New Azores Fun: Buried Treasure in Atlantis

Mt. Pico, the Azores highest mountain rises above the island of the same name, as seen from Faial Island.
Mt. Pico, the Azores highest mountain rises above the island of the same name, as seen from Faial Island. | Source

To visit the heart of Atlantis is to visit Davy Jones' Locker. Not a comforting thought, that. In the Locker, it stays cold with a bone-crushing three kilometers of ocean above you. But cheer up. You don't even have to get wet.

The closest location to the secrets of Atlantis used to be part of Atlantis, if we can believe the story of Plato's dialog, Timaeus, written nearly 2,400 years ago. I'm talking about the Azores archipelago.

The Azores

History remains uncertain which intrepid explorer discovered the islands for Portugal. Sometime between 1340 and 1431, the first Portuguese sailors set foot on at least one of these islands, planting the figurative flag for the small, European nation.

For many years, the archipelago was associated with the mythical Fortunate Islands, the Blue Islands, the islands of Tin and Silver and the islands of the Seven Cities

Sao Miguel Island's Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) is a lake formed in a volcanic crater.
Sao Miguel Island's Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) is a lake formed in a volcanic crater. | Source

How ironic that the Azores stand nearly halfway to America. The distance between the islands and Newfoundland, Canada is not much more than that between the islands and Lisbon, Portugal. One of those intrepid travelers could have had North America as early as 1350 — 140 years before Columbus. And Portuguese might have become the new lingua franca of planet Earth, instead of English.

This historic entrance to Ponta Delgada harkens back to the days of European colonialism.
This historic entrance to Ponta Delgada harkens back to the days of European colonialism. | Source

The Azores have a mild but somewhat humid climate. The islands are rather sparsely populated, maintaining mostly rural settings. In fact, the largest city (Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel Island) claims only about 46,000 inhabitants. This is the capital of the Azores Autonomous Region and home to the largest airport. From here you can reach the rest of the islands.

Ponta Delgada marina and a panoramic view of the old, historic town, plus many of the newer, tourist spots.
Ponta Delgada marina and a panoramic view of the old, historic town, plus many of the newer, tourist spots. | Source
Terceira Island's largest town, Angra do Herosmo  a UNESCO World Heritage Site and longest-running, uninterrupted settlement in the islands.
Terceira Island's largest town, Angra do Herosmo a UNESCO World Heritage Site and longest-running, uninterrupted settlement in the islands. | Source

These Roman Catholics love their festivals. From May through September feasts and parades spice things up. For your attendance, be prepared to receive bread and soup to keep your stomach happy. Bullfights plus running of the bulls in the streets can give you pulse-pounding excitement. Other activities include whale watching, golf, amateur and sport fishing, surfing, windsurfing, yachting, rowing and sailing. Or you can merely relax on the beach or enjoy the scenery.

On Terceira Island, this shot was taken near the civil parish of Sao Mateus.
On Terceira Island, this shot was taken near the civil parish of Sao Mateus. | Source

Musts for the Atlantis Library

Quest for Atlantis II
Quest for Atlantis II

This book is by one of the good guys. I know this guy and he's a dedicated scientist, collecting scientific fact that may relate to Plato's Atlantis. Don't let science be run by ridicule and innuendo. That almost destroyed North American anthropology with its "Clovis first" dogma.

 
Timaeus and Critias (Penguin Classics)
Timaeus and Critias (Penguin Classics)

This is the book that started it all! Plato's two dialogs. And this is my preferred translation--by Sir Desmond Lee. His style of translation makes the text come to life in an almost lyrical fashion.

 

Atlantis

Were the Azores once mountaintops towering above the large island of Atlantis? The archipelago straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, while most of the islands stand atop the Azores underwater plateau. Some Atlantic, ocean-bottom evidence includes subaerial phenomena and beach-like terraces — hints that some of Davy Jones' Locker at one time may have seen the light of day.

