Yonaguni Monument

The Yonaguni Monument (Japanese: 与那国島海底地形 Hepburn: Yonaguni-jima Kaitei Chikei, lit. "Yonaguni Island Submarine Topography"), also known as "Yonaguni (Island) Submarine Ruins" (与那国(島)海底遺跡 Yonaguni(-jima) Kaitei Iseki), is a submerged rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni, the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands, in Japan. It lies approximately a hundred kilometres east of Taiwan.

Marine geologist Masaaki Kimura claims that the formations are man-made stepped monoliths.[1] These claims have been described as pseudoarchaeological.[2] Neither the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs nor the government of Okinawa Prefecture recognise the features as important cultural artifacts and neither government agency has carried out research or preservation work on the site.[3]

Yonaguni Monument
Yonaguni Submarine Topography
Yonaguni Monument Terraces midpart NWW
Map showing the location of Yonaguni Monument
Map showing the location of Yonaguni Monument
LocationJapan
Coordinates24°26′09″N 123°00′41″E / 24.435833°N 123.011389°ECoordinates: 24°26′09″N 123°00′41″E / 24.435833°N 123.011389°E
Offshore water bodiesPacific Ocean
Depth26 m

Discovery

The sea off Yonaguni is a popular diving location during the winter months because of its large population of hammerhead sharks. In 1986, while looking for a good place to observe the sharks, Kihachiro Aratake, a director of the Yonaguni-Cho Tourism Association, noticed some singular seabed formations resembling architectural structures.[4] Shortly thereafter, a group of scientists directed by Masaaki Kimura of the University of the Ryūkyūs visited the formations.

The formation has since become a relatively popular attraction for divers despite strong currents.[4] In 1997, Japanese industrialist Yasuo Watanabe sponsored an informal expedition including pseudoarchaeology writers John Anthony West and Graham Hancock, geologist and fringe theorist Robert Schoch, photographer Santha Faiia, a few sport divers and instructors and a film crew for Channel 4 and Discovery Channel. Another notable visitor was freediver Jacques Mayol, who wrote a book on his dives at Yonaguni.[5]

Location and geology

The formations are located below Arakawabana (新川鼻; Yonaguni: Araga-bana) cliff which is the southern tip of Yonaguni island, with its main face oriented south-southeast.[6][7]

It is composed of medium to very fine sandstones and mudstones of the Lower Miocene Yaeyama Group believed to have been deposited about 20 million years ago.[8] Most of the rocks in the formations are connected to the underlying rock mass (as opposed to being assembled out of freestanding rocks).

Natural formation

Some of those who have studied the formation, such as geologist Robert Schoch of Boston University, state that it is most likely a natural.[8] Schoch observed the sandstones that make up the Yonaguni formation to "contain numerous well-defined, parallel bedding planes along which the layers easily separate. The rocks of this group are also criss-crossed by numerous sets of parallel, vertically oriented joints in the rock. These joints are natural, parallel fractures by which the rectangular formations seen in the area likely formed. Yonaguni lies in an earthquake-prone region; such earthquakes tend to fracture the rocks in a regular manner."[8][3] He also observes that there are similar formations on the northeast coast of Yonaguni.[8][9] John Anthony West also reaches the same conclusion.[4] Schoch also believes that the "drawings" identified by Kimura are natural scratches on the rocks,[3] and suggests that the "walls" are simply natural horizontal platforms which fell into a vertical position when rock below them eroded, and the alleged roads are simply channels in the rock.[10]

German geologist Wolf Wichmann, who studied the formations in 1999 during an expedition organized by Spiegel TV, and in 2001 by invitation of Graham Hancock, concludes that it could be formed by natural process.[11][12]

At Sanninudai, there are onshore step-like sandstone formations similar to those of the Yonaguni. Robert Schoch, as well as Patrick D. Nunn, Professor of Oceanic Geoscience at the University of the South Pacific, note that the formations are purely natural.[13]

