Atlantis in Antarctica? Tracking the Myths of a Lost Island Paradise

From New Dawn Special Issue 8 (June 2009)

Our exciting adventure tracking the history of the Ancients began in 1976. It was then that we read Plato’s account of an Egyptian priest’s description of the lost continent of Atlantis. We were intrigued when we realised that the account reflected a picture of the world as seen from Antarctica in 9600 BCE. That fascination culminated in the January 1995 publication of When the Sky Fell: In Search of Atlantis. 

The idea that Antarctica was home to Atlantis has at its root a radical rethinking of the geological history of our planet. Formulated by our mentor, Charles H. Hapgood (1904–1982) the theory of an Earth crust displacement enjoyed the enthusiastic support of Albert Einstein (1879–1955). Hapgood and Einstein corresponded about Hapgood’s work for the last three years of the great physicist’s life.

The essence of the theory that piqued his interest lay within the physical dynamics of the Earth’s inner structure. The bulk of our planet’s mass consists of an inner core of solid iron surrounded by liquid iron. This core is encircled by the thickest part of the Earth which is composed of two mantles of solid rock.

Covering the upper mantle lies the asthenosphere or “weak zone.” It is the asthenosphere’s mobility that allows the Earth’s crust (lithosphere) to shift.

An Earth crust displacement occurs when the entire outer shell of the planet moves leaving a devastating climatic legacy. Because the Earth’s tilt (axis) is not affected, the planet’s climatic zones (polar, temperate and tropical) don’t change. However, vast areas of the crust (which includes ocean basins) do experience a catastrophic change in climate. Before the last Earth crust displacement, part of Antarctica lay outside the polar zone. This is the area that could have been the site of Atlantis.

The consequences of a crustal displacement are monumental. As the Earth’s crust ripples over its interior, the world is shaken by incredible earthquakes and floods. The sky seems to fall. The sun appears to rise and set over an altered horizon until finally the crust grinds to a halt. Beneath the ocean, earthquakes generate massive tidal waves that inundate coastlines. Some lands shift to warmer climates. Others, propelled into the polar zones, suffer the direst of winters. Melting ice caps, released from the polar areas, raise the ocean’s level ever higher. All living creatures must adapt, migrate or die.

Solar Typhoons

In 2000, Rand and Colin Wilson published The Atlantis Blueprint, a book that explored the idea that over 60 of the world’s most sacred sites fit into a global pattern that suggests that they were positioned by a long lost, yet extremely advanced, civilisation. In 2001, the book appeared in the United States and Rand began a correspondence with Jared Freedman who suggested an answer to the mystery of the missing mechanism of Earth crust displacements. Jared is a computer professional and inventor who worked extensively with electromagnets. He was aware that the Earth is in effect a gigantic magnet surrounding a metal core.

When magnets pass through an electromagnetic field heat is generated. Jared wrote:

If the Earth’s magnetic field received such a tremendous distortion of its magnetic field, over a prolonged period of time, it would generate immense amounts of heat within the Earth’s core as the Earth spun through the force that was causing the magnetic field disruption. The only force that can collapse the Earth’s magnetic field is the Sun’s magnetic field.

Jared noted that the Sun also experiences climatic variations but because of its immense size they happen over longer periods of time. Solar storms can theoretically last for “days, weeks or even more.” If the Earth passes through electromagnetic waves coming from the Sun then force would be applied steadily at one of the poles. That energy would be carried into the Earth’s core. Metal flowing to the Earth’s surface could transform the asthenosphere from a sluggish tar into a liquid. Jared wrote:

Perhaps it is not the disruptions of the Earth’s core that cause fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field, but rather disruptions of the Earth’s magnetic field cause fluctuations in the Earth’s core.

Einstein had doubted that the weight of the Earth’s ice sheets would be sufficient to dislodge the crust. He also doubted that an abrupt shift of the entire axis was the explanation because any force that could accomplish that would probably shatter the planet. What he sought was a steady force applied to the crust for a sustained period.

Jared Freedman’s theory not only addresses all these problems but also provides a mechanism for stopping the displacements.

