyrrhenian Greece. At the Atlantean invasion of pirates, Athens resisted successfully. Perhaps if she had been defeated, however, when a disaster comes to his aid, engulfing the island of Atlantis in a few hours, and resounding, by violent shaking and a tsunami tidal wave horrible, on all the Mediterranean coasts. The armed conflict disappear, surprised by the flooding of the shores, and when the survivors pull themselves together, they realize that the invaders were killed, and they then learn that the source has dried up, which down these terrible bands. When, much later, of bold sailors dare to cross the Pillars of Hercules and set sail the western seas, they were soon stopped by such an abundance of rocks, debris submerged land, that fear is, and that ‘accursed they flee these shores, which seems to float on a divine curse.
In another dialogue, entitled Critias or of Atlantis , which is as a result of the Timaeus , Plato allows himself to describe the island famous. Critias is still speaking, Timaeus, Socrates and Hermocrates listen. “According to Egyptian tradition, – he said – a general war arose, there are nine thousand years, between people who are below the Pillars of Hercules and the people coming from beyond. On the one hand, it was Athens, on the other, the kings of Atlantis. We have already said that this island was larger than Asia and Africa, but was submerged following an earthquake, and in its place is no longer encountered a sand which stops the browser and makes the sea impassable. ” Critias and we developed the Egyptian tradition of the origin of the fabulous Atlantis, Neptune expired shared and in which the god has placed the ten children he had with a mortal. Then he described the birthplace of the Atlantean race: a plain situated near the sea, and opening in the middle of the island and the most fertile plains around it, one. circle of mountains stretching to the sea, open circle to the south and protect the plain against the icy blasts of the north in these beautiful mountains, many villages, rich and populous in the plain, a beautiful city, whose palaces and temples are built of three colors, white, black and red, drawn from the same sides of the island here and there, of all metals mines producing useful to man, and finally the edges of the island, cut perpendicularly. Overlooking the sea high turbulent  . We can smile while reading the story of Neptune and its fruitful love, but the description, geographical Island is not one which is fun and forget. It goes so well, this description, with what we imagine today a large land emerged in the Azores, and enjoying the eternal spring that is the prerogative of these islands consists of a land base supporting ancient rocks, with a few shreds of white limestone, extinct volcanic mountains and lava flows, black or red, has long cooled.
This is the Atlantis of Plato, and this is, after the great philosopher, the history of this island, fabulous history in its origins, like most stories, extremely accurate and highly likely in the details of his tragic end . This is, indeed, all that antiquity tells us, for the stories of Theopompus and Marcellus, much more vague than that of Plato, are interesting as they leave us the impression of extreme diffusion of the legend among the peoples of the Mediterranean shores. In short, until very close to our era, much has been thought, all around the Mediterranean, the ancient Atlantean invasion, came from a large island or continent, came in any case beyond Pillars of Hercules, invasion suddenly arrested by the flooding, instant or at least very rapidly, the country from which came the invaders.
Let’s see what science says, concerning the possibility or probability of such a collapse, so new, so sudden, so extensive surface and so colossal in depth. But you must first recall the data of geography on the region of the Atlantic Ocean where the phenomenon should have happened.
For a ship going straight to the west, the width of the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar, is about 6400 kilometers. Such a vessel would lead to the American coast in the vicinity of Cape Hatteras, he would in his journey, met with no land. It would be passed, without seeing, between Madeira and the Azores and Bermuda would have left too far south for these coral islands, very small and low, had the eyes of his crew emerged from the horizon sailor. Passengers would have suspected nothing of the relief of the ocean floor, so tormented, however, and none of the mysteries of the Dark Sea would not be standing before them.