Pseudoarchaeological claims of artificial structures

Kimura first estimated that the monument must be at least 10,000 years old (8,000 BCE), dating it to a period when it would have been above water, and therefore surmised that the site may be a remnant of the mythical lost continent of Mu.[14] In a report given to the 21st Pacific Science Congress in 2007, he revised this estimate and dated it to 2,000 to 3,000 years ago because the sea level then was close to current levels. He suggests that after construction, tectonic activity caused it to be submerged below sea level.[15] Archaeologist Richard J. Pearson believes this to be unlikely.[10] Kimura believes he can identify a pyramid, castles, roads, monuments and a stadium. He now believes that these structures are remnants of Yamatai.[6]

Supporters of artificial origin, such as the pseudoarchaeology writer Graham Hancock, also argue that while many of the features seen at Yonaguni are also seen in natural sandstone formations throughout the world, the concentration of so many peculiar formations in such a small area is highly unlikely.[12] They also point to the relative absence of loose blocks on the flat areas of the formation, which would be expected if they were formed solely by natural erosion and fracturing. Robert Schoch has noted that the rocks are swept with strong currents.[10]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Deep Secrets". New Scientist. Vol. 204, Issue 2736. 28 November 2009. P. 41.
  2. ^ Feagans, Carl (October 16, 2017). "Yonaguni: Monumental Ruins or Natural Geology? - Archaeology Review".
  3. ^ a b c Ryall, Julian (September 19, 2007). "Japan's Ancient Underwater "Pyramid" Mystifies Scholars". National Geographic News.
  4. ^ a b c West, John Anthony (1998). "Diving for Lemuria". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  5. ^ Mayol, Jacques. Heritage des Peuples de la Mer.
  6. ^ a b Kimura, Masaaki (2010). Yamatai Koku wa Okinawa Datta (Yamatai was Okinawa) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Daisanbunmei-sha. pp. 200–204. ISBN 978-4476033052.
  7. ^ Kimura, Masaaki (2004). "Ancient Megalithic Construction Beneath the Sea off Ryukyu Islands in Japan, Submerged by Post Glacial Sea-level Change" (PDF). Proceedings of Oceans’04 MTS/IEEEE Techno-Ocean ’04. pp. 947–953.
  8. ^ a b c d Schoch, Robert M. (1999). "Yonaguni Enigmatic Underwater Monuments". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  9. ^ "National Geographic News Photo Gallery: Asian "Atlantis" Shows Strange Structure". Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  10. ^ a b c "Yonaguni, Japan". New Scientist (2736). 2009-11-25. Archived from the original on 2009-11-28. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  11. ^ Wichmann, Wolf (2003-03-29). "Zeugnis einer untergegangenen Hochkultur Asiens oder einfach nur ein Felsklotz im Meer?: Das Yonaguni-Monument". Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  12. ^ a b Peet, Preston (2013-01-01). Disinformation Guide to Ancient Aliens, Lost Civilizations, Astonishing Archaeology & Hidden History. Red Wheel Weiser. ISBN 9781938875038.
  13. ^ Nunn, Patrick D. (2009). Vanished Islands and Hidden Continents of the Pacific. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-8248-3219-3.
  14. ^ Kimura, Masaaki (1991). Mu tairiku wa Ryukyu ni atta (The Continent of Mu was in Ryukyu) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Tokuma Shoten. ISBN 978-4195545874.
  15. ^ Kimura, Masaaki (23 May 2006). "沖縄の海底遺跡についての新知見 (New Information about Underwater Ruins in Okinawa)" (in Japanese). Retrieved 26 July 2019.
Atlantis

