Landbridges, in the distant past, are believed to have played a critical part in early human migration. Similarly, landbridges, both real and speculative are important components in many Atlantis theories. There is no doubt that the ending of the last Ice Age and the consequent rising sea levels led to the creation of islands where continuous land has previously existed. The separation of Ireland and Britain from each other and from mainland Europe is just one example, the latter leading to a number of writers identifying ‘Doggerland‘, which lay between Britain and Denmark as the home of Atlantis.
The two most discussed landbridges were at the Bering Strait, where it is thought that it provided the gateway for humans to enter the Americas from Asia and an Atlantic landbridge, >which was proposed as early as the 17th century<and later by John B. Newman in 1849 [488.8], who wrote that “in former times an island of enormous dimensions, named Atlantis, stretched from the north-western coast of Africa across the Atlantic ocean and that over this continental tract both man and beast migrated westward.“
The Atlantic landbridge idea became quite popular by the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries and even as late as the 1970s when espoused by Rene Malaise(a), but is now completely abandoned. Although there was only one suggestion that the Bering Strait was in any way connected with Plato’s Atlantis, several commentators identified an Atlantic landbridge as the ideal location for Plato’s Atlantis, particularly as he placed it in the Atlantic Sea. However, this should not be confused with the Atlantic Ocean, a word that had an entirely different meaning for the Greeks.
The idea was initially put forward in order to explain the floral and faunal similarities shared by the Old World and the New World of the Americas. The hypothetical Atlantic landbridges>or a series of steppingstone islands.<also offered possible routes for the peopling of the Americas by Europeans and/or Africans. It was not long before the discovery of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge(b) seemed to confirm this idea. Then it was suggested that Atlantis existed on this landbridge, which was destroyed by rising sea levels after the last Ice Age, leaving just the Azores, Madeira and a few other islands as remnants.
A number of landbridges have been proposed for the Mediterranean and linked to a variety of Atlantis theories, the most notable being proposed for the straits of Gibraltar, Sicily, Messina and>Bonafacio. Although it is evident that landbridges existed at most of these locations, to associate them with any particular Atlantis theory requires that the date of their existence is compatible with Plato’s narrative.<
(a) Atlantis, Vol.27, No.1, Jan-Feb 1974.
Sweden was claimed to be the location of Atlantis by Olaus (Olaf) Rudbeck in the 17th century. Before him another Swede, Johannes Bureus, expressed similar views. His friend Carl Lundius supported Rudbeck’s theories, but received none of the acclaim.
In the 18th century Carl Friedrich Baër was happy to follow a fashion, which placed Atlantis in the Holy Land. I am not aware of any major Swedish contribution to Atlantology in the 19th century.*However, the following century saw a number of Swedish researchers make valuable contributions to the subject.*
The discovery of the Mid Atlantic Ridge led René Malaise and Hans Pettersson to suggest the Azores as remnants of Atlantis, an idea still popular today. Around the same time Gunnar Rudberg proposed that Syracuse in Sicily had inspired some of Plato’s description of Atlantis. Arvid Högbom advocated the North Sea as the location of Atlantis in 1915, long before Jürgen Spanuth. In the same region Nils Bergquist opted for the Dogger Bank as has Ulf Erlingsson.
More recently, we seem to have come full circle as Bertil Falk has revived some of Rudbeck’s ideas(a) and a short illustrated 2007 paper (updated 2015)(b) by Robert Fritzius also added some additional modern support. However, for something quite different we have Carl Festin promoting a Mediterranean location.
