The Richat Structure or Guelb er Richat in Mauritania” is regarded by geologists as a highly symmetrical and deeply eroded geologic dome. It was first described in the 1930s to 1940s, as Richât Crater or Richât buttonhole. Richard-Molard (1948) considered it to be the result of a laccolithic thrust. A geological expedition to Mauritania led by Théodore Monod in 1952 recorded four ‘crateriform or circular irregularities” in the area.”(q)
The feature was thought by many to be an impact crater until it was identified as the remains of a possible ‘salt dome’(a). Some of the more enthusiastic supporters of the ‘Electric Universe’ school of thought have sought to identify the feature as the consequence of an electrical discharge.(e)
This is outlined in an April 2022 paper by Andrew Hall, explaining what he calls the ‘Keystone Pattern’.(r)
Even creationists have claimed that the original surface of the ‘Structure’ had been eroded by Noah’s Flood(t).
The concentric circles of which the structure is composed is clearly revealed by satellite imagery. However, these characteristics are not visible when walking across the structure(u). The scientific consensus today is that the structure is a natural geological feature. In more technical terms a geological ‘dome’ is “A structure that plunges in all directions to form a circular or elongate structure is a dome. Domes are generally formed from one main deformation event, or via diapirism from underlying magmatic intrusions or movements of upwardly mobile, mechanically ductile material such as rock salt (salt dome) and shale (shale diapir). The Richat Structure of the Sahara is considered a dome that has been laid bare by erosion.”(k) Further geological data was available on a German website(v).
It did not take long before it was compared to Plato’s description of Atlantis. However, Ulf Richter has pointed out that it is too wide (35 km), too elevated (400 metres) and too far from the sea (500 km) to be seriously considered the location of Atlantis. Nevertheless, researchers such as Robert deMelo are still prepared to consider it a possible location candidate(b).
50 km west-southwest of Richat is a similar though smaller feature, the Semsiyat Dome, having a diameter of just 5 km(o).
In 2008, George Sarantitis put forward the idea that the Richat Structure was the location of Atlantis, supporting his contention with an intensive reappraisal of the translation of Plato’s text(g). His theory has been published in Greek, with an English translation now (2017) imminent.
In 2006 George S. Alexander and Natalis Rosen were struck by the similarity of the Richat feature with Plato’s description and decided to investigate on the ground. Instability in the region prevented this until late 2008 when they visited the site, gathering material for a movie. The film was then finalised and published on their then-newly-established website in 2010(c).
In 2008, Charles Giuliani self-published Alternative View of The Distant Past . In this wide-ranging book, the author tackles the story of Atlantis and endeavours to identify the Richat Structure as the location of Plato’s city of Atlantis. His speculations lack scientific evidence and contradict reason. The main weaknesses are his dating of Atlantis (9600 BC) and the logistical problems of launching an attack on Athens 4,000km away from Richat at a time when archaeology indicates that seafaring was carried out with little more than dugout canoes or rafts.
In 2013 further support for linking Atlantis with Richat came from Jose D.C. Hernandez with a rather convoluted theory in a paper entitled A Celestial Impact and Atlantis(f).
Even more bizarre is the claim by Anthony Woods that although Ireland was the island of Atlantis, the city of Atlantis (Cerne) was in Mauritania and is known today as the Richat Structure!
Towards the end of the 2018 media ‘silly season’, the YouTube channel Bright Insight made a pathetic attempt to breathe new life into the Atlantis in Sahara theory. However, it fails on one simple fact; it is not submerged, but for good measure, when Alexander and Rosen investigated the Richat Structure they could not produce a single piece of physical evidence from the 35 km wide site. Where was the bustling port described by Plato? I could go on, but remember, it’s not called the silly season without reason.