But it was enough to extend to the ship a little his way, to turn first to the southwest, then north-west and again south-west, to recognize successively Madeira, the Azores most Southern finally Bermuda. And if the passengers on board that we assume our boat, had possessed a sophisticated equipment to survey, and were able to use it, they would have found, not unsurprisingly, that the deep sea, over which they passed, are strangely uneven. Very close to Gibraltar, the bottom drops to 4000 meters it rises abruptly to form the base, very narrow, covering Madeira; it drops to 5000 meters between Madeira and the Azores southern, back to less than 1000 meters near them; takes a long time between 1000 and 4000, south and southwest of the Azores, with very sharp protrusions some of which approach very near the sea surface, then immersed up more than 5000 meters, and even on a small path up over 6000, still stands up suddenly in a burst which corresponds to the base of Bermuda remains buried under 4000 meters of water until a short distance from the American coast, and is finally in a fast ramp, toward the shore.
Imagine for a moment that we can empty the entire Atlantic Ocean, draining a total way, and this fact, contemplate, high, relief from her bed. We see two major depressions, two huge valleys stretch from north to south, parallel to the two shores, separated from each other by a raised median area. West Valley, which runs along the American coast, is the largest and deepest of the two, and it has some pits oval, kind of holes or funnels down to more than 6000 meters below the level of shores, and also a few pillars – one corresponding to Bermuda – which, from the bottom of chasms, rise boldly to the light. The valley of the east, along the European coast and the coast of Africa, seems closer, shallower, but more rugged: and many pyramids, some thin and fragile as that of Madeira, the other massive as those relating to the Canaries and Cape Verde, stand here and there in the middle of the valley or near its eastern edge. The middle elevated draws for us a long promontory, whose axis coincides with the axis of the deep Atlantic, which is S-curve as the two valleys and as the two shores, and thus the Greenland and encompassing in its mass Iceland and the northern islands, is tapering towards the south and ends in a point under the 70th degree of south latitude. In most of its length, this promontory has an average width of about 1500 kilometers. Far from being regular and uniform spherical curvature, the surface is quite lumpy, bristling with projections, riddled with cavities, especially in the Azores, Azores what we call being only the tops of the highest protuberances.
Certainly, in this overall view of the ocean dried up and withered, we would see many things that are invisible under the thick waters. We would see not only the longitudinal arrangement that I just described, which has been revealed by the polls, but also cutting accidents, which can not fail to exist and on which, at present, we know next to nothing, because the polls are not yet enough of them. The map of the Azores is clear that the nine main islands that comprise three parallel stripes aligned, headed east-southeast to west-north-west and these bands are marked by the islands with a total length of nearly 800 km. There is no doubt that such alignments do not extend very far beneath the waves, and they have great importance in the modeling of the ocean floor. But they are obviously not alone. A day will come when the cards of the funds of the Atlantic will be quite specific and detailed: you will then see the fault lines and bands of pleats across the vast abyss, and running from Europe to the United States, or Morocco West Indies, or of Senegambia in South America.
ll Go to the Geology. Just as the painter’s eye sees a world of unexpected colors and reflections of other men, the eye of the geologist is impressed by the glow very vague and very uncertain that light, to himself, the night of sinkholes and night, blacker, the distant past. And his ear, like the sensitive musician vibrates murmurs, to cracking, with sighs that come from the depths of the earth or the depths of history, and that many take to the absolute silence.
