An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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    Joining The Dots

    I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato’s own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.Read More »

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Steven Earle

Pole Shift

Pole Shift is a term used to describe a range of theories that includes an alteration to or even the complete reversal of the magnetic poles, a change to the axis of rotation of the entire planet as well as a possible sudden movement of the outer crust of the Earth relative to its axis.

The magnetic poles are always on the move and well documented, while their complete reversal is a much slower process, previous reversals have left us with geological ‘fingerprints’. It is suggested that another reversal is imminent, while some ‘prophets of doom’ have nominated late 2013 for the event, with dire consequences for mankind(f).

The latest data shows drift of about 40 miles a year, with a recent movement of 161 miles in just six months, creating navigation problems and the re-designation of airport runways which are named after their compass orientation(i).

Jason Colavito has unearthed an early reference to some form of axial pole shift, proposed as early 1883 in a book [1595] by the somewhat eccentric Australian, John Wood Beilby (1818-1903)(q). However, according to Colavito, there was an even earlier reference to a Pole Shift by Brasseur de Bourbourg in his Historical Chronology of the Mexicans of 1873(r). He also linked this event to the destruction of Atlantis(n).

The suggestion that an ancient axial pole shift was the consequence of plate tectonics has been disputed by William Sager & Anthony Koppers of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Although conceding that plate tectonics may have played a part they describe the 16-21 degree change, 84 million years ago as “an odd event.”(t)

The idea of wandering (magnetic) Poles was first proposed by the German priest Damian Kreichgauer(1859-1940)(g) in 1902[513], although at the time he found little support for the concept. The late Terrence Aym was of the opinion(l) that a magnetic pole reversal was a sign that the next Ice Age was beginning! Today, NASA provides us with a more sober view of the phenomenon of magnetic pole shifts(k).

Another theory suggests that a severe reduction in sunspot activity may herald the imminent return of another ‘little ice age’ such as was experienced in the 17th century and known as the Maunder Minimum. During that period only 50 sunspots were recorded instead of the usual 40-50 thousand(w). NASA has denied that there is any such impending cooling and that the possible effect of any reduced solar activity would be more than offset by the warming caused by human activity(x).

There are a number of variations on the basic concept of an axial change and an array of suggestions for the date of the last displacement. Generally speaking, the mechanism required to cause such a catastrophe is believed to be an impact by or close encounter with a large asteroid or comet. The continuing discovery of huge impact craters around the globe reinforces this possibility. However, recent studies have identified other processes that may have led to polar changes in the past(e).

The suggestion of an Antarctic location for Atlantis, as proposed by Rose and Rand Flem-Ath[062], is totally dependent on a pole shift. The Flem-Aths have interpreted the characteristics of our present icecaps as strong evidence for a number of previous pole shifts. This idea was inspired by the work of Charles Hapgood[369], who was convinced by such evidence as the Piri Reis Map and other ancient maps that seemed to indicate the existence of an Ice Age civilisation now partly covered by the Antarctic icecap. Hapgood has noted[1494.71] that in the 1950’s Karl A. Pauly[1496 and George W. Bain[1498 also supported a form of crustal shift, the former building on the work of A. S. Eddington[1497 of some decades earlier.

Nevertheless, a more critical look at Hapgood’s theory reveals a number of flaws(s), which should be considered in the light of the fact that Hapgood was a professor of history and not a geologist and Graham Hancock, who heavily endorsed Hapgood’s ideas is neither.

‘Project Atlantis’ is the title of an assignment(p) given to first-year geology students at Malaspina University-College in British Columbia. It was set by lecturer Professor Steven Earle with intention of developing the critical thinking of his students. The objective of the task is to investigate the Crustal Displacement theory of the Flem-Aths, whose ‘Atlantis in the Antarctic’ hypothesis is totally dependent on the occurrence of a pole shift resulting from some form of earth crustal displacement. Kyle Bennett has written a book and a number of papers on the subject.

Pole Shift[0795] by John White, frequently associates the destruction of Atlantis with a pole shift and anticipates another one in the near future, but unfortunately, most of the ‘evidence’ he offers in support of this contention comes from psychic sources, which cannot be accepted as reliable. However, it seems that some years later White completely revised his opinions according to a 1996 report(m).

Although the majority opinion is that pole shifts occurred as a result of encounters with extraterrestrial bodies, Hapgood contended that only the outer crust of the earth shifted and that this was the result of a build-up of ice at the Poles causing instability. However, it has since been calculated that the polar ice constitutes such a small percentage of the mass of the crust that it could not possibly have caused the slippage proposed by Hapgood. This idea and others are discussed on the Pole Shift Forum(o).

Another researcher, S.F.Wells, was prompted by Flem-Ath’s work to examine the Avebury stone circle to see if there was any evidence of a pole shift there. To his surprise, he did discover at Avebury and at other ancient monuments in the locality clear evidence of a pole change of up to 30° in the past. In 2003, he wrote a paper outlining his observations(c).

