Bimini Roads

Below is a post by Mr. Darby South concerning linear clusters
of rectangular blocks of limestone that some people claim to be
prehistoric roads related to the alleged lost continent of Atlantis.
It is posted with Mr. South's permission.

Bimini Roads

Re: Atlantis-any proof ?- Beachrock, Not Atlantean Road (Long Post)
From: southdar 
Date: 1995/12/10
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Subject: Re: Atlantis-any proof ?- Beachrock, Not Atlantean Road (Long Post)
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Organization: Friends of Fossils

In _Re: Atlantis-any proof ?_, wrote;
>Doug Weller correctly notes that there may be columns other
>than the ones that were tested and apparently are concrete,

.....material about the barrels/columns found in near Bimini
island omitted. These artifacts are an entirely different issue
then the alleged "roads" because nobody has presented any
proof that the barrels and columns are connected in any way
to what people claim to be roadways.  Thus, they are
discussed in a post that is in preparation.

The Pleistocene limestones on which the barrels and columns
lie range in age from 15,000 to 23,000 B.P. (Gifford 1973).
Because wave action from storms and currents periodically
mix the deposits that lie on the Pleistocene limestones, the
shells and artifacts that lie upon can be of any age that
postdate it.  In examples documented by Flessa (1993), the
mixing of nearshore surficial deposits by storms has produced
deposits containing shells that range in age from modern to
greater than 36,000 B.P. as dated by radiocarbon method.  A
similar mixing of old and new shells and artifacts has
likely occurred within the Bimini nearshore deposits given
the periodic hurricanes that have hit the region.

Reference Cited;
Flessa, Karl W., 1993, Time-averaging and temporal resolution
in Recent marine shelly faunas. in S. M. Kidwell and A. K.
Behrensmeyer (eds.), pp. 34-56, Taphomonic Approaches to
Time Resolution in Fossil Assemblages. Short Courses in
Paleontology, no. 6, The Paleontological Society, University
of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Gifford, John A, 1973, A description of the geology of the
Bimini Islands, Bahamas. University of Miami, Florida, 88 p.

>The central problem is that too few really travel there and
>too many carp on the silly and do not take the meat of the
>matter seriously.  I don't know if this is Atlantis and don't

These are untrue statements indicative of sloppy scholarship.
Carbonate sedimentologists and other geologists have traveled
to the Bimini Islands to study the large slabs of limestone
that people claim are ancient "roads".  They have produced
detailed studies of the Bimini area.  Specific studies are
Ball and Gifford (1980), Gifford (1973), Harrison (1971),
Shinn 1978), and McKusick, and Shinn (1978).  Other
important Bimini studies are Davaud and Strasser (1984),
Strasser and Davaud (1986), and Supko and others (1970).

References cited;
1. Ball, Mahlon M., and Gifford, John A., 1980, Investigation
of submerged beachrock deposits off Bimini, Bahamas. Research
Reports National Geographic Society. vol. 12., p. 21-38.

2. Gifford, John A, 1973, A description of the geology of the
Bimini Islands, Bahamas. University of Miami, Florida, 88 p.

3. McKusick, M., and Shinn, E. A., 1980, Bahamian Atlantis
reconsidered. Nature, vol. 287, no. 5777, pp. 11-12.

4. Harrison, W., 1971, Atlantis undiscovered; Bimini,
Bahamas. Nature. vol. 230, no. 5292, p. 287-289.

5. Davaud, Eric, and Strasser, A., 1984, Progradation,
cimentation, erosion; evolution sedimentaire et diagenetique
recente d'un littoral carbonate (Bimini, Bahamas). [Translated
title: Progradation; cementation, erosion; Recent diagenetic
and sedimentary evolution in a carbonate coastal environment,
Bimini, Bahamas.] Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae. vol. 77, 
no. 3, p. 449-468.

6. Strasser, A., and Davaud, E, 1986, Formation of Holocene
limestone sequences by progradation, cementation, and
erosion; two examples from the Bahamas. Journal of
Sedimentary Petrology. vol. 56. no. 3, p. 422-428.

7. Shin, E. A., 1978, ??, Sea Frontiers. vol. 24, p. 130.

8. Supko, P. R., Marszalek, D. S., and Bock, W. D., 1970,
Sedimentary environments and carbonate rocks of Bimini,
Bahamas. Miami Geological Society Annual Field Trip
Guidebook no. 4, 30 p. Miami geol. Soc., Miami, Florida.