Early November 2018 saw the British tabloid press give further coverage to Jimmy Corsetti’s ideas(i)(j) (The Sun gave his name as Jimmy Bright!). His theories are totally dependent on the destruction of Atlantis having occurred around twelve thousand years ago. He does not explain how an attack was launched from Mauritania on Athens which did not even exist at that time. Corsetti, like many others, needs this very early date to explain why the Richat Structure is not underwater today but was gradually uplifted as a result of tectonic forces in the region. However, Plato clearly states that the submerged Atlantis was still a hazard to shipping in his day, a period when the Structure would have been at its present elevation. As no geologic event has occurred during the two and a half millennia since Plato, which could have raised the Structure from the seabed to an elevation of 400 metres 500 km from the Atlantic, we are obliged to give greater credence to the scientific conclusion that the Richat Structure is a natural feature. Corsetti does have at least one fan(n).
It was in 2018 that Corsetti published a video promoting the Richat Structure as Atlantis, which received extensive coverage. Steven Novella, a well-known Atlantis sceptic, published an article debunking Corsetti’s ‘evidence’ in some considerable detail(s). However, while I would endorse Novella’s arguments(l) regarding the Richat Structure, I strongly disagree with Novella’s closed-minded attitude towards the existence of Atlantis as well as Corsetti’s attention-seeking location choice for Plato’s island. I would add that Corsetti has his date wrong and that to launch an attack on Athens nearly 4000 km away by land (3000 km by sea) from the ‘Structure’ is logistical nonsense.
In a recent conversation with Joe Rogan, Corsetti claimed that since the Structure contains salt, it MUST have been submerged and no other explanation is possible. However, as I have pointed out above the Richat feature is an eroded ‘salt dome’ and quite naturally has salt in it without the need for submersion.
>The natural geological origins of the Richat Structure are discussed in some detail in a 2005 paper by three Canadian scientists in the journal Geology, produced by the Geological Society of America. It would be interesting to hear the response of Corsetti to facts compared with his daft speculations(w).<
However, in 2018, Martin K. Ettington published a booklet entitled The Real Atlantis  in which he also insisted that the Richat Structure is the remains of Atlantis but with no real evidence to support his contention.
In Joining the Dots  and in Atlantipedia.ie I have consistently argued that in ancient times, proximity is an essential logistical requirement in order to achieve a successful invasion. This was particularly true in ancient times when all empires expanded through the invasion of neighbouring territories. The Richat Structure is many thousands of kilometres from Athens, so to suggest that an attack was launched from Mauretania on Greece is simply ludicrous.
There is a relatively recent website(m) dedicated to promoting the ‘Structure’ as the location of Atlantis. It is well presented by its author Gergely (Gregory) Dzsida with plenty of content. Unfortunately, I cannot accept its basic claim, To my mind, it fails to answer Richter’s arguments regarding, size, elevation and location as well as my point regarding proximity.
Although the Richat Structure as the location of Atlantis conflicts with details in Plato’s account as well as reason, it still gathers supporters based simply on its circular shape. A recent example of this came from a Danish commentator, Palle A. Anderson(p).
An even more ridiculous suggestion was offered in 2021 by Carlos Bisceglia in Atlantis 2021- Lost Continent Rediscovered in which he proposed that Atlantis was known to the Egyptians as the ‘Land of Ma’ and that its capital was the Richat Structure together with the Semsiat Dome, mentioned above, which is 50km away. In order to explain how his Atlantis is not submerged, Bisceglia has proposed that the Land of Ma became confused with the submerged Land of Mu (Sundaland) in the Pacific and that “it is possible that Solon or Plato confused ‘the Land of Ma’ with the ‘Land of Mu’, and thus two completely independent accounts were merged into one.” He adds “how the Egyptian priests knew this is a mystery. Evidently, some survivors from Sundaland arrived in some way in Egypt”
In April 2022, David Edward published Atlantis Solved: The Final Definitive Proof , which also endorsed the Richat Structure as the location of Atlantis. The author of this slender 99-page book admits to being greatly influenced by the earlier claims of Jimmy Corsetti.