Flavio Barbiero has written a paper proposing that an impact with an asteroid as small as half a kilometre in diameter could result in a rapid pole shift.

A number of facts are proposed to support the idea of a pole shift. One of the most popular is the extermination of the mammoth, which once again was central to a recent book by Charles Ginenthal, The Extinction of the Mammoth[0514], which dates the last pole shift to around 1500 BC. Perhaps the most impressive evidence came from Sweden in November 2009(b) when settlements dating to 9000 BC were discovered in the north of the country in a region that according to accepted theory should have been covered by ice at that time.

Wolter Smit points out that the orientation of some Mayan Temples is apparently out by around 17 degrees from what would be expected. A structural feature at the 4,000-year-old temple of Saar in Bahrain is believed to have been used to record the summer solstice is now out by 10 degrees. Similar anomalies were noted by G.F. Dodwell during his study of ancient gnomons. A further indication that our present knowledge of polar changes may be flawed is highlighted by the fact that on April 15th 136 BC we have a record of an eclipse that completely darkened Babylon that should have had its zone of totality over the Balearic Islands in the Western Mediterranean. This is a difference of nearly 50 degrees and implies that either the Earth has slowed or the polar axis has shifted.

The idea that Pole Shift(s) can be linked to the location and orientation of many ancient sites is explored by Mark Carlotto in his new book, Before Atlantis [1600].

Amy Smith also claims that the Earth ‘tilted’ around 10,000 BC(d) referring to two ancient quotations that may support the reality of this Pole Shift – one from Plato (Tim.22d) and the other from the Book of Enoch/Noah (65.1).

The Hutton Commentaries(a) contain many articles relating to an impending pole shift based on the readings of Edgar Cayce.

In October 2004, Alexander Chechelnitsky, a Russian astrophysicist claimed that Atlantis was located in the Yukon River valley in Alaska[515]. This, he believes, was the result of a pole shift although he admits that scientific evidence is lacking for this theory!

A recent overview of the Pole Shift theory was published in July 2014(h).

(a) Hutton Commentaries – Archives 




(e) See Archive 3029



(h) Antartica, Atlantis, and the Earth crustal displacement theory | CanadaNewsLibre (

(i) See {2268} 




(m) NHNE: Pole Shift Torpedoed by Author ( *



(p) See:









Flem-Ath, Rand & Rose

Rand Flem-Ath

Rand and Rose Flem-Ath live in British Columbia, Canada. Both are librarians and have spent several years in the British Museum assembling evidence that they believe supports their contention that Antarctica was the home of Plato’s Atlantis. Together they wrote a highly controversial book,  When the Sky Fell [0062], promoting the Antarctic location, which included an Introduction by the late Colin Wilson.

In 2000, Rand published his second book[063], co-authored with Colin Wilson on the subject of ancient civilisations including Atlantis. However, Wilson subsequently changed his views and switched his support to Robert Sarmast’s theory of Atlantis being located off Cyprus. Wilson revealed later, in a 2007 edition of From Atlantis to the Sphinx [p381], that he was unhappy with the final content of The Atlantis Blueprint stating that “it did not represent his views” and wrote an account in Fortean Times(f) of how that book evolved.

In 2014, the Flem-Aths published Killing Moses[1090], which is a speculative account of the life and particularly the death of Moses, even identifying his killer(e)(g). Their narrative builds on ideas originally expressed by Sigmund Freud [1091]. In 2017, they published From Atlantis to the Promised Land 1594], which is a recycling of a variety of material already published by them over the past forty years. Rose Flem-Ath is also a thriller writer[297].

The Flem-Aths used to maintain an interesting and well-illustrated website(a). It recently included a paper on their theory of crustal displacement written over twenty years ago(d).

Professor Steven Earle at the Geology Department of Malaspina University in British Columbia uses the Flem-Ath’s Crustal Displacement hypothesis as the basis for his students to write an essay on its inconsistency with our current understanding of crustal and mantle processes(b).>Geologist Paul Heinrich offers a number of flaws in the claims of the Flem-Aths, particularly relating to glacial evidence that they have used to justify their Pole Shift contentions.(h)<Further criticism of the Flem-Aths work is offered by David L. Mohn(c), a Christian writer.

A new revised and expanded hardcopy edition of When the Sky Fell, entitled Atlantis Beneath the Ice, was published in 2012[981].

To put the Flem-Ath theory in its historical context see my Antarctica entry, where I show that they were not the first to suggest the southern pole as the location of Atlantis, a distinction that belongs to Roberto Rengifo, nearly a century ago.

