16th-Century Maps Reveal 1800 BC Ice Free Greenland And Antarctica

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Mercator world map Public Domain and Gerardus Mercator of Rupelmonde at the age of 62 by Frans Hogenburg (1574) (Public Domain)

16th-Century Maps Reveal 1800 BC Ice Free Greenland And Antarctica

There is a large body of maps of the Americas which cannot be explained by known explorations. Mercator’s 1569 World Map shows all of Greenland without ice at its coasts. Finaeus’ 1531 World Map shows Antarctica without coastal ice, all Greenland without coastal ice and an ancient shoreline of Hudson Bay. No 16th-century explorer could have reached Antarctica and Northern Greenland during this time period, much less have seen them ice free at their coasts. Based on an analysis of historic rates of isostatic rebound in lower James Bay, it appears that the ancient surveys for these maps of Antarctica and Northern Greenland were made approximately 3,700 years ago, and that global warming following the last Ice Age was sufficient to result in the coasts of Antarctica and Greenland being ice free by 3,700 years ago.

Detail of  Greenland of the 1569 Mercator World Map (Deriv: Author Public Domain)

Detail of  Greenland of the 1569 Mercator World Map (Deriv: Author Public Domain)

Gerard Mercator states in the North American section of his 1569 World Map: “The third aim that we had in view was to show what parts of the world were known to the ancients and to what extent, in order that the limits of ancient geography may not be unknown and that due honor may be paid to the earlier ages.” He then continues, after citing voyages mentioned by Pliny and Herodotus: “It is clear, then, that our continent is surrounded by the ocean, and that its extent was known to the ancients; and it is evident on their authority that it was in large part described.  Plainly those persons are mistaken who make New India continuous with Asia.”  (Feit, 1926).


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