*Nils-Axel Mörner and Bob Lind, two controversial researchers, have proposed, in a number of papers, that a Bronze Age trading centre existed in southeast Sweden, which had links with the Mycenaeans, Minoans and Phoenicians in the Mediterranean. They suggest that ancient references to Hyperborea may have been generated by this trade. However, although they do not associate Hyperborea with the story of Atlantis, they delivered their theories in papers presented to the Atlantis Conferences of 2008 [750.685] and 2011(c). They also touch on a number of other peripheral subjects including Cygnus, archaeoastronomy and amber. Similar views on early Baltic trade with the Mediterranean have been expressed elsewhere(d).*
The Azores (Açores) is a group of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic, situated 740 miles from the mainland. The first recorded instance of their discovery is in 1427 by the Portuguese, although there is some evidence to suggest a much earlier date.>Nevertheless, the earliest association of the Azores with Atlantis dates from 1499 when Maximillian I of the Holy Roman Empire (1459-1519) appointed Lukas Fugger vom Reh as the ‘titular’ king of Atlantis. The certificate of appointment nominated the Azores as the remnants of Atlantis. Markus Fugger a descendant of Lukas has published a 2013 paper defending this identification of the Azores with Atlantis(x).<
In 2012, the president of the Portuguese Association of Archeological Research (APIA), Nuno Ribeiro, revealed(c) that rock art had been found on the island of Terceira, supporting his belief that human occupation of the Azores predates the arrival of the Portuguese by many thousands of years. A further article(a) in October 2016 expanded on this matter. Ribeiro’s research was trotted out in a more recent documentary from Amazon Prime with the tabloid title of New Atlantis Documentary – Proof that Left Historians Speechless(u), which explores the claim that the Azores are the mountain tops of sunken Atlantis!
However, the Portuguese authorities set up a commission to look into Ribeiro’s contentions and concluded(q) that any perceived remnants of an ancient civilization were either natural rock formations or structures of more modern origin. Nevertheless, as the Epoch Times reports(r) that “Antonieta Costa, a post-doctoral student at the University of Porto in Portugal, remained unconvinced and continued research into the hypothesis that the Azores were inhabited in antiquity and even in prehistory.”
It is thought that the Phoenicians and Etruscans competed for control of the Azores in later years. In 2011, APIA archaeologists reported that they had discovered on Terceira island, a significant number of fourth-century BC Carthaginian temples. They believe the temples were dedicated to the ancient Phoenician/Carthaginian goddess Tanit(c). The Jesuit, Athanasius Kircher, in his 1665 book Mundus Subterraneus, was first to propose that these islands were the mountain peaks of sunken Atlantis. This view was adopted by Ignatius Donnelly and developed by successive writers and is still supported by many today. The latest recruit is Carl Martin, who is currently working on a book locating Atlantis in the Azores and destroyed around 9620 BC. The late Christian O’Brien was a long-time proponent of the Atlantis in Azores theory. A bathymetric study of the area suggested to O’Brien that the archipelago had been a mid-Atlantic island 480 x 720 km before the end of the last Ice Age. Apart from the inundation caused by the melting of the glaciers, he found evidence that seismic activity caused the southern part of this island to sink to a greater degree than the north. O’Brien pointed out that six areas of hot spring fields (associated with volcanic disturbances) are known in the mid-Atlantic ridge area, and four of them lie in the Kane-Atlantis area close to the Azores. In 1982 Peter Warlow suggestedthat a sea-level drop of 200 metres would have created an island as large as England and Wales with the present islands of the Azores as its mountains. However, Rodney Castleden contradicts that idea[225.187] saying that if the sea level was lowered by 200m “the Azores would remain separate islands.” Bathymetric maps of the archipelago, above and on the Internet(g), verify Castleden’s contention. This together with a 1982 paper from P.J.C. Ryall et.al, demonstrates more clearly that the Azores are just the summits of volcanic seamounts that rise from an underwater plateau that is 1000 metres below sea level. Professor Ryall and his associates were dealing objectively with the geology of the area and were not promoting any view regarding Atlantis. The geological evidence supporting an Azorean Atlantis is therefore very weak, verging on the non-existent.
Andrew Collins, the leading proponent of a Cuban Atlantis, has written a short review of the Azorean Hypothesis(h).
