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Mystery Of Google's Lost 'Sandy Island' Solved

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G92301908SANDYISLANDDETAIL
Auckland Museum

The mystery of the 'lost' island which was found on Google Earth - but missing in real life - appears to have been solved.

'Sandy Island' in the South Pacific, between Australia and New Caledonia, has appeared on maps for decades. Even the Times Atlas of the World listed 'Sandy Island' - and Bing and Yahoo also listed it.

A long, oblong-shaped island, it even showed up on Google Earth - albeit as a strange, black void.

But when a team of Australian scientists sailed into the ocean on a 25-dat mission to find it recently, they came back empty handed.

At this news the internet went predictably crazy - with some even suggesting it might be an island 'lost in time' as in the TV show Lost.

But now the mystery has been solved. Ish.

Speaking on Australia's ABC News, Shaun Higgins, a researcher at Auckland Museum, said it had been originally listed by a whaling ship earlier in 1876.

"As far as I can tell, the island was recorded by the whaling ship the Velocity," he said, adding that the ship had reported "heavy breakers" and "sandy inlets".

What's more mysterious is why they thought there was an island there at the time.

"My supposition is that they simply recorded a hazard at the time. They might have recorded a low-lying reef or thought they saw a reef. They could have been in the wrong place. There is all number of possibilities," he said.

"But what we do have is a dotted shape on the map that's been recorded at that time and it appears it's simply been copied over time."

Sandy no longer appears on Google Maps.