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Deriv; Google Earth Saint Croix Basin, Artist’s concept of Underwater Ruins. Image of fish. Source:  (Anthony Jauneaud/flickr, (Saramarielin/flickr)

The Saint Croix Basin, an Irrigation Marvel for a Forgotten Civilization?


In my previous two-part article titled "The Exceptional Cuban Underwater City," I argued that the existence of a city at a depth of over 2,000 feet (609 m) below sea level off the coast of Cuba could be explained by the Caribbean Basin having been dry and habitable when the city was built.

Toward the end of the second part of the article, I suggested that the Taino flood myth describing "how the sea was created" was referring to not the creation of the world's oceans, but the Caribbean Sea in particular, and the land Zuania that the storytellers said was flooded, was not South America but was instead the Caribbean Basin.

My theory posited that the Saint Croix Basin had plausibly been dry during the existence of behaviorally modern man—an intriguing possibility that could not be ruled out. In this article, I will attempt to provide hard evidence to demonstrate it. 

The First Steps Towards Discovery

In the early 17th century, the first telescopes were invented. Like many useful inventions, they were initially regarded as either mere toys or novelties. Later on, the militaries of the time realized that the telescope could be used to detect the coming of ships over the horizon before they could be noticed by the naked eye. But it was not until Galileo Galilei pointed this new invention at the heavens above that the telescope was actually used for what we today most associate it with—observational astronomy.

Portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1636 (Public Domain)

Portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1636 (Public Domain)

Though in the long run the new findings that the telescope unveiled came to revolutionize astronomy, awakening it from its Ptolemaic slumber, the astronomers and scholars contemporary with Galileo viewed his discoveries with a hard-headed skepticism at best and hostility at worst. Most surprisingly, some scholars of his day rejected his conclusions not by arguing that Galileo's interpretations of the evidence he had collected were faulty, but rather that the images formed by the telescopes he used were themselves flawed. In other words, the craters on the moon and the blemishes on the sun that he observed were not really there, but were image artifacts produced by the telescope itself.

Telescopes from the Museo Galileo. (Bruce Stokes/flickr)

Telescopes from the Museo Galileo. (Bruce Stokes/flickr)

Over time, such views were discarded as the telescope repeatedly demonstrated its capacity to generate accurate images, and both the scientific community and the average person take for granted that when one peers into the eyepiece of a telescope, “what you see is what you get.” Perhaps our faith in this instrument has gone too far in the opposite extreme, for it is commonplace for scientists to speculate on such profound questions as the creation and ultimate fate of our universe using only the images that appear on an instrument even though the objects that are being viewed appear as they did eons ago and can never be inspected up close due to their distance. 

Advancing Technology Unveils Mysteries

It is a common aphorism that we know less about the seafloor than the surface of the moon, and even the other planets in our solar system for that matter. As recently as a decade ago, detailed seafloor maps were expensive and time-consuming to access for the average person. Worse yet, even though the information was there, it was difficult to interpret, as the information was represented in the form of two-dimensional contour maps, whereas we naturally perceive the world through three dimensions. So an interesting feature that was found on the seafloor would only appear as a rather unusual arrangement of contour lines on a map, and such an arrangement could easily be overlooked even by the trained observer let alone an average person.

However, one may fairly say that all of this has changed with Google Earth. Using Google Earth (a virtual globe, map, and geographical information program), anyone with an internet connection and a computer can view the surface of the Earth's land and sea like never before. This is not to say that Google Earth is an infallible instrument, as every instrument has its flaws; for instance, the refracting telescopes used by Galileo to study the heavens law produce a distortion called ‘chromatic aberration’, which is caused by the different wavelengths that make up light being refracted by different angles. In this article, I will assume that the objects and features displayed by the images generated by Google Earth of the earth's seafloor accurately represent them, much as the craters of the moon and the sunspots on the sun, as those seen with Galileo's telescope were actually there. 

The Saint Croix Basin

The Saint Croix Basin is an underwater basin that lies between the Virgin Islands and Anguilla. It has an area of approximately 200 square miles (518 sq. km) and has a bowl-like shape. Viewed from above, it seems rather unexceptional. However, when it is viewed at an angle from the south at an eye level of about a mile below sea level, the discerning observer will notice that the western boundary of this basin is not an uneven slope as would be expected, but a steep, almost vertical cliff that is over a mile high!

