U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago, in mud flats in southern Spain.
"This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.
"It is just so hard to understand that it can wipe out 60 miles inland, and that's pretty much what we're talking about," said Freund, a professor at the University of Hartford who led an international team searching for the true site of Atlantis.
To solve the age-old mystery, the team analyzed satellite imagery of a suspected submerged city just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multiringed dominion known as Atlantis.
The team of archaeologists and geologists in 2009 and 2010 used a combination of deep-ground radar, digital mapping and underwater technology to survey the site.
Freund's discovery in central Spain of a strange series of "memorial cities," built in Atlantis' image by its refugees after the city's likely destruction by a tsunami, gave researchers added proof and confidence, he said.
Atlantean residents who did not die in the tsunami fled inland and built new cities there, he added.
The team's conclusions are detailed in "Finding Atlantis," a National Geographic Channel special.
While it is hard to know with certainty that the site in Spain is Atlantis, Freund said the "twist" of finding the memorial cities makes him confident Atlantis was buried in the mud flats.
"We found something that no one else has ever seen before, which gives it a layer of credibility, especially for archaeology, that makes a lot more sense," Freund said.