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Spartel Bank or Majuán Bank is a submerged former island located in the Strait of Gibraltar near Cape Spartel and the Spartel Sill. Its highest point is currently 56 metres below the surface. Spartel Bank is one of the several seamounts in the bed of Gibraltar Strait, similar but deeper seamounts are found at Camarinal Sill and further east. These represent landslide blocks which slid south from the north bank of the Strait of Gibraltar when the strait was formed, possibly through erosion by inflowing waters of the Zanclean flood.

It vanished under the surface approximately 12,000 years ago[1] due to rising ocean levels from melting ice caps after the last Glacial Maximum. It has been proposed by researchers Jacques Collina-Girard and Marc-Andrè Gutscher as a site for the legendary lost island of Atlantis.[1] However, in follow-up correspondence Gutscher indicates that the island could not have been Atlantis, referring to Plato's description of a Bronze Age society, which Spartel could not have supported at the time.[2] A detailed review in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review comments on the discrepancies in Collina-Girard's dates and use of coincidences, concluding that he "has certainly succeeded in throwing some light upon some momentous developments in human prehistory in the area west of Gibraltar. Just as certainly, however, he has not found Plato's Atlantis."[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ornekas, Genevra (2005). "Atlantis Rises Again". Science. 722 (1). 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Nesselrath, Heinz-Guenther Bryn Mawr Classical Review September 2009 [1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Marc-André Gutscher. "Destruction of Atlantis by a great earthquake and tsunami? A geological analysis of the Spartel Bank hypothesis" in Geology Volume 33, Number 8, pp. 685–688 (2005).

Coordinates: 35°55′00″N 5°58′00″W / 35.916667°N 5.966667°W / 35.916667; -5.966667