Here is a first. The eastern Atlantic Ocean, throughout its length and possibly a pole to pole, a large volcanic area. In the depression along the African coast and the European coast and in the eastern part of the band occupying the raised middle of the sea, volcanoes abound. All the pillars that reach the sea surface to flush the form of volcanic islands, or with volcanoes. Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha, St. Helena, Ascension, the Cape Verde Islands, Canary Islands, Madeira and the large nearby islets, all of the Azores, Iceland, the island of Jan Mayen, are either fully or largely formed of lava. I will say in a moment how some dredging in 1898 found the lava, with funds from 3000 meters on a line from the Azores to Iceland and 500 miles or 900 kilometers, north of the Azores. A browser found in 1838, the existence of a submarine volcano at the equator by about 22 ° west longitude, that is to say about the line joining the Ascension at the Cape Verde archipelago: the hot vapors coming out of the waves, and shallow had arisen, different from those specified in the cards. In the islands that I have mentioned, many volcanoes are still active, those who are off to appear off yesterday over the Earthquakes are frequent here and there, patches suddenly emerge from the sea, or rocks, have long known, are disappearing. The continuity of these phenomena is hidden by the ocean, but to the geologist, it is not doubtful. The volcanic zone of the eastern Atlantic is comparable in length, width, or seismic eruption, that which forms the western edge of America and coincides, in the south, the Andes, and is one of characteristics of the current face of the earth, like the Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean. However, there is no volcano without a collapse, or at least without a collapse of some piece of the earth’s crust. The volcanoes of the Pacific Ring of Fire line the edge of a deep sea trench that goes around in this ocean, which no doubt has not finished deepened, the volcanoes of the Mediterranean stand in the edge of the great deep and recently opened where huge mountains are lowered. Therefore there is also in the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, currently still some mobility, and the median ridge of the bottom, already elevated, has not completed its relative movement of ascent depression compared to Eastern. While the continental shores of the ocean now appear motionless and impassive hundred times lamer than the shores of the Pacific, the bottom of the Atlantic moves, to the eastern area, about 3000 km wide, which includes both Iceland, the Azores, Madeira, the Canaries and Cape Verde Islands. This is currently an unstable area of the surface of the planet, and in such an area, the most terrible disasters can, at any moment occur.
It is certainly occurred, and only date from yesterday. I ask all those concerned with the problem of Atlantis to listen carefully and burn in their mind this brief history: it is no longer significant. In the summer of 1898, a ship was used in the laying of submarine telegraph cable connecting Brest to Cape Cod. The cable had been broken, and they were trying to fish it out, using grappling hooks. It was 47 ° 0 ‘north latitude and 29 ° 40’ longitude west of Paris, 500 miles north of the Azores. The average depth of about 1700 fathoms or 3100 feet. The lift cable presents great difficulties, and had for several days, walking the grabs on the merits. It was found that: the bottom of the sea in these parts, presents the characteristics of a mountainous country, with high peaks, steep slopes and deep valleys. The summits are rocky and there are vases that in the valleys. The hook, going through this very troubled area, is constantly taking in rocks hard and spiked with sharp edges, it was up almost always broken or twisted, and the sections were put together large and wide streaks and traces of violent and rapid wear . On several occasions, was found between the teeth of the grapple small splinters mineral having the appearance of broken pieces recently. All these splinters were in the same rock type. The unanimous opinion of the engineers attending the dredging was that the chips in question had been detached from a bare rock outcrop of a real, sharp and angular. The region from which the fragments was also precisely the one where polls had shown the highest peaks in submarines and the almost complete absence of vessels. The splinters and torn from rocky outcrops of the bottom of the Atlantic, is a glass dish, with the chemical composition of basalts and called tachylyte by petrography. We keep some of these precious fragments in the Museum of Ecole des Mines de Paris.
The fact was reported in 1899 at the Academy of Sciences. Few geologists have at that time, including the far-reaching. This dish, full glass, similar in some basaltic glasses volcanoes of the Sandwich Islands, was unable to consolidate this state than under atmospheric pressure. Under several atmospheres, and more so in 3000 meters of water, it would certainly have crystallized. She formed crystals appear entangled, instead of being entirely of colloidal material. The most recent studies do suggest, on this, no doubt, and I will only recall the observation of Mr. Lacroix in the lava of Mount Pelee in Martinique: vitreous, where they freeze in the open These lavas are filled with crystals as they cool down under a coat, even thin, previously solidified rock. The land that is now bottom of the Atlantic, 900 miles north of the Azores, has been covered with lava flows when it was still above water. It has therefore collapsed, down from 3000 meters and as the rock surface is maintained pace tormented the harsh bumps, sharp edges of lava flows very recent, it must have followed the collapse closely the emission of lava, and that this collapse was sudden. Without this, the atmospheric erosion and wave erosion had leveled the inequalities and smoothed the entire surface. Continue the argument. We are here on the line joining Iceland to the Azores in the middle Atlantic volcanic area in the middle area of mobility, instability and volcanism today. Necessary conclusion: the entire region north of the Azores, possibly including the Azores and the islands which, in this case are only the visible ruins, collapsed recently, probably during this period that geologists call today as it is recent, and for us the living today, is something like yesterday.