>care.  It is not a natural phenomenon at the Bimini Road.
>Very expert divers who have dove many times there do not
>find it natural.  I have spent hours and days with them

Just being a diver does not give a person the ability to
understand the complex processes that create beachrock and
other carbonate rocks.  Some knowledge of and experience
in studying carbonate rocks (limestones and dolomites) is
needed to interpret what is going on.  As I will go into
detail below, expert carbonate geologists, Gifford (1973),
Ball and Gifford (1980), Sinn (1978), and McKusick and
Shinn (1980) have examined the slabs of limestone and
found overwhelming evidence that the so-called "Bimini
Roads are nothing more than rectangular slabs of beachrock.

.....material omitted

In article ,
(Re: Atlantis-any proof ?) says;
> (Eugene Powell) wrote:
>>I believe a slight correction or amendment to this comment might
>>be that the so-called Bimini road APPEARS to be similar to natural
>>formations that do mimic the rectangular blocks and joints, but I do
>>not think the Nature article PROOVED the Bimini road is a natural
>>formation. However, you have read the article and I have not, so
>>perhaps you could elucidat as to whether McKusick and Shinn
>>DID proove this or not.

>For mercy's sake!  LOOK at the photographs.

The picture which are available at the below web page have
been scanned from figures 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of
the book by Roberto Ferro and Michael Grumley (1970) that
is titled _Atlantis: the Autobiography of a Search_ printed
by Doubleday and Company for those interested in a better
look at them.


With a grant from National Geographic, Ball and Gifford 
(1980) and Gifford (1973), did a detailed study of the 
so-called "Bimini Roads" presuming them to be archaeological 
remains.  For the study of these blocks, they completely 
surveyed the three linear strips of slabs that comprise the 
"Bimini Roads"; completed photomosaics of the features 
composed of a linear concentration of slabs; described 
the orientation and physical characteristics of slabs; 
surveyed in the position of the strips of slabs in relation to
benchmarks on North Bimini; obtained core samples from
individual slabs within the "Bimini Roads"; prepared
petrographic thin sections from the cores and other samples
from individual slabs; and dated samples from the slabs by
radiocarbon and uranium-thorium methods.

They observed that these linear features lay roughly parallel
to the modern shore and no discernible destination at their

Field Investigations

The observations made by Ball and Gifford (1980) are;

"1. The three features are unconnected at the southwest end;
scattered blocks are present there but do not form a
well-defined linear feature connecting the seaward, middle,
and shoreward features.

2. No evidence exists anywhere over the three features of
two courses of blocks, or even a single block set squarely
atop another.

3. Not enough blocks lie in the vicinity of the three features
to have formed a now-destroyed second course of blocks.

4. Bedrock closely underlies the entire area of the three
features eliminating the possibility of excavations or
channels between them.

5. Indications are that the blocks of the inner and middle
features have always rested on a layer of loose sand.  No
evidence was found of the blocks being cut into or founded
on the underlying bedrock surface.

6. In areas of the seaward feature where blocks rest directly
on the bedrock surface, no evidence was found of regular
or symmetrical supports beneath any of the blocks.

7. We saw no evidence on any of the blocks of regular or
repeated patterns of grooves or depressions that might be
interpreted as tool marks.

8. The inner and middle features are continuous only over
a distance of about 50 meters. Though the seaward feature
extends several hundred meters farther to the northeast, it
too is not well founded or continuous enough to have served
as some kind of thoroughfare.  In fact, the only attributes
of the three linear features that suggest a human origin are
the regular shapes of some of the blocks. These are also
attributes of natural beachrock deposits."

Laboratory Analysis

Their laboratory analysis found overwhelming evidence that
the slabs that composed the three linear features studied
above consist of natural beachrock of local origin.  First,
the shells and other grains that compose the slabs are
identical to the grains in the loose sediment underlying
the slabs.  Second, the carbonate cements are typical of
cements found in modern beachrock.  Third, oxygen and
carbon isotope composition of the cements that form the
beachrock are consistent with the composition of modern
beachrock cements. Finally, the radiocarbon dates obtained
from the slabs of beachrock ranged in age from  about 2300
to 3200 B.P. for the shoreward line of beachrock and a
single date of about 6800 B.P. for the seaward
line of beachrock (Gifford 1973; Ball and Gifford 1980).

McKusick and Shinn (1980) obtained some oriented cores
from one of the linear features.  X-radiographs of 17
oriented cores showed that the slope, particle size, dip
direction, of the bedding is consistent from one block to
another within two areas studied.  If the blocks had been
quarried from one place and laid out as a road, the original
stratigraphy of the beachrock would not have been preserved.
Clearly, these slabs represent beachrock that developed in
situ along three shorelines.  They also dated 7 samples
from the slabs and obtained dates ranging from about 2750
to 3500 B.P. (Shinn 1978; McKusick and Shinn 1980).