Google Earth image of the Saint Croix Basin (Courtesy Brad Yoon)

Google Earth image of the Saint Croix Basin (Courtesy Brad Yoon)

This feature, which is not named and is not discussed in any peer-reviewed articles as far as I know, has seemingly escaped the notice of mainstream academics altogether. If it really exists as it appears, could it have been fashioned solely by the workings of natural processes? It seems impossible. Indeed, if such a formation existed on dry land where anyone could see it with his or her own eyes, no reasonable person would suggest that it could have been made by natural processes. But if we are to admit that the feature is man-made, we would have to accept two rather startling conclusions, the first being that the Caribbean Basin must have been dry and habitable for some interval during which behaviorally modern man existed, and secondly, and perhaps more shockingly, that a spectacularly advanced civilization must have made this vast basin its home.

Map of the Caribbean Sea and Basin (Public Domain)

Map of the Caribbean Sea and Basin (Public Domain)

The first conclusion is self-evident, as the  top of the cliff is found at a depth exceeding a mile (1.6 km) and the bottom at almost 2 miles (3.2 km); if the Caribbean Sea existed when the cliff was formed, it would have had to have been built underwater, which is clearly impossible. The second conclusion is also impossible to deny, as only a civilization as advanced as ours, in certain respects, could have even contemplated the Herculean endeavor of constructing this mile-high wall. 

Looking at the cliff from an appropriate vantage point, the first impression that one gets of this monumental edifice is a sense of awe. Standing a mile high and towering above the St. Croix Basin, it would have dominated the landscape of the area to a profound degree and impressed its visage onto any who lived within the region.

But the cliff is more than just awe-inspiring. To me, at least, it is strikingly beautiful. Aligned almost perfectly north-south, and the face of the cliff facing east, the rays of the rising sun would have impinged upon the almost perfectly smooth face and showered its reflected rays onto the onlooker, with the variations in colors in the rock being revealed in their full majesty. On nights where the moon was full, the face of the cliff would have shimmered with the ghostly glow of the reflected moonlight. All in all, the cliff was a work of art meant to inspire beauty and awe. But it must have been more than that, for no civilization would have undertaken such a massive effort to create something that had only aesthetic value. It must have had a practical function that was essential to that civilization's most basic needs.

Google Earth image of the Saint Croix Basin’s sheer wall. (Courtesy Brad Yoon)

Google Earth image of the Saint Croix Basin’s sheer wall. (Courtesy Brad Yoon)

Recalling that the cliff was not an isolated feature but the western boundary of a basin, namely the St. Croix Basin, and knowing that water is a necessity for every civilization however advanced, my guess is that the basin functioned as a reservoir. If it was indeed a reservoir, to what use would the water stored have been put to? Before I attempt to give an answer to this question, I shall discuss another nearby feature known as the Muertos Trough. 

The Muertos Trough

Viewing the region from a higher altitude, one notices a long channel that runs west-to-east along the northern part of the Venezuelan Basin. This channel has been given a name by geologists: The Muertos Trough.

Google Earth image of The Muertos Trough. (Courtesy Brad Yoon)

Google Earth image of The Muertos Trough. (Courtesy Brad Yoon)

Mainstream geologists believe that this trough is a natural formation, created by tectonic activity. But how reasonable is this interpretation? The Muertos Trough is so perfectly aligned to the cardinal points that whatever deviation there may be is virtually undetectable. If the structure was indeed a natural formation, it would have been an amazing coincidence that it is oriented so closely to the cardinal points, as nature displays no such preference in its creations. Moreover, its depth is neither uniform nor random throughout, but increases linearly as one proceeds southward from its northern delineation from zero to almost two thousand feet. Again, nature shows no bias toward linear relationships. 

We may estimate the total volume of earth that must have been excavated in the part of the trough lying between 67 and 66 degrees W longitude as follows: since the depth of the trough between these longitudes rises linearly from north to south from 0 to about 2,000 feet (609 m) as mentioned above, the average depth of the trough is about 1,000 feet (304 m) between these longitudes; the length and width of the part of the trough lying between these latitudes is 65 miles and 5 miles, (104 km and 8 km) respectively, so its total volume is 1000 ft * (1 mi/5280 ft) * 65 mi * 5 mi ~ 60 cubic miles. And this is just the part of the trough lying between these longitudes!