If you remember now what I told you earlier of the extreme inequality of funds to the south and southwest of the Azores, you will think with me that a thorough dredging would, south and southwest of these islands, What same results given in the north, the recovery operation of the telegraph cable. And then will grow before your eyes, almost excessively, the region collapsed, the region was suddenly damaged yesterday, and that the Azores are only witnesses, escaped the general collapse.
But here are other facts, always of the geological. The deep Atlantic, seems to be almost entirely of relatively recent date, and before the collapse of the Azorean region, further collapse had occurred there, the scale, more easily measurable, confounds the imagination.
From Eduard Suess and Marcel Bertrand taught us to look at the planet, and to decipher the slow or rapid changes of his face through the abuse of countless ages, we became convinced of the existence of an ancient continental link between northern Europe and North America, and another connecting mainland, very old, too, between the massive Africa and South America. There was a North Atlantic continent including all of Russia, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Greenland, Canada, which was later associate a southern band, made up of much of Central and Eastern Europe West and a huge piece of the United States. There was also a continent of South Atlantic and African-Brazilian, from the north to the southern edge of the Atlas, east to the Persian Gulf and the Mozambique Channel, west to eastern edge of the Sierras and Andes of Colombia and Venezuela. Between the two continents crossed the Mediterranean depression , this ancient maritime path, constantly varying in width, forming a sling around the Earth since the beginning of geological time, and we still see so deeply marked in the Mediterranean today, the Caribbean Sea Sea and Sunda. A mountain range, wider than the Alps, and perhaps as high in some of its parts, the majestic Himalayas, was once erected on the edge of the Mediterranean in North Atlantic, embracing the Vosges, the Central Plateau French, Brittany, the south of England and Ireland, as well as Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and in the United States, the entire Appalachian region. Both coasts who look at 3000 miles away, over the Atlantic waters, that of Brittany, Cornwall, south of Ireland on the one hand, the Newfoundland and Nova Scotland on the other hand, are among the most beautiful coast in estuaries that are in the world and their estuaries are facing. In one as in the other, the folds of the old chain is cut suddenly, and often normal, by the shore and the guidelines of the European chain extend exactly those of the American channel. It will be in a few years, one of the joys of oceanographers, to see, raising the detailed map of the funds between Ireland and Newfoundland, the persistence of a wrinkled appearance, an appearance-oriented mountain, on the location of the old submerged channel.
The old chain has received the name of Marcel Bertrand Hercynian chain. Eduard Suess called the chain of Altaides, because it comes from distant Asia, and the Appalachians, for him, no longer than Altaides U.S..
Thus, the Atlantic, until the beginning of ruin which can not be specified, but the flax is tertiary, that is to say relatively recently, was occupied by a mass, bordered by the south, a mountain: and all that collapsed, even before the collapse of the volcanic soils of the Azores which seem to be the last vestiges. Instead of the South Atlantic, there was, likewise, for many thousands of centuries, a great continent now down deep under the sea, it is likely that the downward movement occurred in several times, contours of the Mediterranean while separating the two continents is changing frequently throughout the ages. By the mid-Cretaceous, the Mediterranean advanced to the Canaries, and its southern shore, at that time was very near the site now occupied by these islands we have in this regard, a valuable reference, recently found by Mr. Pitard, and exactly dated by MM. Cottreau and Lemoine. The area of the Cape Verde Islands, at the same time still belonged to the African-Brazilian continent.
