Oscar Theodore Broneer (1894-1992) was born in Sweden but moved to the United States in 1913. Plato described both the Acropolis of Athens as well as Atlantis at the time of their war. He noted that a spring on the Acropolis had been destroyed by an earthquake at that time. Then in 1939, Broneer rediscovered the spring together with evidence that it had been destroyed around 1200 BC, giving us a possible anchor for dating the Atlantis conflict. Broneer’s papers are archived at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.
An interesting 2020 review of Broneer’s work by Tony Petrangelo can be found on his Atlantis.FYI website(a).
Some years ago, Rainer W. Kühne drew attention to the fact that Plato referred to a spring (Crit.112d) on the Acropolis that was destroyed during an earthquake, which he noted had only existed for about 25 years, but was rediscovered by Broneer. This discovery has implications for the historical reality of Atlantis as well as the time of its demise.
The full text of this important illustrated paper is available online(b).
A Tsunami was probably first described in the 5th century BC by Thucydides when he wrote “in my opinion, the cause of the phenomenon was this: where the earthquake was most violent, the sea receded and was then pushed back with even greater violence, thus bringing about a flood. Such a thing would not have happened without an earthquake” (Peloponnesian War, Book III.89)(b). However, there are also conditions that can produce tsunamis inland, such as occurred around 500 AD inundating Geneva in the Alps(k)(m).
The word ‘tsunami’ first appeared in an English language publication in the September 1896 edition of National Geographic Magazine in which the devastation caused by an earthquake wave in Japan was graphically described.
Recent studies(g) indicate that a similar tsunami saved the Greek town of Nea Poteidaia from a Persian attack in 479 BC. Herodotus in reporting the event attributed the Persian defeat to divine intervention by Poseidon, god of the sea.
A similar event on an even greater scale has been one of the suggestions as the possible cause of the flooding of Atlantis. A 2002 paper(a), by Louisiana State University geologist, Gary Byerly and his team, identified an ancient asteroid impact that generated a tsunami that “swept around the earth several times, inundating everything except the mountains”. The study of ancient tsunamis is at a very early stage of development.
>A 2019 report was published online in 2022 in which it was revealed that the Yucatan asteroid impact credited with wiping out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago generated mile-high tsunamis that travelled halfway around the world. One wave was estimated to have been 1.8 miles high(ae).<
Ivan T. Sanderson in one of his books, Investigating the Unexplained , recounts an 1863 report of a 200-foot high tsunami that sped up the Ganges and Houghli Rivers in India killing tens of thousands of people without ‘snapping-off’ trees. He contrasts this with the tree stumps covering acres around East Creek, New Jersey that have all been broken off at the same height and where he suggested that only a tsunami could have caused such widespread and uniform destruction. In view of the fact that some of these cedar trees had six-foot diameter trunks, he speculates on the possible size of a tsunami that could bring about such extreme damage.
Perhaps even more relevant to the study of Atlantis is the evidence gathered by Jürgen Spanuth in his chapter on the ‘Natural Catastrophes of the 13th Century’ including an interesting section on tsunamis [015.167].
Marc-André Gutscher of the University of Western Brittany in Plouzané, France, has discovered evidence of an ancient tsunami on Spartel Island, an Atlantis candidate, in the Gulf of Cadiz. Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has pointed out that Josephus, the 1st-century Jewish historian, seems to describe the devastation caused by its assault on the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal at the time of the Lusitanians and Cantabrians in the 1st millennium BC.
Professor Stefano Tinti of Bologna University visited Sardinia and explained(r) “that until the 1980s no one was aware that tidal waves had occurred in the Mediterranean. But since 2004 scientists have identified 350 events of this type over a 2,500-year period,” and regarding the Sardinian tsunami “So what would have been required in our case?” he then asked. “We’re talking about a huge volume of water, some 500 metres high [the elevation up to which the nuraghi were affected]. Only a comet could do that if the impact occurred very close to the coast and in a very specific direction,” he asserted. An event of this sort may have occurred near Cagliari, with the resulting wave devastating the plain of Campidano.”
Tinti has also noted(w) that generally speaking, the majority of tsunamis are generated by seismic rather than volcanic activity. Globally, volcanic tsunamis account for only 2% of the total, however, the profusion of volcanoes in Southern Italy has considerably increased this percentage. Furthermore, according to a recent article on the BBC website “The scale of the tsunami hazard from volcanoes that collapse into the sea has been underestimated.”(x)
A 2022 report of a recent study(ac) revealed some new interesting information.