(o) http://www.b14643.de/Mauritania-Craters/index.htm (see the end of page)
The Cape Verde Islands are located on the continental shelf off the west coast of Africa and are a popular location for Europeans wishing to buy property in the sun. They would have been more extensive in area when the ocean levels were lower during the last Ice Age . Along with the Canaries, Azores, Madeira and some smaller North Atlantic islands they constitute ‘Macaronesia’.
When they were rediscovered in 1460 they were found to be uninhabited although they were noted as inhabited on earlier maps. The 1413 map of the Catalan cartographer Mecia de Viladestes, which is thought to be based on Roman sources, shows islands at the same location named as Gades, a name that could be a diminutive of Gorgades or possibly derived from Gaderia one of the kingdoms of the Atlantis empire. In the 16th century the Cape Verde Islands were also shown with the alternative name of Dorcades, on the 1563 map of the Portuguese historian Antonio Galvao, which may just have been a corruption of Gorgades. A few years later in 1587 a map by the English geographer Richard Haklyut again applies the name Gorgades to the Cape Verde Islands. The identification of the Gorgades with the Cape Verde Islands is strongly defended by modern writers such as Andrew Collins.
Although there is little support for identifying the Cape Verde Islands as Atlantis itself, there is willingness by some to see them as remnants of its empire. Without more clear-cut classical references and/or archaeological evidence, it would be unwise to put too much value on any Atlantean link with the archipelago.
In 1949, Capt. H.P.C. Andersen, who worked for a Danish salvage company, wrote a very brief letter to Egerton Sykes‘ Atlantis Research journal with the self-explanatory title of Atlantean Traces in the Cape Verde Islands(a). In it, he recounts coming across a harbour in Boavista Island, the bottom of which was completely covered in sheets of concrete about a yard square, reminiscent of a market place.
A short YouTube clip(b) purporting to offer evidence for Atlantis at Cape Verde is available. It is based on Google Earth images, but is far from convincing.
(a) Atlantis Research (1949. 2.1. p13)
Thorwald C. Franke was born in 1971 in Konstanz in southwest Germany. He studied computer science at the University of Karlsruhe and now works as a software developer. Since 1999 he has been promoting the idea of Atlantis having been located in Sicily. He has written a paper, which makes the case for identifying Atlas with king Italos of the Sicels, who was one of the first tribes to inhabit Sicily and gave their name to the island.
In October 2010, Franke announced that a part of his theory has some elements in it that require further research(f).
He believes that the war with the Atlanteans was recorded by the Egyptians as the conflict with the Sea Peoples of whom the Sicilians are generally accepted to have been part.
Franke has a well-presented website(a), in English and German, where he cogently outlines his views. He has also written a lengthy, 23-page paper on the need for a classification of Atlantis theories. Even though this item is in German, English readers may find it quite interesting using their browser’s translator. Franke has also compiled an extensive list of Atlantis-related websites(d) that he expanded further in a new format in October 2011.
His paper for the 2nd Atlantis Conference in Athens in 2008 is available on the Internet(c) in which he expanded on his Sicilian location for Atlantis.
Franke has also published a book, in German that focussed on Herodotus’ contribution to the Atlantis question(p). In the same paper, he dealt with the true meaning of the word ‘meizon‘ in Timaeus 24e which tells us that Atlantis was ‘greater’ than Asia and Libya combined, which he clarified as actually referring to their combined power rather than size. However, Franke proposed that the Egyptian word ‘wr’, whose primary meaning is ‘big’ and is sometimes used in a metaphorical sense, may have influenced the wording of the Greek text
Then in a more recent (2010) book regarding Aristotle and Atlantis, he disputes the generally perceived view that Aristotle did not accept the existence of Atlantis. He builds his case on an 1816 misinterpretation by a French mathematician, Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre, of a 1587 commentary on Strabo’s Geographica by Isaac Casaubon. Combined with other evidence he has presented a case that removes the only prominent classical writer alleged to have dismissed the existence of Atlantis. In late 2012 Franke published an English translation with the title of Aristotle and Atlantis. Franke’s views regarding Aristotle have been well received and his book is frequently cited, most recently by Dhani Irwanto in his Atlantis: The Lost City is in the Java Sea[1093.110].
