Brazilian and Japanese experts have discovered undersea rock structures, which could be evidence of a sunken landmass similar to that of the legend of Atlantis.
The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Geology Service of Brazil (CPRM) announced on Tuesday the discovery of granite at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, about 900 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
The granite, which is ordinarily found on dry land, was located by a manned Japanese mini-submarine, and is strong evidence a continent used to exist in the area where Atlantis was supposedly located.
The Japan Times reports a large quantity of quartz sand was also discovered – another material not formed in the sea.
CPRM geology director Roberto Ventura Santos told The Telegraph: “This could be Brazil’s Atlantis. We are almost certain, but we need to strengthen this hypothesis.”
Plato wrote that Atlantis was "an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules," Reuters notes. During Plato's time nearly 2,600 years ago, the Straits of Gibraltar were known as the Pillars of Hercules, so Atlantis-seekers have focused their search in the Mediterranean and Atlantic.
The find was made on a mountain range half a mile underwater known as the Rio Grande Rise.
Santos added: “We speak of Atlantis more in terms of symbolism. Obviously we don’t expect to find a lost city in the middle of the Atlantic.
“But if it is the case that we find a continent in the middle of the ocean, it will be a very big discovery that could have various implications in relation to the extension of the continental shelf.”
Shinichi Kawakami, a professor at Gifu University, appeared to urge caution amid the Atlantis comparisons: “South America and Africa used to be a huge, unified continent. The area in question may have been left in water as the continent was separated in line with the movements of plates.
“The concept of Atlantis came way before geology of the modern age was established. We should not jump to the Atlantis (conclusion) right away.”
The hunt for Plato’s lost city of Atlantis has resulted in several false starts.
In 2011 a team of researchers claimed to have found the legendary city buried in mud off the tip of Spain.
The ancient city was allegedly flooded by a devastating tsunami, according to PopSci. In 2009, a mysterious, underwater grid pattern on Google Earth was also heralded by some as the lost city; however, Google Earth quickly explained it was a glitch created by sonar boat data collection, Time reported.