THIS is the amazing image which could show the fabled sunken city of Atlantis.
It shows a perfect rectangle the size of Wales lying on the bed of the Atlantic Ocean nearly 3½ miles down.
A host of criss-crossing lines, looking like a map of a vast metropolis, are enclosed by the boundary.
They seem too vast and organised to be caused naturally.
And last night the possibility of an extraordinary discovery had oceanographers and geophysicists captivated.
The site lies 620 miles off the west coast of Africa near the Canary Islands — a location for Atlantis seemingly suggested by the ancient philosopher Plato.
He believed it was an island civilisation sunk by an earthquake and floods around 9,700BC — nearly 12,000 years ago.
The “grid” showed up on Google Ocean, a Google Earth extension that uses a combination of satellite images and marine surveys.
Last night Dr Charles Orser, curator of historical archaeology at New York State University — and one of the world’s leading authorities on Atlantis — called it “fascinating”.
He said: “The site is one of the most prominent places for the proposed location of Atlantis, as described by Plato. Even if it turns out to be geographical, this definitely deserves a closer look.”
The legend of Atlantis has captured the imagination of scholars for centuries.
And in the 1970s it spawned a hit TV series, Man From Atlantis, in which Patrick Duffy played a webbed hero who could live underwater.
Sea here ... location of grid on Google
Situated in an area called the Madeira Abyssal Plane, the grid was spotted by aeronautical engineer Bernie Bamford as he browsed through Google Ocean.
Bernie, 38, of Chester, said: “It looks like an aerial map of Milton Keynes. It must be man-made.”
Google today claimed the criss-crossing lines were sonar data collected as boats mapped the ocean floor.
But the internet giant said “blank spots” within the lines could not be explained.
A spokeswoman said: “Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor.
“The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.
“The fact that there are blank spots between each of these lines is a sign of how little we really know about the world’s oceans.”