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Sandy Island Doesn't Exist: Google Maps Showed Isle In South Pacific

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A sizable, uninhabited island shown in the South Pacific on Google Maps and other charts does not exist, according to Australian scientists.

Scientists noticed an isle called Sandy Island by Google and Sable Island by others, but it didn't appear on the navigational map aboard their ship, CNN reported. So they decided to steer towards it.

Even though it occupied about 60 square miles on maps, the team from the University of Sydney found only the deep blue of the Coral Sea when they arrived at the coordinates of the phantom island this month.

Sandy Island was supposed to be halfway between Australia and New Caledonia. The ship's captain approached it nervously, worrying that they'd run aground, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It's on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We're really puzzled. It's quite bizarre," said lead researcher Maria Seton, a geologist. "How did it find its way onto the maps? We just don't know, but we plan to follow up and find out."

Using Google's satellite view of the fictitious flyspeck, Sandy Island shows up as a dark mass. As of Saturday morning, it was still visible on Google Maps.

"The world is a constantly changing place, and keeping on top of these changes is a never-ending endeavor," said Nabil Naghdy, a Google Maps project manager.

The researchers said they don't know how the island first showed up on maps, but the Sydney Morning Herald found references to it going back to at least 2000.

The academics were studying plate tectonics, the Guardian reported.

If it actually existed, Sandy Island would fall in French territorial waters.

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