While the Mediterranean, the Atlantic region, was growing by the gradual collapse of its banks, it can be broke up, and in any case, its bottom s’accidentait, the spread below it new folds and new wrinkles. In this wide and deep groove, where sediment from the two continents of North and South piled on huge thicknesses, the movement has in fact spread, which has given rise in Europe during the time tertiary to the Alps.
How far spread in the Atlantic region, the chain tertiary, the Alps? And what was always in the same country now ocean, the magnitude of its unevenness? Fragments of the chain are they mounted high enough to stand a few centuries, above the waves, before returning, suddenly or slowly, in the starless night? The folds of the Alps and the Atlas did they spread to the Caribbean? And it must be admitted, between the Alps and the Cordillera of the Caribbean – which is itself an advanced winding of the great Cordillera of the Andes – a tectonic connection, as we assume – since we had Suess shown – a stratigraphic link? Unanswered questions. Louis Gentile followed in the Western Atlas, the tertiary folds of the chain to the shore of the ocean, and he saw them, these folds, gradually lowering s, s’ennoyant , as the miners, down into the sea: the direction they have on this coast, Agadir and Cape Ghir, is such that extended by the thought, they lead us in the Canaries. But for the right to say that the Canaries are fragments raised the Atlas swallowed, it should be observed in their folds Cretaceous deposits: and I do not think this observation is made. The Atlas, as everyone knows, is only one branch of the great chain tertiary and is a continuation in Northern Africa mountain system of the Apennines. As for the real Alps, which are the main branch of the same chain, we follow them without difficulty to the Sierra Nevada and to Gibraltar. From below the Strait of Gibraltar, they meet at Rif. But. Rif, which some geologists want to see a continuation of the Alpine system as a whole, is certainly not as a part of this system: a strip north of Alpine folds, out from under the layers of the Sierra Nevada, walking towards the West, instead heading to Gibraltar. I see them in the land recently, through Andalusia, forming a narrow strip on the Algarve coast, and finally to Cape St. Vincent, abruptly cut off and showing no tendency to submergence, hide in the Wed extended their leadership would take us to Santa Maria, the southernmost of the Azores, where the Miocene sediments are known, not folded. In total, there are strong reasons to believe the extension of Atlantic tertiary folds, those of the Atlas to the Canaries, from those of the Alps to the southern islands of the Azores, but there is no more, nor to extend very far or very close to limit this extension. Sediments of Santa Maria only prove that in the Miocene, that is to say when the great movements were completed in Alpine Europe, a shore of the Mediterranean not far from passing the Azores, mainland shore or large island. Another bank in the same Miocene sea passed near the Canary Islands.
In any case, geography has changed greatly in the Atlantic region, in recent periods in the history of the earth, and the extreme mobility of the ocean floor, currently manifested such a multiplicity of such scope and volcanoes lava fields, date definitely, by far. Collapses during the time side, widening the Mediterranean and by removing the remains of the Hercynian chain, folds in the entire Mediterranean area, in the first half of the Tertiary era, changing funds and making the sea rise, here and there near its north coast, mountainous islands, collapses again, from the Miocene in the Mediterranean area and in both pleated continental areas, up to the final collapse of the two continents and the erasure of their shores; appearance then in the bottom of the huge marine subsidence resulting from these, a new model, whose general direction is from north to south, and mask or at least weaken the old mark; burst lava, across the islands that remain, which are the ruins, and the very bottom of the sea, this burst is the compensation necessary and inevitable descent, so deep, like pieces of bark: that is, in short, the history of the Atlantic Ocean from a few million years. Many episodes of this story will never be dated precisely, but we know that some of them are quite recent. Louis Gentil has given us in this regard, in many interesting observations, recorded along the coast of Morocco: The Strait of Gibraltar has opened in the early Pliocene. Already at the time Tortonian, the sea washed the shores of Agadir, and therefore, at that time already, Madeira and the Canary Islands were separated from the continent. But the Tortonian layers and layers Plaisancian even on this shore of Morocco, are grade-separated and folded. So there was, in the area where the Atlas was prolonged, significant movements post Plaisancian therefore Quaternary. The channel between Madeira and the Canaries of the African masses was further deepened in the Quaternary period, that is to say close to us.
