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Missing Island in Coral Sea

dateline: 27 November 2012

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • geologist: scientist who studies the physical properties of the earth
  • nautical chart: a map of marine area
  • puzzled: confused
  • cartographer: map maker
  • reproduced: made again
  • to chalk something up to: to consider something as a cause
  • digitize: convert something to digital form

Missing Island In Coral Sea

Geologists from the University of say that a small island in the Coral Sea that appears on nautical charts and maps, including Google Earth, does not . Maps place ‘Sandy Island’ between Australia and French-held New Caledonia. The scientists who had hoped to the island were puzzled when they arrived to find deep ocean instead of land. Experts say that this is a explored part of the world, and that maps of the area need updating. It is unknown how the invisible island made its way onto the maps in the first place; however, cartographers are chalking it up to . The error has been reproduced for many years, and may be the result of digitizing.

Comprehension Questions

  1. How did scientists make this discovery?
  2. Why does the report mention Google Earth?
  3. What do cartographers say about how the non-existent island made its way onto modern maps?

Discussion Question: Some map makers include “phantom streets” to protect themselves from other map makers who may copy their work. Do you agree with this technique of a “copyright trap”? Why do you think marine cartographers would avoid this practice?

show Answers

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.


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