Frank Joseph has offered his views on Atlantis in the Azores in a YouTube video(l).
Nikolai Zhirov recounts in his book[458.363] how Réne Malaise wrote to him regarding a Danish engineer named Frandsen who identified a plateau, 2/3rds the size of Finland, south of the Azores, whose summits were 4,000-5,000m metres higher than it. Adding canals gave Frandsen a configuration that closely matched Plato’s description of Atlantis. Zhirov also noted[p403] that in 1957 a journal entitled Atlantida was published in the Azores.
In 1976, Jürgen Spanuth pointed out[015.249] that the Azores are not the mountain peaks of a sunken continent but are instead volcanic rock created through an eruption. He quotes similar sentiments expressed by Hans Pettersson. A 2003 paper(b) by four French scientists demonstrated that the Azores had been greatly enlarged during the last Ice Age. However, showing that the Azores were more extensive is not disputed, but it in no way demonstrates that it was the location of Atlantis. In fact, Plato’s description of the magnificent mountains to the north and the mud shoals that were still a hazard in Plato’s day do not match the Azores. The geologist, Darby South, strongly denied that the Azores could have been the location of Atlantis according to a couple of articles posted on the internet some years ago(a). However, natives of the archipelago are quite happy to assert a link with Atlantis, as travel writer David Yeadon found on a visit there(d). Nevertheless, advocates of Atlantis in the Azores must accept that there is very little evidence of human occupation in prehistoric times, apart from the rock art mentioned above. When the Portuguese arrived on the island in the 15thcentury they were found to be uninhabited and without any evidence of an earlier civilisation there. Initially, the only hint of earlier visitors was some 3rd-century BC coins from Carthage discovered on the island of Corvo. However, in recent years Bronze Age rock art(f) and what is described as a Carthaginian temple(e) have both been discovered on the island of Terceira.
Otto Muck among others was certain that the enlarged Azores had deflected the Gulf Stream during the Ice Age, contributing to the extent of the western European glaciation. However, a 2016 report(m) from the Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment (CAGE) offered evidence that the Gulf Stream was not interrupted during the last Ice Age, which would seem to undermine one of Muck’s principal claims.
Nevertheless, it is still far from clear what caused the ending of the last Ice Age. A number of writers including Muck speculated that an asteroidal impact in the Atlantic was responsible. When the Azores were discovered in the 15th century they were uninhabited and without any evidence of an earlier civilisation. It can be reasonably argued that since the Azores today are just the mountain peaks of a larger mainly submerged island, any remains would be more likely to be found on the plains and estuaries that are now underwater. One undeveloped theory is that the name ‘Azores’ might be linked to the ninth king of Atlantis, Azaes, listed by Plato. This idea is supported by the linguist Dr Vamos-Toth Bator. However, a Portuguese correspondent has pointed out that the Azores is named after a goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) commonly found on the islands and portrayed on the regional flag. The renowned writer, Dennis Wheatley, used the possibility of Atlantis being located in the Azores as a backdrop to his 1936 thriller, They Found Atlantis.
In August 2013 Portuguese American Journal reported that the many pyramidal structures on Pico are clear evidence of extensive human activity in the archipelago long before the arrival of the Portuguese(o). A YouTube video(p) offers some interesting views of the pyramids.
The following month the same journal announced the discovery of a pyramidal structure 60 metres high at a depth of 40 metres off the coast of the Azorean island of Terceira(i). Shortly afterwards the Portuguese Navy denied the existence of any such structure(j). Not exactly a surprise! Nevertheless, an Italian website has attempted to breathe new life into the story by linking this underwater pyramid report with pyramidal structures found on the island of Pico(k).
>Atlantisforschung published an article that included critical comments about the ‘pyramid’ from both Greg Little and Andrew Collins.“A Portuguese Navy commander states that there is a read error of the sonar data and that the alleged pyramid was a volcanic mound. Afterwards, the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute [also] stated that the “ Pyramid ” was a known volcanic mound and posted actual underwater bottom contours of the site obtained from a hydrographic survey.
