Sea Level Changes. Recent years have seen the production of ever more detailed data relating to sea level changes following the last Ice Age. In 2006 researchers discovered that the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska was created around 9000 BC, a thousand years earlier than previously thought.
Such changes could have had a direct bearing on the Atlantis mystery, particularly if Plato’s assertion that its inundation took place 9600 BC is true, as this would place the event at the end of the last Ice Age and the melting of the glaciers with the consequent raising of level of the oceans. Although we are usually given the impression that this deglaciation progressed steadily it would appear that in reality the process continued at different rates and was at times temporarily reversed.
Recent studies(f) have clearly indicated that aboriginal Australians have preserved memories of the rising sea level at the end of the last Ice Age.
A 2000 report(c) from Dr. Robert Baker and Professor Peter G.Flood from the University of New England in New South Wales, suggests that 4,000 years ago sea levels “may have been up to two metres higher than at present, and that sea levels have risen and fallen like a roller coaster over the last 6,000 years.” I would expect that sea levels two metres higher around 2000 BC would have left archaeological evidence on a global scale. Until that is forthcoming, I would treat this claim with caution.
Estimates of the total change in sea levels vary between 300 and 500 ft. The most recent studies have estimated the rate of sea level rise at an average of one metre per century punctuated by occasional increased rates of 2.5 metres per century(a). To complicate the picture further, many areas in northern latitudes that had been depressed by the weight of the enormous ice sheets of the last Ice Age, rose considerably as a result of isostatic rebound when the glaciers melted.
There is general agreement that the raising of the sea levels had dramatic consequences worldwide. Vast landmasses, such as Sundaland, the Celtic Shelf, and in the Caribbean were totally or partially submerged, leaving many of today’s islands as remnants. Communities that had flourished in these regions during the last Ice Age must have been devastated and naturally led to the generation of myths recalling their former glory. Atlantis is assumed to be one such legend with a firm basis in reality.
Other, more controversial effects have also been proposed, such as the breaching of a landbridge that had existed between Spain and North Africa at Gibraltar and/or a similar isthmus between Sicily and Tunisia. James Bramwell reports that in the 1930’s geologists spoke freely of the breaching of a Gibraltar dam around 15,000 years ago. More recently, writers such as Joseph S. Ellul, Sergio Frau and Paulino Zamarro have convincingly based their Atlantis theories on this concept. The Mediterranean sea level is discussed elsewhere.
Other writers have proposed an asteroidal or cometary impact as the cause of catastrophic flooding, but such inundations would have receded fairly rapidly. In the end we are left with the ending of the last Ice Age as the primary cause of profound changes in the topography of our planet that probably included the submergence of one civilisation that we now refer to as Atlantis.
However, Plato introduces another detail into his Atlantis narrative, namely that following the submergence of Atlantis it created a maritime hazard in the form of shoals. Plato wrote that “wherefore also the ocean at that spot has now become impassable and unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal of mud which the island created as it settled down.” (Timaeus 25d). The implication of this is that the shoals still existed in either Solon’s or Plato’s lifetime. We must also keep in mind that the draft of ships, such as triremes, at that time was about a metre. The attached chart shows how between 5000 BC and the present, the rate of sea level has been relatively slow. Even allowing for any local seismic, tectonic or isostatic activity I would interpret the data to suggest two important facts; first, the flooding of Atlantis could not have taken place before 5000 BC and still be a hazard in the first millennium BC and secondly if it occurred after 5000 BC Atlantis must be still in shallow water.
Kurt Lambeck has demonstrated from a study of Roman fish pens that the sea level along the Italian coast, 2000 years ago, was 1.35 metres below today’s levels. His investigations also included a study of land elevations along the coast that may have been affected by seismic or tectonic processes and found that they had raised the land by 1.22 metres, indicating that global sea levels had risen by just 13cm over the past two millennia, most of which has occurred over the past century(d)! Lambeck’s conclusions have been severely criticised by Izabol Apulia(e).
Furthermore, if the destruction took place before 5000 BC then either Solon or Plato concocted the description of the shoals, which would have no purpose whatsoever!
Sea level changes in the Gulf of Mexico are discussed in an online pdf file(b). In the same region, there is now claimed to be evidence(g) confirming that sea levels were lower during the last Ice Age and that the Yucatan Peninsula was very much larger.
(e) See: Archive 2566
The Caribbean Region with the many islands of the West Indies is favoured by a number of authors who find in the writings of classical writers evidence of very early knowledge of the islands in the western Atlantic by the peoples of the Mediterranean. As a source, these ancient authors have to be treated with great care, as so much of the historical and geographical details are at best second-hand and sometimes just conjectural if not fictional. This is compounded by the fact that so many of these early writers borrowed from each other so that an early ‘fact’ that is erroneous could be transmitted unchecked for centuries if not permanently.
The seas around many of the Caribbean Islands are quite shallow indicating that during the last Ice Age the exposed land area must have been considerably larger. If Atlantis existed in this region there are many candidate locations.
An American researcher, Amy Smith, has produced a website(a) claiming that Atlantis had been located on a now demolished landbridge linking Cuba with the Yucatan Peninsula, in the Caribbean and was destroyed at the end of the last Ice Age when the Mississippi was dramatically swollen by meltwater from the retreating glaciers and poured into the Gulf of Mexico, which was then an enclosed sea. This in turn led to the breaching of the landbridge linking Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula and the destruction of Atlantis in its vicinity. Smith has recently expanded on the events leading to the destruction of Atlantis(b).
Edgar Cayce’s followers in A.R.E. have focused their attention on the Bimini sector of the Bahamas, although Greg Little opted for a location just north of the Isle of Youth off Cuba. Andrew Collins is also convinced that Atlantis was in located near the Isle of Youth, while, more recently, Norman Frey has added his support to the same locality. Mel Fisher claimed to have found Atlantis in the vicinity of Cuba, but failed to reveal the exact location before his death. The Italian researcher, Emilio Spedicato, has chosen the nearby island of Hispaniola.
Gábor Bihari, the Hungarian researcher, submitted a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference outlining his view that Plato’s Alantis story was loosely based on reports of a very ancient empire in the Caribbean brought back to Europe by refugees from there after it was inundated at the end of the last Ice Age.
In December 2009, we were subjected to one of the periodic claims that Atlantis had been ‘found’, this time in the Caribbean. Poor quality images were offered as evidence of a submerged city. While it is understandable that the discoverers might be reluctant to disclose the exact location, it is more difficult to understand why they were equally unwilling to disclose their own identities. They also claimed, without evidence, that the structures predated the pyramids of Egypt. Funds are now being sought for a fully fledged expedition.
Jay/Brad Yoon offered support for a Carribean Atlantis in a short 2012 book, Atlantis Shrugged, in which he claims that a dry Caribbean Basin, 13,000 feet below sea level, was home to Atlantis, but the surrounding ring of mountains retaining the ocean was shattered by an earthquake and flooded Atlantis.
*Even more startling is the wild suggestion that Antigua, one of the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, in an hour-long YouTube video(c) may have been Atlantis. This rambling, often boring, film offers no real evidence apart from some megalithic features, the likes of which have been found around the world.*
(a) http://www.losthistorypublishing.com/Catastrophy.html (offline 05/09/15)