Misteriosa Bank

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Misteriosa Bank
Placer de la Misteriosa
Submerged bank
Misteriosa Bank is located in Caribbean
Misteriosa Bank
Misteriosa Bank (Caribbean)
CountryCayman Islands
Minimum depth20 m
 • Total322 km2 (124 sq mi)

The Misteriosa Bank (Spanish: Placer de la Misteriosa)[1] is a submerged bank or atoll in the Caribbean Sea, located at 18°48′N 83°54′W / 18.800°N 83.900°W / 18.800; -83.900 – approximately equidistant from Mexico (380 km or 210 nmi), Honduras (345 km or 186 nmi) and Cuba (320 km or 170 nmi).

Geographical data[edit]

The Misteriosa Bank is 39 km (24 mi) long and 3 to 11 km (1.9 to 6.8 mi) wide. Its area is 322 km2 (124 sq mi).[2] Immediately south of it is Rosario Bank. The closest piece of land is the Swan Islands, Honduras, 140 km (76 nmi) to the south and separated from it by the more than 5,000-metre-deep (16,000 ft) Cayman Trough. The reported depth is 20 metres (66 ft) on the average[3] or up to 22 metres (72 ft), with depths of 14–18 metres (46–59 ft) along the rim,[2] or 12.8–49 metres (42–161 ft).[4] It is part of the Cayman Ridge.[5][6]


The bank was first reported by Spanish navigator Tomás Nicolás de Villa in April 1787.[1]

In the 19th century Charles Darwin mentioned the Misteriosa Bank as an example of the sharply declining coral reef in his work in his Coral Reefs:[7]

Besides the coast-banks, there are many of various dimensions which stand quite isolated; these closely resemble each other, they lie from two or three to twenty or thirty fathoms [4 to 55 m] under water, and are composed of sand, sometimes firmly agglutinated, with little or no coral; their surfaces are smooth and nearly level, shelving only to the amount of a few fathoms, very gradually all round towards their edges, where they plunge abruptly into the unfathomable sea. This steep inclination of their sides, which is likewise characteristic of the coast-banks, is very remarkable: I may give as an instance, the Misteriosa Bank, on the edges of which the soundings change in 250 fathoms [460 m] horizontal distance, from 11 to 210 fathoms [20 to 380 m]...

Currently a buoy has been anchored to the seabed of this submerged peak of a sea mountain range that appears to have been claimed by the Principality of New Utopia. The placing of the buoy was filmed by a German film crew and broadcast by Arte television on satellite. New Utopia maintains no state claims and wants to build a kind of micronation on top of it, using concrete blocks.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]