Lost city found beneath Cuban waters may be a trick of nature

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The Independent US

A Canadian underwater exploration company using sonar has found what looks like an ancient lost city at the bottom of the Caribbean off Cuba.

A Canadian underwater exploration company using sonar has found what looks like an ancient lost city at the bottom of the Caribbean off Cuba.

The company, Advanced Digital Communications, based in British Columbia, says an area of 20 sq km (8 sq miles) 650m below sea-level might have been a large "urban centre" 6,000 years ago.

The submerged landscape has shapes resembling pyramids, roads and buildings, with blocks of rocks measuring between 2m and 5m long, some stacked one on top of another.

Archaeologists, however, believe that it is more likely that the explorers have found a relatively common phenomenon.

Martin Dean, director of one of the world's leading marine archaeological institutions, the University of St Andrews' Archaeological Diving Unit, said: "The world's seas and oceans are full of underwater limestone, basalt and other natural geological formations, some of them covering many square miles, which are mistakenly interpreted as sunken cities with monotonous regularity."

Over recent years there have been a number of "sunken city" claims and they have all turned out to be submerged limestone or other geological formations.

Cracking in limestone often creates natural "pavements" and other formations that can look very similar to structures made by humans. The site is also too deep for any human-made structures.

Dr Alistair Crame, head of the Geological Sciences Division of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, said: "It's very unlikely that the seabed would drop 650m in 6,000 years. Normally geologists would expect such subsidence to occur over millions of years; 650 metres is also 550 metres below the lowest global sea levels experienced over the past million years."

One of the salvage company's engineers, Paulina Zelitsky, said: "It's a really wonderful structure which looks like it could have been a large urban centre. However, it would be totally irresponsible to say what it is before we have evidence."

Her company is one of four foreign firms working with the Cuban government in a search for Spanish treasure ships on the seabed of the Caribbean.

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