'Atlantis' was blip on Google Earth
Hopes that the lost city of Atlantis had been found on Google Earth have been shattered.
By Sarah Knapton
Last Updated: 6:03PM GMT 20 Feb 2009
The perfect rectangle, which is around the size of Wales, was noticed on the search giant's underwater exploration tool
Keen observers had spotted what appeared to be the outline of a vast city - the size of Wales - on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.
But the criss-crossing lines, located 600 miles west of the Canary Islands, were explained as an "artifact" of its map making process.
Details for the ocean maps on Google Earth come from sonar measurements of the sea floor recorded by boats - and the area around the Canaries was mapped by boats travelling in a series of straight lines.
A spokeswoman for Google said: "It's true that many amazing discoveries have been made in Google Earth including a pristine forest in Mozambique that is home to previously unknown species and the remains of an Ancient Roman villa.
"In this case, however, what users are seeing is an artefact of the data collection process.
"Sea floor terrain data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor.
"The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.
"The fact that there are blank spots between each of these lines is a sign of how little we really know about the world's oceans."
The admission was a blow to Atlantis hunters who are convinced the city still lies undiscovered below the waves.