These are the data of geology. Extreme mobility of the Atlantic, especially to meet the depression Mediterranean and the great volcanic area, off 3000 miles, running from south to north in the eastern half of the ocean current, the occurrence of certain huge collapse, where the islands and even continents, have disappeared, sure that some of these collapses dating from yesterday, are of Quaternary age, and they could therefore be seen by the rights; certain that some have been sudden, or at least very fast. That is what encouraged those who still rely on the narrative of Plato. Geologically speaking, the Platonic story of Atlantis is extremely likely.
Now consult the zoologists. He is a young French scientist, Louis Germain, who is going to answer and I very much regret not being able to give her real voice and not to be here that’s very poor performer.
irst, the study of terrestrial fauna of the islands present the four islands, the Azores, Madeira, Canaries, Cape Verde, Mr. Germain has convinced much of the continental origin of this fauna, and there is even many evidence of adaptation to desert life. In particular, wildlife malacological is linked to that of the region circaméditerranéenne, while it differs from the equatorial African wildlife. The same analogies with wildlife circaméditerranéenne observed in Quaternary mollusks.
Second, the Quaternary formations similar to those of the Canaries from Mauritania and contain the same species of molluscs, for example the same Helix .
These first two facts emerged for Mr. Germain, the necessary conclusion that the four island groups have been linked to Africa until very close to ours, at least until the late Tertiary.
Third fact: there is, in the current four archipelagos molluscs, species which appear to be survivors of the European Tertiary fossil species, and such survival in the series are also plant a fern, Adiantum reniforme the currently missing from Europe, but known in the Pliocene of Portugal, now continuing to live in the Canaries and the Azores.
Mr. Germain is deducted from the third link, to the Pliocene time, with the Iberian Peninsula, the continent which embraced the archipelagos, and the cut of this connection during the Pliocene.
Fourth, the Mollusca Pulmonata called Oleacinidae have a unique geographical distribution. They live only in Central America, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores. In America, they kept the large size they had in Europe in the Miocene, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic islands, they are strongly dwarfed.
The geographical distribution of Oleacinidœ obviously implies the extension to the West Indies, in the early Miocene, the continent which embraced the Azores, Canary and Madeira, and the establishment during the Miocene or to a close, a rift between the West Indies and Africa.
Two facts remain, relating to marine animals, and which appear to be explained, and the other one, the persistence, until very near the current time, a sea shore Antilles Current in Senegal, and even, between Florida, Bermuda and the Gulf of Guinea. Fifteen species of marine molluscs living in both the Caribbean and the coasts of Senegal, and also not live without this coexistence can be explained speaks transport of embryos. On the other hand, the fauna of the island Madrepores St. Thomas, studied by M. Gravel, includes six species: a saw, outside of St. Thomas, in the reefs of Florida, and four others are known as Bermuda. Since the duration of pelagic life of larvae Madrepores is only a few days, it is impossible to attribute to the interplay of ocean currents that amazing distribution.
In light of all this, Mr. Germain is led to admit the existence of a continent, linked to the Atlantic Iberian Peninsula and Mauritania, and extending far enough south, so have some climates desert. Even in the Miocene, this continent is to the West Indies. It then breaks up, first on the side of the West Indies and in the south, through the establishment of a marine shoreline that goes to Senegal and to the Gulf of Guinea, and finally in the east, probably in the Pliocene, along the coast of Africa. The last major debris eventually damaged and no longer then let other remains that the four islands, is Plato’s Atlantis.
I am careful in my jurisdiction, to issue any opinion on the value of zoological facts reported by Mr. Germain and the certainty of conclusions he draws. But how not to be struck by the almost absolute consistency of these findings and those zoos where the geology has led us? And who could now, in the presence of a full agreement as drawn on arguments so different, yet doubt the conservation, until very close to us, devastated land masses in the ocean that is west of the Pillars of Hercules?