“Archaeologists have found evidence of the largest known earthquake in human history — a terrifying magnitude-9.5 megaquake that caused a 5,000-mile-long (8,000 kilometres) tsunami and prompted human populations to abandon nearby coastlines for 1,000 years.
The earthquake struck about 3,800 years ago in what is now northern Chile when a tectonic plate rupture lifted the region’s coastline. The subsequent tsunami was so powerful, it created waves as high as 66 feet (20 meters) and travelled all the way to New Zealand, where it hurled car-size boulders hundreds of miles inland, the researchers found.”
More recently, Dhani Irwanto has written about the probable effect of tsunamis on his Indonesian Atlantis(y). Studies of the sedimentary record in a sea cave in Sumatra have revealed the frequency and strength of tsunamis in the region over a five-thousand-year span from 5900 BC until 900 BC(u).
Tsunamis are also associated with the destruction on Crete following the eruption of Thera in the 2ndmillennium BC. A TV documentary entitled Sinking Atlantis(i), provided graphic evidence of tsunami damage on Minoan Crete(h).
J.V.Luce cited[120.119] a number of local legends from around the Aegean that may have originated with the tsunami that followed the eruption on Thera.
However, the extent of this damage is strongly contested by W. Sheppard Baird(j) and he proposes instead that it was in fact more likely to have been a pyroclastic surge from the Theran eruption that caused the most damage.
A recent report(d) concludes that a large tsunami generated by the volcanic activity of Mt. Etna around 6000 BC produced waves up to 43 feet high that struck the coasts of Greece and Libya. This event would have caused devastation on nearby Malta, where evidence of past tsunamis was published in the journal Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie. The research was carried out over three years by scientists from the University of Portsmouth, led by Dr Malcolm Bray with assistance from colleagues at the Department of Geography at the University of Malta(n). A 1693 earthquake generated the earliest recorded tsunami on Malta and as recent as 1908 Malta was hit by a tsunami that resulted from a catastrophic earthquake in the vicinity of the Strait of Messina(p).
On the Atlantic west coast of Ireland, we have a 250 km2 region, in County Clare, known as the Burren, which consists of limestone denuded of soil cover. Recently, strong evidence was discovered suggesting a 4000 BC tsunami in the region(o). For me, the karst landscape of the Burren is reminiscent of parts of Malta.
Plato’s description does not support the idea of a tsunami as the primary cause of Atlantis’ inundation since tsunamis will eventually subside and return to the ocean, whereas Atlantis was still underwater years after the event, causing a permanent navigation hazard. John Michael Greer makes a similar point [345.126] in relation to the megatsunami which struck Madagascar in 2800 BC. Evidence of other ancient megatsunamis in Hawaii was presented at the 2012 meeting of the American Geophysical Union(l). The power of megatsunamis is highlighted in an article on the UK’s MailOnline website(t).
Recent excavations at Olympia on the Peloponnese peninsula, the location of the original Olympic Games, have pointed to the site having been repeatedly hit by devastating tsunamis during the past 7,000 years(c).
The Bunurong tribe in Australia have a ‘myth’ that explains the creation of Melbourne’s Port Philip Bay. A recent article(e) has linked this to a tsunami that resulted from the impact of Comet Manhuika southwest of New Zealand in the 15th century. A more cautious view of this event is expressed elsewhere(f).
The excellent livescience.com website has an interesting list of ten history-making tsunamis(q), while Wikipedia offers an extensive list of European tsunamis from prehistoric times until the present(s).
A 100-metre-high tsunami, caused by a landslide, one of the highest ever recorded was experienced in a remote area of Greenland in June 2017. Four lives were lost and eleven houses were destroyed in the fishing village of Nuugaatsiaq, located on an island about 20 kilometres away(v).
The Greenland event would have been greatly overshadowed, literally, by the tsunami generated by the asteroid that struck Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula around 66 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs. According to a 2021 report(z) it has been estimated that the impact produced a tsunami nearly a mile high!
In 2020, David Keys, author of Catastrophe  wrote an article for the UK’s Independent newspaper outlining the most recent research into the 6200 BC tsunami that destroyed Doggerland. “It is estimated that multiple giant waves inundated some 2,700 square miles of land – from Scotland in the north to Norfolk in the south.
New underwater research carried out by the universities of Bradford, Warwick, St Andrews and Wales has for the first time discovered that the tsunami devastated parts of East Anglia and adjacent land which is now submerged beneath the southern part of the North Sea.” (ab)
Stuart L. Harris published a paper in 2020 entitled 5760 BC: tsunami at Rhine Valley caused by Planet X(ad). This was based on a translation of a long inscription written on a cliff face in Germany. Harris explains that in 5760 BC “satellites from a mysterious Planet X struck the continental shelf of Texas “that pushed a piece of the shelf the size of Massachusets into the Gulf. Above the displaced shelf, the sea towered 1.9 km high. The resulting tsunami dispersed in all directions and obliterated coastal communities around the North Atlantic.
