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A Scandinavian Sea Monster Shows Up on Google Earth


The news world was abuzz this weekend with reports of a sea monster sighting on Google Earth. It was showing near Deception Island, south of the Shetlands, in Antarctic waters. Its geographic location ruled out the Loch Ness monster, unless there are submarine passages we do not know of. Yet the name of the island should have given fair warning. Still, the media settled on a kraken, a Scandinavian sea monster. Perhaps inspired by giant squids—that do exist in deep seas—the kraken was believed to have tentacles, although in earlier mentions it more closely resembled a huge crab or a whale. Icelandic sagas referred to them in the 13th century. Carolus Linnaeus mentioned it in his Microcosmus marinus in the first edition of his Systema Naturae in 1735. In later editions he omitted it, but he included it again in a different book years later, calling it “a singular monster,” and clarifying that he had not seen it. Alas, it’s the Sail Rock, a geological formation known to old seafarers. From satellite heights, it may look like a leviathan. Even without rare monsters, the sea is populated with marvelous creatures. Would really a kraken be more of an amazing sight than a blue whale?


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