(a) See:

(b)  Wayback Machine (  

(c) or See Archive 2858 

(d) See Archive 2893


(f) See:

(g) Atlantis Rising magazine #110  At – PDF Archive *

(h) *

Piri Reis Map

The Piri Reis Map (1513)(c)  was a world map drawn on a gazelle skin of which only the left-hand side still exists. It was a composite of detail gleaned from a large collection of maps, including one>allegedly captured<from Christopher Columbus(i), that were collected by Piri Ibn Haji Mehmed (1465/70–1553), an admiral or ‘reis’ in the Ottoman navy and>noted by Rand Flem-Ath as a former pirate. Flem-Ath wrote a lengthy article for Atlantis Rising magazine #38, which I have used here(k) and which contains a lot of interesting background information<

>It was discovered in 1929 in the Topkapi Palace Library in Istanbul by Gustav Deissmann (sometimes attributed to Library director Halil Edhem).

Apart from a Conference in 1931, the general public was not made aware of the map until the following year.

Piri Reis wrote on the map “It is the only chart of its kind existing now. I, personally, drew and prepared it. In preparing the map I used about twenty old charts and eight ‘Mappa Monde’ (i.e., the charts called ‘Jaferiye’ by the Arabs, and prepared at the time of Alexander the Great, in which the whole inhabited world is shown); the charts of the West Indies; and the new maps made by four Portuguese, showing the Sind, Indian, and Chinese Seas geometrically represented. I also studied the chart that Christopher Columbus drew for the West. By reducing all these charts to a single scale, I compiled the present map.”<

In 1956 a Turkish naval officer presented the map to the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office. From there, it was first fully investigated by Captain Arlington H. Mallery, who had spent years studying ancient maps. He is now better remembered as a controversial amateur archaeologist[666]. Mallery concluded that the map accurately depicted an ice-free Antarctica.

piri reisThis map has become one of the controversial elements in the theory of an Antarctic Atlantis so strongly promoted by Rose and Rand Flem-Ath[062]. They followed the views of Charles Hapgood[369], who, having studied a range of ancient maps, were convinced that they showed parts of Antarctica as ice-free. However, the principal argument against this idea is that the removal of the massive Antarctic ice cap would have had two effects:

(i)  The consequent isostatic rebound would have altered the coastline dramatically and unpredictably.

(ii)  The melting of the icecap would have raised sea levels, producing further changes to the coastline of the exposed continent.

However, Jason Colavito has pointed out(h) that as scholars have known for decades, the segment of the map identified by Hapgood as “Antarctica” was in fact the southern part of South America, bent to fit the shape of the skin on which it was drawn.”!

Nevertheless, the late Robert Argod[065] supported the antiquity of the original maps upon which the Piri Reis Maps and other medieval charts were based and he also supported the idea of an inhabited ice-free Antarctica.

A view contrary to the Flem-Aths can be found in a recent book by Gregory McIntosh[510].  Professor Steve Dutch of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay offers a paper(b) debunking the value of the Piri Reis map, which should be read  to get a more balanced view of the controversy. Paul V.Heinrich has also added a highly critical paper with many references(a).

Professor Steven Earle uses an assignment entitled ‘Project Atlantis(g) for his geology students in order to hone their critical thinking, which focuses on the Flem-Ath’s preferred variant of Pole Shift Theory known as Crustal Displacement.

What the Piri Reis Map has done for Antarctica, the Nicolo Zeno Map of 1380 has done for Greenland which appears to show a deglaciated landmass. Features, hidden by ice but confirmed by modern seismic soundings, are shown. However, controversy has dogged the Nicolo Zeno Map as much as the Piri Reis chart.

Phillipe Buache the renowned French geographer also published a map of ice-free Antarctica in 1737, long before its recorded discovery and centuries before seismic surveys revealed the topography of the sub-glacial landmass. The source of the data for this map is so far unexplained.

In 2004, Jean-Pierre Lacroix & Robert Bywater presented a paper(d) to the International Piri Reis Symposium in which they made the radical claim that the western part of the Piri Reis map was a depiction of the outline of east and southeast Asia, rather than the Caribbean.

The ancient-origins website(e) has several papers relating to the Piri Reis Map.

The most recent studies(f) include a map showing the effects of just a partial retreat of the ice sheet, showing exposed coastlines, during the Pliocene era, which again indicates an outline of the landmass at variance with the Piri Reis Map.

>A 2021 study(j) of the Map urges caution when interpreting its details.









(i) Saudi Aramco World : Piri Reis and the Columbus Map ( 

(j) Pîrî Reis Map of 1513 · Dubious History 

(k) Atlantis Rising magazine  #38 *

Project Atlantis

Project Atlantis is the title of an assignment(a) given to first-year geology students at Malaspina University-College in British Columbia. It was set by lecturer Steven Earle with the intention of developing the critical thinking of his students. The objective of the task is to investigate the Crustal Displacement theory of Rand and Rose Flem-Ath, leading proponents of Antarctica as the location of Atlantis.