Once the Earth moves through the path of the electromagnetic storm, it cools, changing the liquid-like asthenosphere once again into a tarry substance which prevents the crust from shifting any further.


On April 21, 1519, the silence of Mexico’s Caribbean coast is broken by the clang of swords and the shuffle of boots through white sand. From his ship stepped a bearded conquistador named Hernando Cortes, his helmet adorned with “a plume of feathers.” The Spaniard pounded a great cross into the beach to honour his faith, little realising that the cross was also the symbol of the Plumed Serpent.

Aztec spies watched in amazement and horror before hurrying back to their leader Montezuma. Montezuma’s astrology had told him to expect gods to appear from the Atlantic Ocean. Never in the course of human history has there been a greater case of mistaken identity. On that day, Cortes, with blind luck on his side, began a bloody march that would ultimately end in the annihilation of the Aztec empire.

The Spanish conquerors believed that Mexico was once an Egyptian colony. It is little wonder, since the Aztecs shared several common mythological themes with the Egyptians. The Egyptians believed that the world was surrounded on all sides, including the heavens, with water. In Aztec mythology:

The sea was thought to extend outward and upward until – like the walls of a cosmic house – it merged with the sky… The sky, therefore, was known to contain waters which might in perilous times descend in deluges, annihilating man.

This empire, like that of the Egyptians, had built great pyramids that symbolised the land that saved their ancestors from the flood. And like those of Egypt the solar megaliths were aligned with the rising sun. It was atop the Temple of the Sun that Cortes met Montezuma. He recounted their conversation in a letter to the King of Spain. Montezuma told Cortes about the island homeland of the Aztecs’ ancestors: “Our fathers dwelt in that happy and prosperous place which they called Aztlan, which means whiteness.”

Aztlan is described as “…a bright land of shining light and whiteness which contained seven cities surrounding a sacred mountain.”

Perhaps the blazing lights of Aztlan were actually the southern lights of Antarctica before that land was thrust into the confines of the Antarctic Circle.

Aztlan was said to be “…located beyond the waters, or as surrounded by waters; and the first stage of the migration is said to have been made by boat.”

Once again we have the familiar story: They believed that two persons survived the deluge, a man, named Coxcox, and his wife. Their heads are represented in ancient paintings, together with a boat floating on the waters, at the foot of a mountain.

Throughout America the myth of a lost island paradise haunts the memories of the native people. But they were not alone in their grief for the lost land. Across the ocean the tale was told in ancient India, Iran and Japan.

Polar Paradise

In 1922, Mahatma Gandhi, about to be sentenced to six years in prison, said to the judge:

Since you have done me the honour of recalling the trial of the late Lokamaya Gangadhar Tilak, I just want to say that I consider it the proudest privilege and honour to be associated with his name.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak forged the tactic of passive resistance as a means of overthrowing British rule in India. He was held in such esteem that Gandhi used the title “Lokamaya” (“Beloved Leader of the People”) when referring to him. Tilak earned his title while imprisoned in 1897 for seditious writings. The British hoped to curb his role in the rising tide of Indian nationalism by locking him up. The harsh conditions of his Bombay cell took their toll. Tilak’s health waned. Fearing that his death in custody might spark a general uprising, the British moved the “Beloved Leader of the People” to a safer prison in Poona. Helped by donations of fruit and vegetables Tilak partially recovered his health. But soon a new hunger overtook him – the need for intellectual stimulation. Relief came from an unlikely quarter: England.

Tilak had published a respected work on India’s oldest texts, the Vedas, and Sanskrit scholars at Oxford and Cambridge were outraged by his imprisonment and treatment. Professor F. Max Muller, the world’s leading authority on the Vedas, was successful in having Tilak’s case reviewed by Queen Victoria. She shortened his sentence and granted him a reading light in his cell. Denied access to newspapers or any other current material, Tilak used this “privilege” to continue his studies of the Vedas.

Upon his release Tilak retired to the mountains to rest at a favourite family retreat. In 1903 his great work, The Arctic Home in the Vedas, was published. In it he argued that the remains of an island paradise could be found beneath the Arctic Ocean: “It was the advent of the Ice Age that destroyed the mild climate of the original home and covered it into an ice-bound land unfit for the habitation of man.”