Franke has now augmented his book on Aristotle with a YouTube video in English(l) and German(m). This important book can now be read on the Researchgate website.(ae)
2012 also saw the publication, by Franke, of the first English translation of Gunnar Rudberg’s 1917 monograph Atlantis och Syrakusai, now Atlantis and Syracuse. This is a welcome addition to Atlantis literature in English. Students of the Atlantis mystery owe a debt of gratitude to Herr Franke.
In 2006, Franke published a paper outlining Wilhelm Brandenstein’s contribution to Atlantology which in 2013 he published in English(g). This was followed by a translation(h) of his overview of the work of Massimo Pallattino, who had adopted some of Brandenstein’s approaches to the Atlantis question.
On the 30th of May 2013, Franke announced(i) that his Atlantis Newsletter, which until now was only available in German, in future will also be published in English. Today he discusses the antics of extremist Atlantis sceptics and the abuse of Wikipedia. I encourage everyone to register and congratulate Thorwald on this development.
There is also a video clip available of Franke showing his library of Atlantis-related books(e). 2017 has seen Franke produce a number of 30-minute videos, which readers will find informative. They are available in both German and English, (Just Google Plato’s Atlantis – Thorwald C. Franke – YouTube).
Franke has now (July 2013) revamped his website (https://www.atlantis-scout.de/)
More recently, July 2016 saw the publication, in German, of Kritische Geschichte der Meinungen und Hypothesen zu Platons Atlantis (Critical history of the hypotheses on Plato’s Atlantis). This tome of nearly 600 pages will undoubtedly be a valuable addition to any serious researcher’s library. There is a promotional video, in German, to go with it(j). Hopefully, an English translation of the book will follow. However, Franke does provide an English summary of the book(af). In June 2021, Franke announced the publication of the second edition of this remarkable book, but again, in German only. It is now in two volumes, totalling over 800 pages, which include hundreds of new references(y). Two publications in one week is a record to be proud of.
In June 2018, Franke published a YouTube video in English(r) and German(s) highlighting how Plato’s 9,000 years have been alternatively accepted and then rejected many times over since the time of Plato. Franke proposes that the 9,000 years recorded by Plato were comparable with the accepted age of Egypt in his day, at 11,00 years. However, archaeology has demonstrated that Egypt was only 3,000 years old or less when Plato was alive, suggesting that the 9,000 should be reduced by a comparable amount to arrive at the real-time of Atlantis.
In his Newsletter No.90, Franke has highlighted that a small German right-wing group, ‘Pro Deutschland’, has cited on their website the ‘superior civilisation’ of Atlantis in support of their extremist views.
Franke’s Newsletter No. 103 has now provided us with five parallel versions of the Atlantis texts(n), Two English; Jowett & Bury and Two German; Susemihl & Müller as well as a Greek text from the Scottish classicist John Burnet (1863 – 1928).
Franke’s Newsletter No.104 offers an overview of the difficulties involved in accepting Plato’s writings too literally(o). He gives particular attention to the 9,000 years claimed to have elapsed between the Atlantean War and Solon’s visit to Egypt.
Franke has now published two new videos(t), in both German and English, in which he reviews a number of Atlantis-related books, both supportive and sceptical. He does so in his usual balanced manner and also exhorts students of Atlantology to learn German to have access to important works only available in that language.
The difficulty of independent researchers getting their work published in academic journals was highlighted by Franke some time ago(a). However, he has had some academic recognition(a) and has modified his view on the function of the academic press vis-á-vis independent writers(a).
In June 2021, Franke announced the publication of his latest book(x). Platonische Mythen (Platonic Myths), currently in German only. In May 2022 a favourable review, also in German, of Franke’s book was published on the atlantisforschung.de website(ag). I have archived an English translation in atlantipedia.ie(ah).
