One reason we're not getting more information about what looks like a Cuban underwater city is that for Paul Weinzweig and his wife Paulina Zelitsky of Advanced Digital Communications (ADC), exploring it is only a sideline?the company has been hired to hunt for shipwrecks filled with gold and jewels, and to find oil and natural gas reserves. Images revealed by their underwater robot submarine include massive stones arranged in symmetrical squares and pyramid shapes. Smooth, white stones on the ocean floor 2,000 feet beneath the surface are laid out in a geometric pattern. These artifacts can be found over nearly eight square miles off Cuba's western tip. "Nature couldn't have built anything so symmetrical," says Weinzweig. "This isn't natural, but we don't know what it is."
Since losing the support of the former Soviet Union, Cuba needs to find new sources of money. ADC has found several large oil and gas deposits and about 20 shipwrecks. The most historically important so far has been the USS Maine, which exploded and sank in 1898, starting the Spanish-American War.
The underwater city was discovered by accident in 2000, when unexpected rock formations appeared on their sonar. "We have looked at enormous amounts of ocean bottom, and we have never seen anything like this," Weinzweig says. It could be the ancient city of Atlantis, described by Plato in 360 BC. There are theories that Atlantis was off Cuba, off the Greek island of Crete, off Gibraltar and in many other locations.
Many scientists think Atlantis never really existed. Anthropologist George Erikson says, "I have always disagreed with all the archaeologists who dismiss myth." If the Cuban site turns out to be Atlantis, he hopes "to be the first to say, 'I told you so.'" In his book ?Atlantis in America,? he predicted that Atlantis would be discovered in the same place where the underwater city has been found, click here.
An ancient city off Cuba would mean that civilization is much older than scientists now believe. If the symmetrical stones are ruins of buildings, it could have taken 50,000 years or more for tectonic shifting to carry them so deep into the ocean, meaning the buildings themselves would be much older than that. The Giza pyramid in Egypt is only about 5,000 years old, which means the Cuba site "wouldn't fit with what we know about human architectural evolution," says Cuban geologist Manuel Iturralde. "It's an amazing question that we would like to solve." He?s studied volcanic rocks recovered at the site that suggest the area was once above water, despite its extreme depth. The existence of the rocks is hard to explain, because there are no volcanoes in Cuba.
So far, only unmanned robot submarines have taken videos of the site. No human exploration has been done, which would provide a much better idea of what?s actually down there. The remote-operated video camera gives only a limited perspective, like someone looking at a close-up of an elephant's toe and trying to describe the whole animal.
The National Geographic Society has expressed interest in a manned submarine expedition next summer, according to Sylvia Earl, explorer-in-residence. She says, "It is so compelling that I think we need to go check it out." A planned expedition this past summer was canceled because of funding problems. With all the interest in the site, one would think the expedition could be funded by the money from a TV special, like the recent U.K. exploration of the shaft in the Giza pyramid.
Weinzweig and Zelitsky are currently focusing on a huge 500-year-old shipwreck they discovered on August 15 with a priceless cargo of emeralds, diamonds and ancient artifacts. They get to keep 40% of the value of whatever they recover, and they think the ship holds over $4 million worth of treasure.
One of the best theories about the location of Atlantis can be found in ?Atlantis in America? by George Erikson and Ivar Zapp, click here.
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