For the Portuguese Navy and its officials (who were originally said to be excited and involved), that was the end of the matter. But allegations arose almost immediately that this was a cover-up. Apparently, there was a Pyramid of Atlantis there, some claimed, and for obscure reasons, the government didn’t want anyone to know about it. At least that’s what is claimed. But of course, none of the people claiming a cover-up will ever go there and dive or lower a camera themselves. It’s probably [from their point of view; much better to keep it alive as a mystery. At the end of the day, no one wants to admit the truth — or know the truth.”(z).<
The Wikiversity website has an extensive article(s) on the location of Atlantis, which is focused on the Azores and the bathymetric evidence for that archipelago having been a large single landmass at the end of the last Ice Age when sea levels were much lower. However, it is based on the literal acceptance of Plato’s 9,000 years before Solon for the date of the Atlantean War.
April 2018, saw British tabloid interest in Atlantis revived with further speculation on the Azores as the location of Plato’s submerged island(t). However, the details of the claim were rejected by Dr Richard Waller a lecturer at Keele University. Not content with recycling the old Azores theory, The Star also throws in the even more nonsensical idea of an Antarctican Atlantis.
A paper by Gerard Janssen of Leiden University places Homer’s Ogygia in the Azores(v).
In 2019, Fehmi Krasniqi published a three-and-a-half-hour video on the building of the Egyptian pyramids. For Krasniqi, the Ancient Black Egyptians travelled to the Americas and many others parts of the world(x). He claims that these ancient Egyptians travelled to America using Atlantis, now the Azores as a stepping-stone. This is offered as an explanation for the huge Olmec stone heads with African features!
The most recent (2021) advocate of Atlantis in the region of the Azores is Victor Staner(w). In the same year (2021) I was made aware of the work of Matthew Chinn who has also pinpointed a location (38° 32′ 06″ N, 29° 24′ 09″ W) in the Azores region as the site of Atlantis, using satellite imagery and bathymetric data.
(q) https://www.scribd.com/document/327357287/Relatorio-Comissao (Portuguese)
Geology is one of the many ‘ologies’ brought into play by modern Atlantis studies. Plato records that the stone quarries of Atlantis produced red, white and black rock that was extensively used to adorn the capital port city.
Stone with all these colours are usually associated with volcanic eruptions in the form of tufa, pumice and lava. The Central Mediterranean is home to the most seismically and volcanically unstable region in that entire 2,300 mile long sea.
Plato also notes that “at a later time” following exceptional earthquakes (Tim. 25d), Atlantis was devastated by inundation and the Athenians wiped out by being “swallowed up by the earth”. The proponents of the Iberian Atlantis, such as Diaz-Montexano, will have to explain the geology that would simultaneously cause such destruction at two points separated by over 1,500 miles assuming that if they were that far apart and that the two events were concurrent.
However, the answer may lie in the fact that before Plato the terms ‘Atlantic’ and ‘Pillars of Heracles’ had meanings other than what we understand by them today. The western Mediterranean was known to some as the Atlantic Sea and the straits of Sicily and Messina, between Africa and Italy, were, among other locations, referred to as the Pillars of Heracles. In order to share the consequences of even severe earthquakes would place Atlantis at it nearest to Athens somewhere in the vicinity of Malta, only 500 miles away. There is clear evidence of such seismic convulsions in that region.
Another view of Atlantean geology is offered by Carl Martin(a). He opts for the Azores as the remnants of Atlantis which was destroyed by post-glacial crustal adjustments. He speculates that Atlantis “might have suffered from the effect of rebound compensation?”, and wonders if it “could have been “sucked” down to make up for the crustal rise in North America and Northern Europe?”