In Germany, it surged over the Ruur Mountains west of the Rhine Valley, flooded the middle Rhine between Mainz and Karlsruhe, and continued over the eastern escarpment toward Heilbronn. It left extensive ripple marks in the Rhine Valley and the eastern plateau.” Harris offers some interesting data to support this claim.”
On August 12, 2021, within minutes of each other, two earthquakes struck the South Sandwich Islands of the South Atlantic. National Geographic reported “These rumblings, which occurred on August 12, 2021, were not unusual on their own, since the islands sit atop a combative meeting of tectonic plates. The odd part is that they were followed by a tsunami powerful enough to show up on distant shores along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Although the swell wasn’t destructive, it was the first since the catastrophic tsunami of 2004 to be recorded in three different oceans(aa).“
(a) See: Archive 2931
Tantalis is referred to, by Pliny, as the capital of ancient Lydia in western Turkey. It was later known as Magnesium ad Sipylum. Tantalis was apparently named after the legendary King Tantalus, who had remarkable similarities with Atlas; they were both Titans, supported the heavens and had mountains named after them(a). This powerful city was flooded following an earthquake and is now reputed to be located beneath the now dried-up Lake Saloe. Also note that Atlantis is an anagram of Tantalis – coincidence?
British archaeologist Peter James has identified Tantalis as the original Atlantis and that it was located just north east of modern Izmir (Smyrna). James reached this conclusion after a study of classical writers, comparative mythology and local place-names. Unfortunately, there has, as yet, been no archaeological expedition to confirm James’ contention.
Objections to James’ theory are that Tantalis was:
i) not on an island.
ii) not outside the conventional location of the Pillars of Hercules.
iii) too close to Greece (James raises this objection against the Santorini theory).
iv) not a circular city (?).
N.B. Sardis was also known as the capital of Lydia by the early 7th century BC.
Spartel Island also known as the Majuan Bank, was situated just west of the Strait of Gibraltar and according to Jacques Collina-Girard was the site of Atlantis. There is little doubt that before the last deglaciation Spartel was dry land.
Marc-Andre Gutscher from the University of Brest has added some support to Collina-Girard’s theory based on his interpretation of new bathymetric data and is prepared to debate the viability of human habitation on Spartel around 9600 BC. According to Gutscher a large earthquake hit the island 12,000 years ago. Furthermore, there is also evidence of at least eight subsequent earthquakes, each of which could have resulted in a drop of the seafloor by several metres.
Accordingly Gustcher speculated that Spartel circa 9600 BC could have been 40 metres higher than expected. However, at this early date he would not expect the Bronze Age civilisation described by Plato to have existed on the island and that his sonar investigation did not reveal any suggestion of an extinct civilisation.
Gustcher subsequently withdrew his support for a Spartel Atlantis(a). However, Collina-Girard continues to advocate the idea, expanding on his views in a 2009 book, L’Atlantide retrouvée? Enquête scientifique autour d’un mythe.
Further criticism of Collina-Girard’s theory has been voiced by Alain Moreau(b).
*(b) https://www.mondenouveau.fr/continents-disparus-les-fausses-atlantides-antarctique-ile-du-cap-spartel-partie-4/* (link broken Oct. 2017)
Jacques Hébert is the author of Atlantide: La Solution Oubliee concerning Atlantis. As a former Parisian police chief, he claims to have applied his skills in that field to solving the mystery of Plato’s island. He critically re-examines the original text and offers an interpretation that he believes provides a more rational and harmonious reading of the narrative. His conclusion is that Atlantis lay in the Indian Ocean and that its culture was derived from the Indus valley. He specifically identifies the Yemeni island of Socotra as part of the Atlantean civilisation
Hébert identifies Bab el Mandeb as Plato’s Pillars of Heracles, by assuming that Solon mistook the description of that strait, given to him by the priests of Sais, with the Strait of Gibraltar, which has similar features. The earthquake that destroyed Atlantis is attributed by him to a close encounter with an extraterrestrial body.
A 2004 interview with Hébert can be read online(a).
