Evidence of lost lands beneath Pacific

By Nick Gibbs

There is “good evidence” of once-inhabited lands lying beneath the Pacific ocean as geology aligns with Islander tales passed down by ancestors, says academic Patrick Nunn.

The fabled town of Atlantis is the most famous lost civilization and while Plato’s tale is fictional, Professor Nunn believes the narrative drew on “all sorts of details” to make it seem plausible.

“There are submerged lands that were formerly inhabited … all around the coasts of the world and we have some great examples from Australia,” the University of the Sunshine Coast lecturer told AAP.

“Amazingly, we’ve got Aboriginal stories from at least 26 places now all around the coast of Australia that recall a time when the sea level was lower, when the coastlines were further out to sea, when what are now islands offshore were actually joined to the mainland.”

The perseverance of the stories points to the strength of Aboriginal cultures’ oral tradition, with tales surviving thousands of years.

“Seven thousand years ago the ocean surface around Australia got to its present level and has pretty much stayed there ever since,” Nunn said.

During the last great ice age, the ocean’s surface was about 120 meters lower than it is today.