The following month, Franke published Newsletter No.175 in which he accuses the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR) of scientific bias and inconsistency(z). The full Newsletter should be read but in particular his conclusions below.
“Let us sum up what we have: BMCR claims to accept no self-published books, but it did review such a book [mine-AO’C]. BMCR claims that it accepts only peer-reviewed books, but besides the question, of what this exactly means, they do indeed review books that were not peer-reviewed. BMCR claims to accept translations but did not accept the translation of Gunnar Rudberg [Franke’s]. BMCR claims to review bad Atlantis books of a certain intelligence in order to debunk them, but at the same time, they avoided a review of a bad book by an Atlantis sceptical Oxford scholar. They claim to treat every author with respect but failed to do so in my case, and not only once. And the same scholar who admits that his scientific view was impacted (!) by one of my books writes BMCR reviews about other Atlantis books, but my books are not reviewed. Long story short: BMCR acts in an arbitrary way and damages its credibility. They screwed up everything that can be screwed up. And it was not me who lead them up the garden path. They did that all by themselves.”
In Franke’s Newsletter No.158 published in early 2021, he reviewed a lecture, previously unknown to him, given by Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, in Bologna, a few years ago(aa) during which he apparently misrepresented Franke’s Atlantis theories. Shortly afterward Nesselrath issued a rather intemperate reply to Franke’s criticisms.(ab) A further document(ac) from Franke detailed his continuing annoyance with what he perceives as ‘a breach of trust’ on the part of Nesselrath. Now in August 2021, Nesselrath has reignited matters again with a further assault on Franke’s views(ad), many of which I share. In a further postscript dated 20.08.21(ab) Franke fired off a few more salvos. I think it’s time for an armistice?
However, in April 2023, Franke issued his Newsletter No. 212(ao), with the following introduction;
“Professor Heinz-Günther Nesselrath has once again written and published two PDF articles(ak)(al) to defend his Atlantis scepticism against the arguments brought up by me. One is directed against my internet article “The Dark Side of Atlantis Scepticism” from 2021, based on my book about the reception history of Plato’s Atlantis story from 2016/2021. The other one makes the attempt to undermine especially the literary arguments of Wilhelm Brandenstein, which I cultivated and will cultivate even more in my next publication.”
Franke responded with two papers(am)(an) that should be read in their entirety.
Franke’s Newsletter #193 reviews an interview with sceptic Flint Dibble(ai). He followed that in July 2022 (#194) with a critique of an article ‘Not Exactly Atlantis’ by Professor Carolina López-Ruiz that Franke identifies as over-dependent on the arguments of promoters of the ‘invention hypothesis’ particularly those of Pierre Vidal-Naquet and Diskin Clay. Franke then proceeded to offer a list of her many errors(aj).
>In January 2024, Franke published his Newsletter #215(ao) where he references a 2023 Graham Hancock lecture(ap) in which “He just takes the numbers in Plato’s text literally, and on this basis he makes his conclusions and calculations. He never asks the question, not for a second, that Plato’s numbers could be wrong. Wrong in a very typical and understandable way, when looking to the historical context. Because, all the ancient Greeks were wrong about the age of Egypt (where the Atlantis story allegedly, or really, had come from). They thought, Egypt was 10,000 years old, and older. But in fact, Egypt was founded only around 3,000 BC. Therefore, if an ancient Greek text points to an event 9,000 years before its time, of which it got to know from Egypt, this means in fact a time after 3,000 BC.
Once you realize this, the whole narrative of a prehistorical Ice Age civilization melts down to nothing, and a completely different picture of the Atlantis question appears.<
(l) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inWb6IVNWFQ (English)
(m) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDG7a09xkZE (German)
(aa) Review of: Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, News from Atlantis? 2017. (atlantis-scout.de) (See first half)
(ab) Review of: Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, News from Atlantis? 2017. (atlantis-scout.de) (See last half)