Edit: My original question concerned the magnetic properties of gems in this world. As I have realized more and more through the answers how unrealistic this is, I am now seeking input on any general phenomena that could achieve my desired outcome.

An archipelago located south of Australia is rediscovered by a modern team of explorers. This island was for all of recorded history, hidden in plain sight due to a phenomena that concealed it from view. It was accidentally discovered by Lemurian explorers in antiquity, but there was never any colonization that followed. The island has unique geological minerals that may or may not have something to do with its unique properties that keep it hidden.

As it stands, I want to make this more realistic. I just need help thinking of ways how to! What phenomena could hide an archipelago the size of Tasmania?

The Islands

The Alkumateki Islands formed 50 million years ago from leftover continental fragments after Australia separated from Antarctica during the Cretaceous period. Geologically, the islands have strong geological compositions from the Gondwana continent which once linked Australia and Antarctica together.

Today, the islands consist of three main islands of roughly similar size, a miniscule amount of islets, and a handful of seamounts. The three main islands are located at a more southern latitude than Tasmania, but apart from the third do not reach any further towards Antarctica. The third is naturally the coldest of the three, but their collective proximities to the icy continent have a dramatic impact on all their respective climates.

Two of the islands are around the same size as Tasmania, while the third is comparatively small and only 2/10ths the size. Together, they are similar to the size of Honduras.


Underneath the islands are vast caverns of unique endemic minerals which were exploited by the Lemurians following their exile from their lost continent. When used properly, they had unique magnetic properties which helped to propel the Lemurians into a golden age before their society collapsed in a civil war circa 917 BC.

My fundamental question is this: How could the island or its geological materials help conceal it from compasses, radars, and satellite imagery?

  • $\begingroup$ How do the inhabitants know about how to use those magic stones to conceal them from the mentioned technologies if they live in complete isolation? Assuming that channeling thing made sense, they would have to understand compasses and so on on a deeper level than their inventors without contact. That sounds to me like a big hole in your world. Also, if you want to use magnets, do you know how magnets work? You will get a better, more realistic world if you have a good knowledge about the things you're describing. General advice: write about what you know. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Dec 9 '20 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Raditz_35 I have since restructured my question to better adjust to input such as yours. To answer your questions, the Lemurians were an ancient people who lived on the lost continent of Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean. They achieved high states of civilization before their continent was destroyed in a great cataclysm. They went on to seed nations such as the Mayans and Polynesians, as well as this archipelago I've here described. The Lemurians on the archipelago were some of the most pureblooded descendants, and still had some of the advanced knowledge of their ancestors. $\endgroup$ – Noble Dec 9 '20 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ If we are dealing with a super advanced civilization (I'm not sure if that's what you're talking about), you should absolutely include that. But living in isolation and knowing technology inside out, even spending some considerable resources on that (we obviously can't do that even today) is still an issue. You should perhaps rework the entire question then top to bottom to make it clear. If I don't get it, perhaps other people might not as well. Are you looking for natural, geological things still? That's going to be hard if we can see it with our eyes. Btw, how large is that place? $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Dec 9 '20 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ You should have created a new question rather than editing this one. $\endgroup$ – NomadMaker Dec 9 '20 at 10:33

As framed, they can't. In fact, as far as compasses go, it would only attract attention to the islands because compasses don't generally react to islands to begin with. The way to hide from a compass is to have a compass not react to it, which is the exact opposite of a magnetic anomaly.

And magnetic fields typically do not affect light or radio waves under earthly conditions. I mean...I suppose the possibility exists if extremely strong (I'm no physicist) but we would be talking about magnetic fields so strong you would only encounter them in stellar objects.

If they could, it would have to be strong enough that even if you were at a distance (or satellite altitudes!) you would experience a field far, far stronger than what you are exposed to in an MRI machine. Other effects would be felt long before the magnetic field reached a strength where it could noticeably affect electromagnetic waves.

It would be the most inhospitable place on Earth. Forget attracting iron. You'd probably electrocute yourself to death just moving a conductor (like yourself) anywhere through such a field, if something else about the magnetic field doesn't get you first (like the magnetic moment of the water molecules in your body).

ADDITION: Apparently the magnetic field of a magnetar is capable of ripping the electrons out of you, and other matter. That sounds about right for the level of magnetic field strength that would begin to affect electromagnetic waves.

And on top of that you're asking for it to affect light in such a way that imitates nothing being there.

I suggest you find some other phenomena.

  • $\begingroup$ Is there any phenomena you would suggest that could be more feasible? $\endgroup$ – Noble Dec 9 '20 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Noble It's pretty tough. I think the shipwreck idea is a lot more plausible but that doesn't protect against satellites. Even perpetually bad weather in the surrounding region doesn't protect against satellites, thought might work against planes. You almost have to invoke magic to get around the satellites or set your story in an era where satellites didn't exist yet. Maybe general perpertually bad weather in the region, unfavorable currents, and something techno remnants in those clouds preventing radar and IR from getting through? $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Dec 9 '20 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen Correct! Light does not interact with electromagnetic fields themselves, although the presence of a strong magnetic fields usually indicates the presence of a media: which will interact with the light and is affected by the magnetic field. $\endgroup$ – user110866 Dec 9 '20 at 2:37

Natural magnets are a thing, but I don't think they're anywhere near the strength to do what you want here. And like DKNguyen said, it'd be more likely to attract anyone with a compass than send them away. so you could end up with a bunch of shipwrecks on the beaches with the survivors unable to leave, could be interesting.

As for satellites, those (mostly) don't use sensors in the magnetic spectrum, and optical can't (to my knowledge) be affected by magnetism. Same with radar.

Are there people living on the islands? You mention Lemurians, but are they still around? To make it more feasible (using that word loosely) you could have had them make some new form of magnet turned room-temperature superconductor that empowers a massive active camouflage system. Not sure exactly how the engineering would work out, we've been trying to do both for a while now, but the tech isn't there yet.

  • $\begingroup$ The shipwrecks idea is great and I really like it! The Lemurians are unfortunately no longer around, as their civilization collapsed after a civil war in 917 BC. Before that war, they used the gems to achieve great feats of engineering. After the civil war, the survivors fled the monolithic cities to the most primitive of the three islands. There's still a small remnant living on that island, but they are mostly far more primitive than their ancestors. They've refused to go back to the other two isles as they view them as cursed. Your superconductor is interesting, and I like it! $\endgroup$ – Noble Dec 9 '20 at 1:19
  • $\begingroup$ Glad I could help! Thinking about it more, I'm still convinced it needs some sort of active camouflage bubble (which may require gravity manipulation). Another option for optical and visitor prevention could be some sort of perpetual storm or weather control device. The southern ocean is fairly nasty anyways from what I know, so it could be plausible. Radar could still catch glimpses through it, but it would be iffy with enough water in the clouds. $\endgroup$ – Teak Dec 9 '20 at 1:43

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