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Photo Captures Mysterious "City" Floating Above the Ocean

Those sure do look like buildings...

There are many tales of lost cities on ocean islands. Atlantis is the best known of these, a marvelous civilization that, according to lesson, was lost in a great cataclysm and lies forever undiscovered beneath the waves. There are also real lost cities, which are not so legendary but ever bit as real, that ended up underwater due to climate change, earthquakes, or even manmade dams that wind up flooding otherwise dry spots. Scientists have even named a vast underwater hydrothermal field “Lost City” in honor of these enduring stories.

But did this photo catch a shot of a lost city emerging from the waves at sunset, like some kind of oceanic Brigadoon?

This video shares a photo from a cruise passenger taken seven years ago outside of Lisbon, Portugal, which seems to show a collection of skyscrapers rising majestically out of the ocean late into the evening. The picture looks just like buildings, but how, when they were in the middle of the ocean?

Well, what he was likely witnessing was the tallest stacks of containers on a container ship. There are likely a few factors contributing to making this particular image seem so much more city like than what you’d usually see of a ship on the horizon.

First, if the ship is far enough away, the curvature of the Earth could hide the bottom, prow, and other “boat like” elements of the ship, revealing only its skyscraper like stacks of containers. Secondly, a mirage type known as the “Fata Morgana” can be responsible for distorting and elongating what you can see on the horizon, due to the distortion of light particles through the atmosphere, making those stacks seem even taller than they might otherwise be.

But by all means, keep looking for Atlantis.

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