Atlantis is real. It's just that there's more than one of them, and none of them are actually called "Atlantis". Instead, they consist from the Kerguelen Plateau in the Indian Ocean to Zealandia, a continent who sank 130 million years ago, leaving their highest points to be the North and South islands of New Zealand.

Here is a map of an alternate Earth that I've been working on:

enter image description here

Our focus here is on two different areas--Western Asia and Japan. At first glance, it'd look as though those two landmasses never existed. The truth is, in this alternate Earth, they sank. Western Asia had sunk very early in the Eocene, Japan no longer than 15 million years ago. What force of nature could possibly sink the specified landmasses?

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    $\begingroup$ Did the places you mention actually sink, or were they just never above the current sea level? Just as there were places - Beringia, Doggerland, &c - that were above the lower sea level of the last Ice Age, and your map seems to be mostly a higher sea level (with perhaps more rainfall in Africa? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Mar 7, 2020 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf The former, yes. $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2020 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ You’re looking for the concept of dynamic topography. scholar.google.com/… $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Mar 7, 2020 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ How fast sinking? There’s geologic evidence of such massive sinks occurring over the course of a couple million years. Are you looking for continent sinks in days/weeks? $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Mar 7, 2020 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ Just curious but given the extent of historical change that would propagate from losing Western Asia what is your reason for still basing your world on the real world? I mean pretty much everything north of "Sahara" would be entirely different and rest of Africa wouldn't really have anything in common after the palaeolithic. $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2020 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


Subduction of the plate carrying the landmasses.

Subduction takes place at the boundaries of tectonic plates. One plate slides beneath the other. If the plate that is going down is carrying a landmass, that landmass will go down with the plate.

An example: the Torres islands are sinking below the ocean, because the plate they are on is carrying them down.

Comparing the role of absolute sea-level rise and vertical tectonic motions in coastal flooding, Torres Islands (Vanuatu)

Since the late 1990s, rising sea levels around the Torres Islands (north Vanuatu, southwest Pacific) have caused strong local and international concern. In 2002–2004, a village was displaced due to increasing sea incursions, and in 2005 a United Nations Environment Programme press release referred to the displaced village as perhaps the world’s first climate change “refugees.” We show here that vertical motions of the Torres Islands themselves dominate the apparent sea-level rise observed on the islands. From 1997 to 2009, the absolute sea level rose by 150 + /-20 mm. But GPS data reveal that the islands subsided by 117 + /-30 mm over the same time period, almost doubling the apparent gradual sea-level rise...In addition, large subduction zone earthquakes can cause nearly instantaneous vertical movements of up to several meters (see, for example refs. 12–15). The Torres Islands, which are located very near the plate interface, are likely to be affected by both sudden and slow vertical motions over different time scales.

These islands are currently sinking by a centimeter a year! The article notes that this has not been a steady process but that landmasses near these plate boundaries can suddenly move up or down during earthquakes.


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