The Greek philosopher, Plato, wrote about Atlantis, saying more than once that the story was a true one. Can we believe him on that point? Many have their doubts. In scientific circles, Atlantis seems to have become the secular equivalent of "blasphemy." Scientists have said similar things about a number of other myths now known to have been based on real people, places and events — Troy, Mycenaean Greece, Minoan Crete, Amazon warriors and the real island of Ithaca. So much for the opinions of scientists. Myth is not their best subject. They seem to be batting close to zero.

A hypothetical depiction of Atlantis based on the locations of the Africa-Eurasia tectonic plate boundary, the Azores underwater plateau, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Adapted from a map courtesy cia.gov.
A hypothetical depiction of Atlantis based on the locations of the Africa-Eurasia tectonic plate boundary, the Azores underwater plateau, and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Adapted from a map courtesy cia.gov.

More on Atlantis

Atlantis: Atlantology: Basic Problems
Atlantis: Atlantology: Basic Problems

Zhirov is a Russian scientist and tackles numerous disciplines to explore the possibilities from existing modern scientific literature. A compelling read.

 
Atlantis; The Antediluvian World
Atlantis; The Antediluvian World

Ignatius Donnelly was a late-19th century US congressman and writer who popularized Atlantis. This was groundbreaking stuff for its day, though many of his ideas have been disproven. Any discussion of Atlantis will inevitably be compared to this popular work.

 

From Gibraltar to the Azores runs the Africa-Eurasia tectonic plate boundary. And guess what? Most mountains are found near tectonic plate boundaries, formed by plate subduction (the sliding of one plate underneath another) or from convergent compression (the buckling of one plate pressing against another). There is some evidence that the plate boundary surrounding the Azores was at one time convergent.

Plato wrote that Atlantis harbored a powerful, but greedy empire. Approximately 9600 BC, Atlantis was swallowed by the sea. We have three pieces of scientific evidence which prove an Atlantis-like event occurred about 9620 BC — a veritable match for Plato's date. Something abruptly changed climate worldwide about 9620 BC. A moderately large volcanic event left traces on the Greenland ice sheet at 9620.77 BC. And a two-meter drop in sea levels worldwide occurred at the end of the Younger Dryas "Big Freeze" (~9620 BC).

Shipwreck of the Titanic, view of the bow, taken June, 2004, by ROV Hercules.
Shipwreck of the Titanic, view of the bow, taken June, 2004, by ROV Hercules. | Source

Diving for Treasure

Was Atlantis a real place? We don't know, yet. Where would we look to find proof? My best guess would be about 200 kilometers south of Terceira Island. Perhaps if James Cameron gets tired of making movies and hungers for a bit more underwater adventure, he could turn his cameras on this new location — 3 kilometers down. That should be easy, because the Titanic wreck stands at 4 kilometers down and Mr. Cameron's cameras reached that wreck without significant problems. If he shows up while you're visiting the Azores, see if you can hitch a ride.

With an estimated 11-12 on the earthquake scale, what would be left of that once proud civilization — if it ever existed at all? How much silt would remain on top of it? Would any of that former realm stand covered by lava from the Azores volcanic field?

If nothing of an ancient civilization is ever found down there, it likely will not dent the enthusiasm people have for the Atlantis myth. But if artifacts and written records are ever discovered, then the history of humanity will have gained a new island, separated from the current history by a gulf wider than the longevity of this current history. The contrast between the sleepy, quaint Azores above and the tragic and ancient myth below would be one to write home about. "Dear Ma and Pa, Made a new discovery today. Wish you were here."

Why the Philippines Will Not be the Next Atlantis

To understand how something like Atlantis could happen, please watch this video comparing the Philippines with the Azores region.

The following hybrid map of the Azores centers in on 7 of the 9 archipelago islands. Two more islands are up and to the left.