Atlantis (Ancient Greek: Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος, "island of Atlas") is a fictional island mentioned within an allegory on the hubris of nations in Plato's works Timaeus and Critias, where it represents the antagonist naval power that besieges "Ancient Athens", the pseudo-historic embodiment of Plato's ideal state in The Republic. In the story, Athens repels the Atlantean attack unlike any other nation of the known world, supposedly giving testament to the superiority of Plato's concept of a state. The story concludes with Atlantis falling out of favor with the deities and submerging into the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite its minor importance in Plato's work, the Atlantis story has had a considerable impact on literature. The allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, such as Francis Bacon's New Atlantis and Thomas More's Utopia. On the other hand, nineteenth-century amateur scholars misinterpreted Plato's narrative as historical tradition, most notably in Ignatius L. Donnelly's Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. Plato's vague indications of the time of the events—more than 9,000 years before his time—and the alleged location of Atlantis—"beyond the Pillars of Hercules"—has led to much pseudoscientific speculation. As a consequence, Atlantis has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations and continues to inspire contemporary fiction, from comic books to films.

While present-day philologists and classicists agree on the story's fictional character, there is still debate on what served as its inspiration. As for instance with the story of Gyges, Plato is known to have freely borrowed some of his allegories and metaphors from older traditions. This led a number of scholars to investigate possible inspiration of Atlantis from Egyptian records of the Thera eruption, the Sea Peoples invasion, or the Trojan War. Others have rejected this chain of tradition as implausible and insist that Plato created an entirely fictional nation as his example, drawing loose inspiration from contemporary events such as the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily in 415–413 BC or the destruction of Helike in 373 BC.

Baltic Sea anomaly

The Baltic Sea anomaly refers to interpretations of an indistinct sonar image taken by Peter Lindberg, Dennis Åsberg and their Swedish "Ocean X" diving team while treasure hunting on the floor of the northern Baltic Sea at the center of the Gulf of Bothnia in June 2011. The team suggested their sonar image showed an object with unusual features of seemingly non-natural origin, prompting speculation published in tabloid newspapers that the object was a sunken UFO.

A consensus of experts and scientists say that the image most likely shows a natural geological formation.

Bimini Road

The Bimini Road, sometimes called the Bimini Wall, is an underwater rock formation near North Bimini island in the Bahamas. The Road consists of a 0.8 km (0.50 mi)-long northeast-southwest linear feature composed of roughly rectangular to subrectangular limestone blocks. Various claims have been made for this feature being either a wall, road, pier, breakwater, or other man-made structure. However, credible evidence or arguments are lacking for such an origin.

Cuban underwater city

Cuban underwater city refers to a site thought by some to be a submerged granite structural complex off the coast of the Guanahacabibes Peninsula in the Pinar del Río Province of Cuba.

Expedition Unknown

Expedition Unknown is an American reality television series that premiered on January 8, 2015, on the Travel Channel. Produced by Ping Pong Productions, the program follows explorer and television presenter Josh Gates as he investigates legends and mysteries. The series currently airs Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. The second season of Expedition Unknown premiered October 7, 2015 and on March 24, 2016, the Travel Channel renewed the series for a third season, which premiered on November 2, 2016. On March 14, 2017, the Travel Channel renewed the series for a fourth season.

Masaaki Kimura

Masaaki Kimura (木村 政昭, Kimura Masaaki, born 6 November 1940) is a Professor Emeritus from the Faculty of Science of the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.

Megalith

A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. The word megalithic describes structures made of such large stones without the use of mortar or concrete, representing periods of prehistory characterised by such constructions. For later periods, the word monolith, with an overlapping meaning, is more likely to be used.

The word megalith comes from the Ancient Greek μέγας (transliteration mégas, meaning "great") and λίθος (transliteration líthos meaning "stone"). Megalith also denotes one or more rocks hewn in definite shapes for special purposes. It has been used to describe buildings built by people from many parts of the world living in many different periods. The term was first used in reference to Stonehenge by Algernon Herbert in 1849. A variety of large stones are seen as megaliths, with the most widely known megaliths not being tombs. The construction of these structures took place mainly in the Neolithic period (though earlier Mesolithic examples are known) and continued into the Chalcolithic period and the Bronze Age.

