A New Zealand researcher Monday claimed to have solved the riddle of a mystery South Pacific island shown on Google Earth and world maps which does not exist, blaming a whaling ship from 1876.
The phantom landmass in the Coral Sea is shown as Sandy Island on Google Earth and Google maps and is supposedly midway between Australia and the French-governed New Caledonia.
The Times Atlas of the World appears to identify it as Sable Island, but according to Australian scientists who went searching last month during a geological expedition it could not be found.
Intrigued, Shaun Higgins, a researcher at Auckland Museum, started investigating and claimed it never existed, with a whaling ship the source of the original error.
"As far as I can tell, the island was recorded by the whaling ship the Velocity," Higgins told ABC radio, adding that the ship's master reported a series of "heavy breakers" and some "sandy islets".
"My supposition is that they simply recorded a hazard at the time ( via phys.org ).