The results of the studies by Gifford (1973), Ball and
Gifford (1980), McKusick and Shinn (1980) clearly
demonstrated that so-called "Bimini Roads" are not man-made
features.  Rather, they represent beachrock that formed along
the shore of North Bimini Island at three different shoreline
during the Holocene when sea level was lower than present.
Also, the photomosaics demonstrate that the lines of slabs
are not well founded or continuous enough to have served as
any kind of road.

>There are clearly shown dressed stone columns in 30 feet of water.
> I can't remember the magazine, but somewhere I saw an article on
>a piece of carved sculpture that was brought up from this site.  The
>figure was reportedly of some abstract feline form, and was a
>"cornerstone" of some sort.

At this time, you have failed to post any evidence that
shows that your "feline form" is in any way related to the
limestone slabs which you claim to be the "Bimini Road".
Therefore, it is discussed in a separate post with the "stone

>Whether or not this is a fragment of something called Atlantis,
>those stone "formations" are OBVIOUSLY artificial, even with
>ages of ocean slime on them.  They are not natural, as anyone

The only characteristic of these stone slabs suggestive of
human manufacture is their rectangular shape.  If a person
take the time and trouble to study the available literature,
that person would find that there are several places where
rectangular slabs of beachrock are associated with carbonate
beaches.  In fact, rectangular-jointed beachrock that time
will become rectangular slabs of beachrock occurs on the
west shore of South Bimini Island.

Places where observed (reference)

1. Puerto Rica (Kye 1959)
2. Barbados (McLean 1964)
3. west shore of South Bimini (Ball and Gifford 1980)
4. Joulter Cays, Bahamas (Strasser and Davaud 1986:Figure 6a)
5. Heron Island, Australia (McKusick and Shinn (1980).
6. eastern Australia (Randi 1981).

Given the numerous locations at which the formation of
rectangular blocks is occurring, the rectangular shape of
the slabs of beach rock found off of Bimini Island cannot
be used as evidence for their human manufacture.
Therefore, there is a complete lack of evidence for any
human modification of these slabs.

References cited;
Ball and Gifford (1980) - see above for citations.

Kye, Charles A, 1959, Shoreline features and Quaternary
shoreline changes, Puerto Rico. U. S. Geological Survey
Professional Paper no. 317-B, pp. 49-140.

McLean, Roger F., 1964, A regional study of the
distribution, forms, processes, and rates of mechanical and
biological erosion of a carbonate clastic rock in the littoral
zone. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, McGill University.

McKusick and Shinn (1980) - see above citations

Randi, J., 1981, Atlantean Road: the Bimini beach-rock.
Skeptical Inquirer, vol. 5, n0. 3, pp. 42-43.

Strasser and Davaud (1986) - see above citations

>ages of ocean slime on them.  They are not natural, as anyone
>with enough gumption to actually look at the photographs before
>arguing against them would plainly see.  All this knee-jerk "there

Ball and Gifford (1980) and Gifford (1973) had the "gumption"
to out and look at these beachrock slabs in person.  As previously
noted, they were extremely unimpressed with the hypothesis that
they were artificially made.  As describe above they, found
overwhelming evidence that these were indeed natural slabs of
beachrock lacking any human modification.

>was no Atlantis" is pure parrot party line.  Even if it was there in
>pristine condition, I bet the majority of historians would say it
>was a Disney invention, rather than have to face the possibility there
>might be something about history they didn't know--and didn't have
>the mettle to admit their ignorance.

This is all malarkey and hot air.  There are numerous archaeologists
that would sell their grandmother for evidence that Atlantis actually
existed and lust for the publications and grant money that such a
discovery would bring.  Archaeologists are all too aware of what
they do not know.  However, theories and speculation is cheap, it
is being able to prove a theory that makes a true scientist.

Back to article ,
in which says;
>Something artificial is sitting on the ocean floor off Bimini,
>very much like old Port O Prince came to be in historical times,
>and the pedagogs have not a single word to account for it
>--except DENIAL.

I my opinion, the real people who are in denial are the people
who keep insisting that what they call the _Bimini Roads_ are
actual artificial structures. As above publications document,
there is an absolute lack of any evidence that they are roads or
any other man-made structures.

However, if people want to waste their lives chasing a ghost,
it is not my problem.  However, they should not be claiming that
features are man-made structure without presenting some evidence
that they are artificial structures.  Also, they have to refute the
work done by Ball (1980), Gifford (1973), and McKusick and
Shinn (1980) that provide direct evidence that these "roads" are
something more than natural beds of beachrock for specific reasons.
Simply dismissing this research as the work of bigoted and biased
archaeologists is insufficient reason to dismiss to hard work and
detailed research that clearly proves that the so-called Bimini Roads
are nothing more than Holocene beachrock formations.

Sincerely Yours;
Darby South
Baton Rouge, LA

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