(a) Wayback Machine (archive.org) (French)
Ammianus Marcellinus (330-395 AD) was a Greek historian, who was well-known to the Roman Emperor Julian.>He is one of a number of classical authors accepted as supporting the existence of Atlantis.<
He is widely quoted on the internet as having written that the destruction of Atlantis was an accepted fact by the intelligentsia of Alexandria. However, I am indebted to Bernhard Beier of Atlantisforschung.de for pointing out that no such statement was made by Marcellinus, referring to the English translations of his work by John C. Rolfe(a) and Charles D. Yonge(b). On the Atlantisforschung website(c) be suggests that the quote originated from an overly liberal interpretation of a line from Lewis Spence’s The History of Atlantis[259.33]. He described a class of earthquakes that suddenly swallows up large tracts of land as had happened in the Atlantic to a large island.
>A paper on the Atlantisforschung website ends with the following balanced comment;
“It certainly seems legitimate to classify the Roman historian as one of the ancient advocates of the historicity of the Platonic Atlantis account. However, his preoccupation with the subject was apparently only peripheral, and his apparent acceptance of the idea that a great island once sunk in the Atlantic is probably mainly due to his special esteem for Solon, Plato and the Ancient Egyptians to understand. After all, he apparently assumed the existence of a highly developed – in a completely unbiblical sense – ‘antediluvian’ culture that left its traces in later Egypt. It is possible that the lost parts of his ‘Res gestae’ contained other interesting clues to the mysteries of the prehistory, but this can only be speculated on.”<
Pharos in the Nile Delta has been suggested by R. McQuillen as the location of Atlantis. It should be noted that the cities of Canopus and Herakleion in the same area were submerged, apparently due to liquefaction(h), following an earthquake between 731 and 743 BC. If something similar occurred to Atlantis situated at Pharos it might explain the shoals of mud reported by Plato and may even have been the reason for the erection of the famous lighthouse there, completed around 280 BC.
This lighthouse at Pharos took 20 years to build and is reported to have been as much as 450 feet in height, topped with a statue of Poseidon (or Zeus). It is claimed that there was also a furnace on top which, according to Robert Temple , suggested that some form of mirror reflected light out to sea. There is evidence from writers as early as Homer that nocturnal sea travel was commonplace in ancient times(d), so some system of beacons to assist this, would have been a natural development.
Themistocles (524-459 BC) is traditionally credited with having established the first Greek lighthouse at Athens’ port, Piraeus, in the 5th century BC, which was a column with a beacon on top.
The coining of ‘pharology’ as a term to describe the study of lighthouses is generally credited to the British hydrographer John Purdy (1773-1843).
In a study of ancient lighthouses (pharology) by Ken Trethewey(a), now a retired marine engineer, he indicates that there were probably precursors to the Alexandrian edifice, but that there is no archaeological evidence to support this contention. Just as New York’s Empire State Building could not have been built without the preceding decades of evolution of building methods, similarly, the magnificent Pharos lighthouse must have had forerunners.
Another suggestion is that altars, temples and latterly Christian churches frequently situated at the end of promontories may have functioned initially as navigational aids, keeping in mind that early Mediterranean seafarers preferred coastal hugging to open sea travel. I would think it strange if such locations were not used for beacons.
A book review by Terrance M.P. Duggan draws attention to the use of the word ‘pharos’ as far back as Homer’s time, centuries before the Alexandrine structure was built(c). Duggan has also noted in an extensive study of ancient beacons(d) how “sailing at night was practiced in antiquity, first by the Phoenicians” and that “later, sailing at night is mentioned repeatedly by Homer in the Odyssey.” It must be obvious that such regular nocturnal travel could not have been achieved without the availability of some system of warning beacons.
Duggan also notes the use of false beacons such as in the story of “Palamedes’s father, the King of Naupilus or Euboea, then lit a series of false beacons leading to the shipwreck off Euboea of much of the Achaean fleet returning from the Trojan War, using false maritime navigational beacons to serve as a wrecker’s device, and with the use of these false navigational beacons quite clearly indicating the presence at this date of considerable numbers of genuine navigational beacons along coastlines to provide an expected navigational guide for ships sailing through the night.“
What I also found interesting was another quote by Duggan of a passage from Al-Mas’udi, circa 947 AD – “At the point where the Mediterranean Sea joins the Atlantic Ocean, there is a lighthouse of stone and copper (bronze), built by the giant Hercules (probably to be associated with the location of the Phoenician Temple of Melkart-Herakles on the North African side). It is covered with inscriptions and statues whose hand gestures proclaim to those coming from the Mediterranean who wish to enter the Atlantic Ocean, ‘There is no way beyond me’” This is a clear association of Heracles with a lighthouse and raises the question of whether this was a more widespread occurrence, which seems possible.
At the other end of the Mediterranean, the Colossus of Rhodes is also thought by some(g) to have functioned as a lighthouse, but at the very least was a daytime navigational marker, Heracles was also worshipped on the island as the founder of its first settlement.