Michael Arbuthnot

Michael Alexander Arbuthnot (born 8 June 1974) is an archaeologist, instructor and archaeological film-maker.

Mu (lost continent)

Mu is a legendary lost continent that also appears in lost world literature. It is a term introduced by Augustus Le Plongeon, who used the "Land of Mu" as an alternative name for Atlantis. It was subsequently popularized as an alternative term for the hypothetical land of Lemuria by James Churchward, who asserted that Mu was located in the Pacific Ocean before its destruction. Archaeologists assign assertions about Mu to the category of pseudoarchaeology. The place of Mu in literature has been discussed in detail in Lost Continents (1954) by L. Sprague de Camp.

Geologists dismiss the existence of Mu and the lost continent of Atlantis as physically impossible, arguing that a continent can neither sink nor be destroyed in the short period of time asserted in legends and folklore and literature about these places. Mu's existence is considered to have no factual basis.

Pantelleria Vecchia Bank Megalith

The Pantelleria Vecchia Bank Megalith is an anomalous artifact of uncertain origin, located on the Pantelleria Vecchia Bank in the Sicily Channel between Sicily and Tunisia, at a depth of 40 meters underwater. Studies have suggested that the object appears to be man-made. The megalith is a large block of sedimentary calcirudite limestone measuring 12 meters long, and weighing 15 tons.The stone may have been carved when the area last stood above ocean level around 10,000 years ago during the early Mesolithic. The radiocarbon dating of shell fragments extracted from the stone indicate the stone itself to be 40,000 years old while the ocean floor surrounding the megalith is 10 million years old. This suggests that the megalith may have been carved from imported stone.The megalith contains three holes with similar diameters, which are partially filled with barnacles and other crustaceans. One of the holes, with a diameter of 60 centimeters, visibly extends all the way through the stone.

Pseudoarchaeology

Pseudoarchaeology—also known as alternative archaeology, fringe archaeology, fantastic archaeology, or cult archaeology—refers to interpretations of the past from outside of the archaeological science community, which reject the accepted datagathering and analytical methods of the discipline. These pseudoscientific interpretations involve the use of artifacts, sites or materials to construct scientifically insubstantial theories to supplement the pseudoarchaeologists' claims. Methods include exaggeration of evidence, dramatic or romanticized conclusions, use of fallacy, and fabrication of evidence.There is no unified pseudoarchaeological theory or approach, but rather many different interpretations of the past that are jointly at odds with those developed by the scientific community. These include religious approaches such as Creationism when identified as "creation science" that applies to the archaeology of historic periods such as those that would have included the Tower of Babel, Noah's Ark, and the supposed worldwide flood myth. Some pseudoarchaeological theories revolve around the idea that prehistoric and ancient human societies were aided in their development by intelligent extraterrestrial life, an idea propagated by those such as Italian author Peter Kolosimo, French authors Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in The Morning of the Magicians (1963), and Swiss author Erich von Däniken in Chariots of the Gods? (1968). Others instead hold that there were human societies in the ancient period that were significantly technologically advanced, such as Atlantis, and this idea has been propagated by figures like Graham Hancock in his Fingerprints of the Gods (1995). Pseudoarchaeology has also been manifest in Mayanism and the 2012 phenomenon.

Many alternative archaeologies have been adopted by religious groups. Fringe archaeological ideas such as archaeocryptography and pyramidology have been embraced by religions ranging from the British Israelites to the theosophists. Other alternative archaeologies include those that have been adopted by members of New Age and contemporary pagan belief systems.

Academic archaeologists have heavily criticised pseudoarchaeology, with one of the most vocal critics, John R. Cole, characterising it as relying on "sensationalism, misuse of logic and evidence, misunderstanding of scientific method, and internal contradictions in their arguments". The relationship between alternative and academic archaeologies has been compared to the relationship between intelligent design theories and evolutionary biology by some archaeologists.