R. Cedric Leonard also advocates the Azores as Atlantis based mainly on the oceanographic surveys of over half a century ago(b).>Also in the mid-twentieth century there were still efforts to justify a view of geology and Atlantis based on what are now outdated theories such as the different views held by Hörbiger and Malaise(d).<
The announcement in May 2013 that part of a previously unknown mini-continent had been found in the Atlantic, 900 miles off the coast of Brazil, immediately got some of the print media linking it to Atlantis(c). It should be kept in mind that Plato never described Atlantis as a continent, but consistently referred to it as an island, which along with other islands led to a continent. Even today travellers going from Sicily to Southern Italy, refer to going to the ‘continente’.
>(d) Atlantis Vol.7. No.4 May 1954<
Paul Couissin (1885-1932) was a French writer on ancient history who wrote of his conviction that Atlantis existed in the Atlantic, offering a stepping-stone between the two continents. He based his views on the similarity between the flora and fauna to be found on both sides of the Atlantic(b).>This linkage was popular in Couissin’s time having been promoted by Ignatius Donnelly and others such as J.T. Short.<
>The concept of an Atlantic landbridge was proposed as early as the 17th century and later by John B. Newman in 1849 [488.8], who wrote that “in former times an island of enormous dimensions, named Atlantis, stretched from the north-western coast of Africa across the Atlantic Ocean and that over this continental tract both man and beast migrated westward.”
The Atlantic landbridge idea became quite popular by the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries and even as late as the 1970s when it was still espoused by Rene Malaise(a), but is now completely abandoned.<
(a) Atlantis, Vol.27, No.1, Jan-Feb 1974.
He wrote about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and its connection with Atlantis. Malaise was dismissive of Alfred Wegener’s theories, preferring the idea of landbridges rather than continental drift as the explanation for the existence of matching flora and fauna on both sides of the Atlantic. This view was expressed in a 1972 booklet, Land-bridges or Continental Drift.
>Malaise also wrote An Alternative to Continental Drift in 1972, in which he supported the idea of a large meteorite impacting the Earth to the extent of altering the planet’s geographical layout!(e) <
He supported the 1934 ‘constriction hypothesis’ of the paleozoologist, Nils H. Odhner, which attributed vertical crustal movement to ocean temperature change rather than isostasy.
He contended that at least parts of the Ridge were exposed during the last Ice Age and that the fossilised remains of freshwater diatoms found submerged on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge are evidence that the exposed Ridge contained freshwater lakes(c). Malaise believed that the Azores are remnants of Atlantis.
Malaise was also convinced that Atlantis probably traded with Egyptian colonists in England, who were responsible for Stonehenge! (Sykes’ Atlantean Research, Oct/Nov 1949)
He has also argued in a 1973 booklet, Atlantis: A Verified Myth that the similarity of arrowheads found on both sides of the Atlantic point to a common ancestry, possibly on an Atlantic Atlantis. He further suggested that Atlantis had an important trading centre at the mouth of the River Elbe.
>In 1948, Malaise published a three-part paper, Atlantis: The Atlantis Continent and its Submersion in Sykes’ Atlantean Research magazine.(d)<
In his 1951 offering, Atlantis en Geologisk Verklighet, he included a number of maps illustrating his contention that Atlantis was submerged over a long protracted period of time.
Malaise supported the idea that Plato was referring to lunar ‘years’ when he spoke of 9,000 years being the time between the war with Atlantis and Solon’s visit to Egypt. Malaise believed that Atlantis finally disappeared in the 13th/12th century BC.
Dale Drinnon offers an extensive review(a) of Malaise and his theories.
Malaise had ideas that may appear very dated today, but in the light of scientific knowledge of his day, his conclusions were as valid as any other. In the same way new ideas today, based on what we know now, will appear equally antiquated fifty years from now. Every age repeats the mistake of thinking that it has reached the pinnacle of scientific understanding.
The excellent Atlantisforschung.de website has a more comprehensive article on the work of Malaise(b).
(d) Atlantean Research Vol.1, Nos. 2,3 and 4, 1948.