Tilak summarised a key passage in the oldest saga of Iran, the Zend-Avesta:

Ahura Mazda warns Yima, the first king of men, of the approach of a dire winter, which is to destroy every living creature by covering the land with a thick sheet of ice, and advises Yima to build a Vara, or an enclosure, to preserve the seeds of every kind of animal and plant. The meeting is said to have taken place in the Airyana Vaêjo, or Paradise of the Iranians. (Italics added)

Tilak chose the Arctic Circle as the location of the lost continent of Airyana Vaêjo after reading Paradise Found: The Cradle of the Human Race at the North Pole (1885), written by the founder of Boston University, Dr. William Fairfield Warren. Warren had been impressed by how often the story of a falling sky and great flood was found intertwined with accounts of a lost island paradise. He also realised that the lost land had many polar features. In Warren’s view, the worldwide nature of these descriptions suggested a common physical explanation. The exciting idea of the Ice Ages provided part of his answer:

Now if, during the prevalence of the Deluge, or later, in consequence of the on-coming of the Ice Age, the survivors of the Flood were translocated from their antediluvian home at the Pole to the great Central Asia “plateau of Pamir,” the probable starting-point of historic postdiluvian humanity, the new aspect presented by the heavens in this new latitude would have been precisely as if in the grand world-convulsion the sky itself had become displaced, its polar dome tilted over about one third of the distance from the zenith to the horizon. The astronomical knowledge of those survivors very likely enabled them to understand the true reason of the changed appearance, but their rude descendants, unfavoured with the treasures of antediluvian science, and born only to a savage or nomadic life in their new and inhospitable home, might easily have forgotten the explanation. In time such children’s children might easily have come to embody the strange story handed down from their fathers in strange myths, in which nothing of the original facts remained beyond an obscure account of some mysterious displacement of the sky, supposed to have occurred in a far-off age in connection with some appalling natural catastrophe or world-disaster.

Warren conjectured that the island paradise myths and their dramatic accounts of a falling sky and worldwide flood were part of the actual history of traumatised populations who had lost their homeland in a geological upheaval. Again and again in the most ancient records Warren found evidence that the lost land was near the pole.

For example, in 681 AD, the Japanese Emperor Temnu ordered that a written record be made of his people’s most ancient stories. The compilation was known as the Ko-ji-ki (“Records of Ancient Matters”) and appeared in 712. Warren believed that the earliest part of the book described an original island homeland located near the Earth’s axis.

The Ko-ji-ki begins with the “Seven Generations of the Age of the Gods.” Each “generation” consisted of a brother and sister. After the seven generations had been created, two more gods, Izanagi and his sister/wife Izanami, were brought into being. They were charged with the task of creating the world out of the porridge-like chaos that was the primordial Earth. Warren summarises the moment when the two celestial deities create the first world.

…standing on the bridge of heaven, pushed down a spear into the green plain of the sea, and stirred it round and round. When they drew it up the drops which fell from its end consolidated onto an island. The sun-born pair descended onto the island, and planting a spear in the ground, point downwards, built a palace round it, taking that for the central roof-pillar. The spear became the axis of the Earth, which had been caused to revolve by stirring round.

Warren concluded that Onogorojima (“Island of the Congealed Drop”) was an island somewhere near the pole. The central “roof-pillar” represented, in his view, the Earth’s axis. A great palace was built on the island, a theme that reappears in the legend of Atlantis. (Later, Izanagi created other islands, including the eight main islands of Japan.)

Warren believed that the polar paradise was destroyed when a critical temperature drop resulted in worldwide geological upheaval. A huge mass of the Earth’s interior collapsed inward, pulling sections of the planet’s crust with it. The ocean rushed to drown the sunken areas. The globe then cooled – suffocating the original island paradise in snow and ice.

