The Lost Continent

   More than 2,000 years ago Plato, a famous Greek philosopher, wrote about a continent that he called "Atlantis." This continent, he said, had been west of the Pillars of Hercules, the gateway into the Mediterranean Sea. Its people had been highly civilized. But, a great earthquake had made this continent sink below the sea 9,000 years before Plato's time.
   Probably Plato did not expect anyone to believe in Atlantis. But many people thought the story was true. Some people still believe in this lost continent. Whole books have been written about it.
Changes are, of course, always taking place in the earth's surface. Small islands have appeared and disappeared. Volcanic eruptions build up new mountains and tear the tops off old ones. Coast lines change.
   Earthquakes are fairly common. But scientists have not been able to discover that any large amount of land has sunk below the sea in the past 100,000 years.
   There are some signs that there was once a large island in the Atlantic where the small Azores are now. But this island, if there ever was one, disappeared 10 or 15 million years ago. That was long before there were any people living on the earth. Plato's lost continent, scientists are sure, was just a story.
   There have been other stories like it. Less than 300 years ago, for instance, a sea captain brought to Scotland some people he said he had rescued from a wicked magician on an island west of Ireland. The island he called Hi-Brazil. The story was foolish, but for more than 100 years after that, Hi-Brazil was put on maps.