Google has denied claims made in the national papers that its Google Earth tool had been used to discover a grid of streets in the ocean thought to be the lost city of Atlantis.
The claim was originally made to The Sun newspaper by UK aeronautical engineer Bernie Bamford who saw a grid of lines undersea off the coast of west Africa, a location Atlantis experts have argued is one of the possible sites of the lost metropolis.
Plato had described Atlantis sinking into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune" around 9000 BC, after the city had failed in its attempt to invade Athens. The remains of the city have never been found.
But Google said that the criss-crossing lines seen by Bamford were in fact made by boats using sonar technology to collect data from the sea floor.
"Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor," said a Google spokesperson. "The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data."
Bamford had been using the latest version of Google's earth mapping system, Google Earth 5.0, which traces the ocean floor and includes surface data from marine experts.
Google said that, although the Atlantis claim was false, Google Earth had been used for other "amazing discoveries", including a pristine forest in Mozambique that is home to previously unknown species, and the remains of an ancient Roman villa.
In related news, Google has fixed an incompatibility issue between its Chrome browser and the Google Earth plug-in version.
In the Google Earth Notifications List, the firm said: "Google Chrome 1.0+ on Windows is an officially supported browser. That means Chrome users will no longer get the unsupported browser message, and the plug-in and API [application programming interface] should work just as they would in other supported browsers."
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