Lost Ancient City In The Middle Of The Pacific Ocean Revealed in New Satellite Images

In the centre of a lagoon on the remote island of Pohnpei, a series of mysterious canals, stone foundations and ruins have earned Nan Madol the name: "Venice of the Pacific"—or even Atlantis.

The city of ruins are over a millennia old but thanks to new technology and aerial images of the site the city is more accessible than ever, according to the Science Channel's series 'What on Earth?'

Satellite images of the complex show 97 geometrically similar shapes on the island's coastline. Their purpose is unclear and little is known about the city's original inhabitants.

The local name translates to "the space in between," referring to the canals formed in between the rectangular-shaped islets, but it could also have a more ominous interpretation—there are numerous reports of ghost sightings near the site.


"As amazing as this site appears from satellite imagery, coming down to ground level is even more astounding. There are walls which are 25 feet tall and 17 feet thick," Karen Bellinger, explains in the clip.

"It now looks like Nan Madol represents a first in Pacific Island history," Mark McCoy associate professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas told Fox News last year.

"The tomb of the first chiefs of Pohnpei is a century older than similar monumental burials of leaders on other islands."

"To me, in its prime, Nan Madol was a capital," McCoy added. "It was the seat of political power, the center of the most important religious rituals, and the place where the former chiefs of the island were laid to rest."

The ruins of Nan Madol sit on the remote lagoon of the Pacific Pohnpei island. Luigi Guarino/Flickr

Part of the mystery around Nan Madol is linked not only to its age but also its location. Sitting on Micronesia's Pacific coral reef coastline, the city developed in solation, around 2,500 miles from Los Angeles, California and around 1,600 miles from the coast of Australia.

According to the Smithsonian Museum, Nan Madol's curious architecture comprises of a hefty 750,000 tonnes of black rock, meaning that the people behind it must have moved 1,850 tonnes every year.