Robert M. Schoch

Robert M. Schoch is an American associate professor of Natural Sciences at the College of General Studies, Boston University. Since 1991, Schoch has been a proponent of the fringe Sphinx water erosion hypothesis.

Ryukyu Islands

The Ryukyu Islands (琉球諸島, Ryūkyū-shotō), also known as the Nansei Islands (南西諸島, Nansei-shotō, lit. "Southwest Islands") or the Ryukyu Arc (琉球弧, Ryūkyū-ko), are a chain of Japanese islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan: the Ōsumi, Tokara, Amami, Okinawa, and Sakishima Islands (further divided into the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands), with Yonaguni the westernmost. The larger are mostly high islands and the smaller mostly coral. The largest is Okinawa Island.

The climate of the islands ranges from humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) in the north to tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) in the south. Precipitation is very high and is affected by the rainy season and typhoons. Except the outlying Daitō Islands, the island chain has two major geologic boundaries, the Tokara Strait (between the Tokara and Amami Islands) and the Kerama Gap (between the Okinawa and Miyako Islands). The islands beyond the Tokara Strait are characterized by their coral reefs.

The Ōsumi and Tokara Islands, the northernmost of the islands, fall under the cultural sphere of the Kyushu region of Japan; the people are ethnically Japanese and speak a variation of the Kagoshima dialect of Japanese. The Amami, Okinawa, Miyako, and Yaeyama Islands have a native population collectively called the Ryukyuan people, named for the former Ryukyu Kingdom that ruled them. The varied Ryukyuan languages are traditionally spoken on these islands, and the major islands have their own distinct languages. In modern times, the Japanese language is the primary language of the islands, with the Okinawan Japanese dialect prevalently spoken. The outlying Daitō Islands were uninhabited until the Meiji period, when their development was started mainly by people from the Izu Islands south of Tokyo, with the people there speaking the Hachijō language.

Administratively, the islands are divided into Kagoshima Prefecture (specifically the islands administered by Kagoshima District, Kumage Subprefecture/District, and Ōshima Subprefecture/District) in the north and Okinawa Prefecture in the south, with the divide between the Amami and Okinawa Islands, with the Daitō Islands part of Okinawa Prefecture. The northern (Kagoshima) islands are collectively called the Satsunan Islands, while the southern part of the chain (Okinawa Prefecture) are called the Ryukyu Islands in Chinese.

Unidentified submerged object

An unidentified submerged object (USO) is an unidentified object submerged in water. The term does not necessarily refer to an object of paranormal origin.

Yonaguni

Yonaguni (Japanese: 与那国島, Hepburn: Yonaguni-jima, Yonaguni romanization: Dunan-chima, Yaeyama romanization: Yunoon-zïma, Okinawan romanization: Yunaguni-jima), one of the Yaeyama Islands, is the westernmost inhabited island of Japan, lying 108 kilometers (67 mi) from the east coast of Taiwan, between the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean proper. The island is administered as the town of Yonaguni, Yaeyama Gun, Okinawa and there are three settlements: Sonai, Kubura and Higawa.

Yonaguni, Okinawa

Yonaguni (与那国町, Yonaguni-chō, Yonaguni: Dunan, Yaeyama: Yunoon, Okinawan: Yunaguni) is a town located entirely on Yonaguni Island in Yaeyama District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is the westernmost municipality in Japan, and is known for billfish fishing and as a diving spot. In 1987, divers discovered the Yonaguni Monument, a rock formation that some believe may be man-made.

It is also home to two Ryūkyūan writing systems, pictographic "kaida-di" (also used on Ishigaki and Taketomi islands where it is called "kaida-ji") and the symbols used to indicate family names, "dāhan" (also used on Ishigaki Island where they are called "yāban").

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