The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and the Brazilian government announced today that a large mass of granite, normally only found on dry land, has been discovered on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Also found in the area was a large quantify of quartz sand, which is also not formed at sea. A Brazilian official noted that the discovery is strong evidence that a continent used to exist in the area where the legendary island of Atlantis, mentioned in antiquity by Plato in his philosophical dialogues, was supposedly located.
The finding was made using a Shinkai 6500 manned submersible operated by the Japanese agency in an area located next to an underwater cliff called the Rio Grande Rise. The Rio Grande Rise itself stretches over 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) at the widest point, and is considered part of the continent left behind when South America and Africa split apart more than 100 million years ago. The seabed where the granite mass was discovered is estimated to have sunk into the sea several tens of million years ago. No man-made structures have been found yet.
Atlantis is the legendary island first mentioned in Plato’s dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying “in front of the Pillars of Hercules” that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune”.