A markerTerceira Island -
Terceira, S. Bento, Portugal
[get directions]

One of the Azores Islands and possibly the heart of Atlantis.

More by this Author


Comments 15 comments

Sam9999 profile image

Sam9999 6 years ago

Very interesting article.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, this is fascinating, it seems you have the same interests as me. I have read so many books stating this and that about Atlantis, the one thing thing that I always say is that, why would Plato make it up? yes, it could have been a metaphor for some other place, or a collection of incidents, but why? it reminds me of the story of the little people. We have always had these myths and legends for centuries, especially here in Britain, in fact Ireland still leaves out a saucer of milk for the leprachauns etc! of course the hedgehogs probably drink it, but that's beside the point! ha ha but after all these years of smiling at these so called stupid myths, what happened? On the island of Flores a few years ago, scientists discovered homo floresiensis, which the called the hobbits! three foot tall little people, living as near to us in age as 18 thousand years ago! so I do believe that one day we will know exactly where Atlantis is. There of course was the 'legend' of Troy, until a few years back they thought that was also a myth, then they found it! great stuff, thanks nell


lone77star profile image

lone77star 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, Sam, for the kinds words. Thanks for checking it out.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Nell, thank you for your beautiful insights.

I have also wondered about leprachauns and elves both being short and sharing a magical, mischievous bent. Could they both refer to relatively short Atlanteans with technology they used to confound their pesky, more primitive neighbors? And who knows what discoveries scientists will make at some future date? Perhaps, one day, we'll have answers to some of these mysteries.


Richard Leonard 6 years ago

Hey Carl,

Super job! I especially liked the bit about the recently discovered "hobbit" (homo floresiensis). That should give the myth debunkers something to think about. I also notice "little people" legends among the Hawaiians while we were there. Keep up the good work. Bravo!

Rich


lone77star profile image

lone77star 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, Rich. I always enjoy your input. I appreciate you stopping by.


blavatsky3 5 years ago

To know more about Atlantis look up "Basic Theosophy" by the Late Geoffrey Hodson all shall be revealed


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thank you, @blavatsky3, for stopping by. I'm afraid I don't have much interest in Madame Blavatsky's work or that derived from her organization.

Currently (on the subject of Atlantis), I'm more interested in hard evidence suggesting Atlantis might have existed. Like the National Geographic special on "Atlantis in Spain." Though I don't buy their take on Plato's story, ignoring some details to make their hypothesis fit, I do like the evidence of a major tsunami which ravaged the coast of Spain thousands of years ago. The source for the tsunami? Could it have been the real Atlantis (an island, not a swamp on the continent) subsiding in the Atlantic as Plato had written?


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

The views you present in this hub seem more spot on than any other I've read so far. Considering we've just had two major tsunamis in the last few years, it makes perfect sense to me that most of an entire continent could have disappeared below sea level in the blink of an eye. Also, it wasn't lost on me when I lived in Las Vegas that the "islands" dotting Lake Mead are actually the tops of mountains, all that were left above water after Hoover Dam was built to form the lake.

Great hub! Delightful way you have of making what might be a boring subject quite entertaining! ;D


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, @JamaGenee. I appreciate your compliments.


Apostle Jack profile image

Apostle Jack 5 years ago from Atlanta Ga

I think that there are many incidents like Atlantis that have occurred in this world that we don't know about...and many more to come.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

AJ, I think you're right. ;D


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, Jack. I don't doubt that you are right about that. Likely there will be many mysteries which will remain shrouded in the mists of the past.

And JG, when you're right, you're right! ;)


amolese 16 months ago

Atlantis existed! And many of us are descendants. There is a true record of the history of life of Atlantis. The reason not many know about this is because they are not using their intuitive perception probably because they are limited by their intellect. Find this book - "Past Eras Awaken" Volume 2 through Abd-ru-shin - and you can read about the undistorted story of Atlantis.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 9 months ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, amolese, for your input and interest.

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