The Tower of Hercules is an ancient Roman lighthouse on a peninsula about 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from the centre of the town of A Coruña, Galicia, in north-western Spain. There is also a claim that a Roman lighthouse existed at Akko (Acre), now in northern Israel, which is discussed elsewhere and supported by numismatic and archaeological evidence(i).
Massimo Rapisarda & Marcello Ranieri have now published a paper(f) pointing to possible land-based navigational aids, most likely, Phoenician, at the Sicilian promontory of Capo Gallo. They also refer to “the renowned Phoenician ability to navigate at night.”
Trethewey, a leading pharologist, published Ancient Lighthouses  in 2018. Furthermore, he has also published a series of eight lengthy papers on pharology on the academia.edu website(e).
Other papers by Marco Vigano also investigate the subject of proto-lighthouses(b)(j), furthermore, a book review by Terrance M.P. Duggan draws attention to the use of the word ‘pharos’ as far back as Homer’s time, centuries before the Alexandrine structure was built(c). Duggan has also written a paper on The Missing Navigational Markers(d).
A recent book, The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse, edited by Larry Brian Radka, argues spiritedly for the use of electricity at Pharos!
>Robert Graves suggested a number of locations as having Atlantean connections. Included in that list is Pharos(k).<
An earthquake, not a volcanic eruption resulted in the inundation of Atlantis according to Plato’s account. Although, for those who believe that the destruction of ancient Santorini was the inspiration behind Plato’s Atlantis story, it is not difficult to imagine an earthquake accompanying an eruption such as that which occurred on Thera in the 2nd millennium BC, particularly in an area that had been prone to frequent earthquakes over thousands of years.
Stavros Papamarinopoulos at the 2005 Atlantis Conference highlighted(h) the part played by earthquakes in the description of the ancient Athenian Acropolis in the Atlantis narrative, which he saw as a part of a 50-year ‘seismic storm’ which ravaged the Eastern Mediterranean around the 12th century BC [629.499].>Amos Nur & Eric H. Cline have written about this period of intense seismic activity in a paper on the Academia.edu website(l).<
Later, in 365 AD, a massive earthquake near Crete, killed thousands, caused damage in Alexandria and submerged the Roman city of Neapolis on the east coast of Tunisia, which has only recently been rediscovered(j). On Crete, some land was uplifted by as much as 30 feet.
However, earthquakes in the region have continued ever since. Dr. Iain Stewart recounts how an earthquake in Greece in the 5th century BC led to the death of 20,000 Spartans(i).
Earthquakes were once thought to be a form of divine retribution, so when an earthquake in 1570, caused death, damage, and the alteration of the River Po’s course, ‘infallible’ Pope Pius V declared it to be the consequence of god’s wrath against the Jews!(b)
A PhD Dissertation by Jamie Rae Bluestone investigates early understanding of earthquakes, which inevitably touches on the Atlantis story(a).
A recent paper by Marc-Andre Gutscher discussed the Cadiz subduction zone, which appears to be ‘locked’ and consequently liable to generate very strong earthquakes over long return periods. Gutscher offered evidence of deposits dated to 12000 BC which ‘may correspond to the destructive earthquake and tsunami described by Plato’. However, he recognised that Plato describes a Bronze Age society, while Spartel Island in the Strait of Gibraltar would only have been inhabited by ‘simple fishermen’ unlikely to have merited a mention in the records of the Egyptian priests.
In the Mediterranean, the Aegean and Turkey are the most seismically active, followed by Italy (including Sicily)(f) and North Africa from Morocco to Tunisia. There is a European Earthquake Catalogue that graphically illustrates earthquake activity over the past 1,000 years(e). Italy is also home to most of the active volcanoes in the Med.
Ben Davidson, promotes the idea that earthquakes are caused by solar activity (c) and offers what he considers compelling evidence on a YouTube clip(d).
Up-to-date earthquake information is available on the Geofon website(g).
A recent (April 2022) report(k) offered evidence “For the biggest earthquake in human history”……. “a terrifying magnitude-9.5 megaquake that caused a 5,000-mile-long (8,000 kilometers) tsunami and prompted human populations to abandon nearby coastlines for 1,000 years.
The earthquake struck about 3,800 years ago in what is now northern Chile when a tectonic plate rupture lifted the region’s coastline. The subsequent tsunami was so powerful, it created waves as high as 66 feet (20 meters) and traveled all the way to New Zealand, where it hurled car-size boulders hundreds of miles inland, the researchers found.”
[The words ‘seismology’ and ‘epicentre’ were coined in 1858 by an Irishman, Robert Mallet (1810-1881)]