>(e) Atlantis, Vol 25, No.2, Mar-April 1972<
Otto Heinrich Muck (1892-1956) was born in Vienna and graduated as an engineer at the Munich College of Advanced Technology. Muck had a very productive life that saw him hold patents for around 2000 inventions at the time of his death. During World War I, he was a flying officer and during World War II, he invented the U-boat schnorkel and was also a member of the Peenemunde Rocket Research Team. After the war Muck was a scientific consultant to large industrial concerns. He died in 1956 following an accident.
>Muck was an ardent catastrophist, a view that was at the heart of his Atlantis theory. Unrelated but interesting was his willingness to endorse the idea that pre-Columbian America has been visited by Phoenicians! Unfortunately, according to Atlantisforschung, his belief was based on the disputed ‘inscriptions’ found at Pedra da Gávea in Brazil. The same site has a number of articles concerning the life and work of Muck(f).<
Muck published his worthwhile contribution to the Atlantis mystery, in German, Alles über Atlantis, in 1954. It was translated into English by Fred Bradley and published in Britain in 1978 +. The book was well received and his views continue to have support today.
Muck’s book is now out of print, but English translations of it can now be viewed and downloaded from the Internet(a).
Muck believed that Atlantis had been located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and was destroyed as a consequence of an asteroidal impact. He maintained that the asteroid hit the Atlantic, east of the Caribbean, creating the remarkable Carolina Bays en route with its attendant debris and causing tectonic disturbance of such a magnitude that it led to the sinking of Atlantis. He considered the Azores to be remnants of Atlantis.
Muck attributes many of our flood myths to the ensuing tsunamis. With Teutonic precision, he pinpoints the time and date of this disaster to 8.00 pm on June 5th, 8498 BC, but carelessly omits to tell us whether this is Greenwich Mean Time, Central European Time or some other zone.
Muck’s impact theory would appear to have been ‘inspired’ by the studies of two American geologists, F.A. Melton and W. Schriever in the early 1930s and the later work by W.F. Prouty(a).
However, I must point out that when an aerial survey was carried out in 1931 when the number of ‘bays’ was counted at 3,000. Muck estimated that the bombardment was even greater off the coast, with as many as 7,000 more hits in the ocean. So based on this total of 10,000 Muck proceeded to calculate the mass of the asteroid. Now that we know that the bays on land may number as many as half a million, Muck’s estimations need serious revision.
Muck identified what he considered to be two huge impact craters in the Atlantic east of Puerto Rico as evidence of the catastrophe that led to the destruction of Atlantis. Unfortunately for Muck supporters, improved satellite imagery since the 1970s has shown these ‘craters’ to be chimeras(c).
He further contended that prior to the destruction of Atlantis in the Atlantic the Gulf Stream had been blocked and that after the catastrophe it had pushed northward improving the climate of the British Isles and northwest Europe. In this regard, he was following the views of René Malaise. A German article(b) by Dr Gerhard Kühn, in 2016, has offered some support for Muck’s suggestion that the Gulf Stream had been deflected by a large island in the Atlantic before the end of the last Ice Age. While in the same year, another report(d) proposed that the Gulf Stream had not been interrupted during the last Ice Age!
Understandably, half a century later, advances in various scientific disciplines have demonstrated flaws in his theories. Nevertheless, a number of researchers, such as Wolter Smit, Dale Drinnon, Roland Horn and Prescott Rawlings still support aspects of Muck’s theories. More recently, Andrew Collins adopted Muck’s Atlantic impact theory in his Atlantis in the Caribbean.
However, Muck’s book is still worth reading as a study in theory building. Used copies can (Feb. 2013) be had very cheaply (€0.01) through Amazon.
Over twenty years after his death, another book commenced by Muck was published as Geburt der Kontinente (Birth of the continents)+, completed by F. Wackers and edited by Mario Muck and Ferdinand Wackers.