That is enough, and this is to remember our brief chat. Rebuild, even approximately, the map of Atlantis, will always be a difficult operation. At present, there would not even consider. But it is quite reasonable to believe that, long after the opening of the Strait of Gibraltar, some of these land areas still existed, and among them, a wonderful island, separated from the continent by a string of other islands small. One thing remains to be seen, the posteriority of the cataclysm that wiped out the island to the development of humanity in the western region of Europe. The cataclysm is no doubt. Men they then existed, which could have suffer-coup against the pass and the memory? the question is there. I do not believe at all insoluble, but it seems to me that neither geology nor does solve Zoology. These two sciences seem to have said all they could say, and it is of Anthropology, ethnography, and finally of Oceanography, now I expect a definitive answer.
Meanwhile, free to all lovers of beautiful legends to believe in the Platonic story of Atlantis! Not only science, modern science does not make them a crime, but it is itself, through me, the invites. That itself, taking them by the hand and leading on the shore of the ocean rich in wrecks, suggests to them, with the thousands of disabled vessels, submerged or reduced to wrecks , continents and islands without number, buried in the depths of the abyss.
For me, I can not not think about the sudden movements of the earth’s crust, and among them, terrifying phenomenon of sudden disappearance of almost any piece of the continent, a part of a chain of mountains, a large island, into an abyss of several thousand meters deep. That such a phenomenon occurred, and even repeated many times in recent geological periods, and has often reached a gigantic scale, is what no geologist has the right to doubt. Sometimes it is surprising that similar disasters has left no trace on our shores, without thinking that it is the suddenness of their onset and their flight makes them difficult to grasp. None of them, indeed, did let loose without causing a lowering of mean sea level, but the compensation did not long in coming, and the rapid uplift of another compartment of the ocean floor, or output, slower, and forever unimaginable underwater rivers of lava, soon restored the balance: the balance is accurate as where are weighed, one side the abyss, the other mountains.
And when I read this, in my mind, these terrible pages in the history of the earth, willingly, by the sea, smiling, indifferent to the sea “as the most beautiful cathedrals,” I think of the last evening of the Atlantis, which might look like the last night, the “big night” of humanity. All the young men left for war, beyond the islands of Levant and the distant Pillars of Hercules, and those who remained, middle-aged men, women, children, old people and priests, anxiously questioning the marine horizon, hoping to see the first dawn sails, heralding the return of the warriors. But tonight, the horizon is empty and dark. The sea seems to get dark, and, like her, the sky becomes threatening. For several days, the earth trembled and shook. The floor was cracked here and there, breathing hot vapors. It is said that in the mountains, craters were opened, by which flow of smoke and flame, and throw stones into the air and ashes. Now, it rains a gray dust everywhere and hot. The night is coming very, terribly dark: and they would see nothing, if we had lit some torches. Taken suddenly mad with terror, the crowd rushes in the temples, but here is the crumbling temples, while the sea advances, invading the shore, with a terrible cry, which covers, inevitably, all the other shouts . Something happening, which may be the Wrath of God. Then everything subsides, there is neither mountain nor shore, there is more careless than the sea, sleeping under the sky of countless stars in Tropic, and in the trade winds blowing, I hear singing the voice of the poet immortal
O waves, you know about creepy stories!
Flots deep dread of kneeling mothers!
You tell them by mounting the tides
And it makes you desperate voices
you have, in the evening when you come to us!
Pierre Termier, Member of the Academy of Sciences, Director of the Geological Map of France.
1. ? The latest addition to the poets of Atlantis is a girl, Emilie de Villers ( The Souls of the Wed , Paris, 1911, in Eugene. Figuière).
2. ? works of Plato, trans. by V. Cousin, t. XII, p. 109-13. Paris, in Rey and Gravier.
3. ? works of Plato, trans. by V. Cousin, t. XII, p. 247. Paris, in Rey and Gravier.