Because he believed that the entire island had disappeared beneath a polar ocean Warren dismissed the South Pole as a possible location since the Antarctic continent still existed as land. Instead, he focused his attention on the Arctic Ocean, which to him represented the true “Navel of the Earth”:

Students of antiquity must often have marvelled that in nearly every ancient literature they should encounter the strange expression “the Navel of the Earth.” Still more unaccountable would it have seemed to them had they noticed how many ancient mythologies connect the cradle of the human race with this Earth-navel. The advocates of the different sites which have been assigned to Eden have seldom, if ever, recognised the fact that no hypothesis on this subject can be considered acceptable which cannot account for this peculiar association of man’s first home with some sort of natural centre of the Earth. (Italics in original.)

Warren believed that the “Navel of the Earth” referred to the Arctic Ocean. His map of the location of the lost paradise depicts the Earth as it appears from the North Pole.

If Warren hadn’t been fixed on the northern view and had instead looked south he would have seen that Antarctica represents a far more natural “Navel of the Earth,” as we can see in a US Navy map of the world as seen from Antarctica.

Antarctica, like the Aztec’s “Aztlan” is “white.” Like Iran’s lost paradise, it is covered “with a thick sheet of ice.” And like the “first land” of Japanese mythology, it is close to one of the Earth’s poles.

Even if Plato had never written about Atlantis, the mythology of the ancients has always cradled the memories that would have led us to Antarctica.

Atlantis in Antarctica

Most rewarding for us, since 1995, the idea that Antarctica could have been the home of Atlantis has entered the popular imagination in unexpected ways and triggered the talents of many artists and writers.

Clive Cussler gave us Atlantis Found in which James-Bond-like-superhero Dirk Pitt travels to Antarctica and fights neo-Nazi villains over the remains of Atlantis. Later, Cussler teamed with Paul Kemprecos to write Pole Shift, a novel that envisioned terrorists hell bent on artificially displacing the Earth’s crust. Stel Pavlou created Decipher. Richard Scott, a linguist, travels around the world cracking ancient hieroglyphs including those found in the city of Atlantis two miles beneath the ice of Antarctica. Thomas Greanias wrote Raising Atlantis in which astro-archaeologist Conrad Yeats and Vatican linguist Serena Serghetti survive their quest to find Atlantis in Antarctica. In 2007, a Kindle book by Jeremy Robinson, Antarktos Rising, imagined a present-day Earth crust displacement that frees Antarctica from the polar zone, revealing the formerly iced continent and awakening the long hibernating civilisation that lies beneath.

On television, the long running science fiction series Stargate SG1 (1997–2007) and its spinoff Stargate Atlantis (2004–2009) both assume a close connection between Atlantis and Antarctica. On the big screen, AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004) and AVPR: Alien vs Predator – Requiem (2007) are both predicated upon the idea that Antarctica was once the site of an advanced civilisation. In 2009 a film predicated on the idea of an Earth crust displacement corresponding with the end of the Mayan calendar carries the provocative title, 2012. 

In music, Atlantis Blueprint, a rock band in Ontario is enjoying success. And in Australia the group When the Sky Fell is gathering fans.

Tom Miller’s evocative painting of scientists retrieving artefacts from beneath Antarctica’s ice was inspired by When the Sky Fell and was featured on the cover of the US magazine Atlantis Rising.

The authors invite you to visit the new, expanded and updated second edition of When the Sky Fell available as an eBook at Rand & Rose Flem-Ath continue the search and detail the breakthroughs in science over the past decade and include the compelling evidence that points to Lesser Antarctica as the site of the lost island continent of Atlantis.

This article was published in New Dawn Special Issue 8.
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About the Author

Rand Flem-Ath has a Master’s degree in Library Science (UBC) and a B.A. in sociology and anthropology (SFU). He has published on the origins of agriculture in the Anthropological Journal of Canada. Believing that the mythology of First Nations peoples was buried in the interest of colonial conquerors he has been fascinated by worldwide mythology for nearly forty years. He was Senior Researcher for a branch of the Economist Group in London, UK. Rose Flem-Ath is a two-time winner of the prestigious Canada Council Grant for the Arts for her literary fiction. She has a B.A. in English Literature (SFU). She has worked in public and academic libraries. In the UK she was an assistant editor for the FT’s Media Monitor. Rand and Rose are the authors of the international bestseller When The Sky Fell (first published in Canada in January 1995). They live on the Pacific coast of Canada. Website:

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