For comparison, 268 million cubic yards, or roughly 0.05 cubic miles of earth were excavated in the construction of the Panama Canal, one of the greatest engineering feats of the modern age, yet the amount of earth excavated in constructing the Muertos Trough, if it were manmade, would have been over 1,000 times greater! Given that the creation of the Panama Canal required industrial-level technology, including steam shovels, one may readily infer that the creation of the Muertos Trough, a task exceeding the former by three orders of magnitude must have involved high technology in some form or another. Certainly, whoever constructed this structure possessed some means of harnessing energy above and beyond raw human or animal power. 

If the Muertos Trough was an artificial structure, what might it have been used for? In my opinion, the trough served as a water source to irrigate the fields of the Venezuelan Plain, which I believe was the primary food-producing land of the unknown civilization that inhabited the area. Only necessity could have justified the exorbitant investment in resources required to construct such a massive structure, and there is nothing that is a greater necessity than food, and the water needed to grow it.   

Google Earth image of The Muertos Trough and Saint Croix Basin. (Courtesy Brad Yoon)

Google Earth image of The Muertos Trough and Saint Croix Basin. (Courtesy Brad Yoon)

How is the Muertos Trough related to the St. Croix Basin? Running eastward for about 175 miles (281 km) starting at the 67 degrees W mark, the Muertos Trough abruptly curves northward and meets the western boundary of the St. Croix Basin, precisely where the aforementioned cliff is situated. I believe that the St. Croix Basin was a reservoir used to keep the water level of the Muertos Trough constant over the course of a growing season; as the water in the Muertos Trough was used up to irrigate the Venezuelan Plain, the water from the St. Croix Basin would be released into the Muertos Trough as needed. 

Reconstructed image of ruins from the sonar scan of the sea floor off the coast of Cuba.

Reconstructed image of ruins from the sonar scan of the sea floor off the coast of Cuba.

All of this speculation could be entirely baseless. The Muertos Trough may indeed simply be a natural formation, and the mile-high cliff forming the western boundary of the St. Croix Basin may simply be an image artifact. The Caribbean Sea could have existed in its present form for millions of years and throughout the entire existence of Homo sapiens, as all experts insist. But if we take what Google Earth reveals to us at face value, just as the early pioneers in observational astronomy did when they first pointed the telescope at the skies above, an alternative interpretation emerges out of the mysterious depths of the sea: that once upon a time, when we thought man was living in caves and wandering the earth in search of his next meal, a great civilization, almost godlike in the scale of its achievements, all but forgotten save in our most sacred myths, ruled the earth. 

Top image: Deriv; Google Earth Saint Croix Basin, Artist’s concept of Underwater Ruins. Image of fish. Source:  (Anthony Jauneaud/flickr, (Saramarielin/flickr)

By Brad Yoon



Pete Wagner's picture

Coming out of the glacial maximum period of the Ice Age, about 15-20k BC, there would have been big ice shelf collapses, particularly around Antarctica.  We also know of the North American glacier lakes, Missoula and Agassiz, both formed by ice dams that later collapsed.  But in general, the Ice Age, from beginning to now (and we’re still coming out of it), could easily create 1000 feet of more differences in sea level over the tens of thousands of years, but mostly (but for the collapses) via gradual change, like say inch or less per year, probably unnoticed until some big problem.

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

LadyGreenEyes's picture

These various underwater ruins and features are utterly fascinating, and show that there knowledge to be had, if only someone spends the time and money to gather it.  The cost is, of course, a huge issue, as underwater exploration is definitely not cheap, nor as safe as much on land.  Still, when we have various places around the world showing that there was technology when they were built that at least matches what e have now, if not exceeding it, the pursuit of such knowledge seems quite important.  One theory, which I don’t mind mentioning at all, is of course a global flood.  Virtually every culture on Earth has legends of this great Flood, which, considering the vast distances between these many peoples, is telling.  Waters came, according to the Biblical account, not only from above but also from below, which would by necessity mean the changing of the surfaces of the Earth.  Submurged cities in some areas could easily be explained by this.  Some areas not submurged also show possible evidence, such as water damage to the Sphynx,  Some geological features are more easily explained by a global flood as well.  Why not these ruins? 


Pete Wagner's picture

Interesting approach.  Too bad Google Earth blacks out the North Pole (or North Hole?).  Any guesses as to why?  What aren't we supposed to see or know about it?

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

Hi Brad, first of all thank you for your articles on this topic, they are really amazing! I have just begun digging into this. The last image in the article, called "Reconstructed image of ruins from the sonar scan of the sea floor off the coast of Cuba" is really captivating, and has been used in many other articles from the time of the original discovery too. Can you tell me more about the origin of this image or point me to where I could dig further myself? Is it also possible to find more information from the researchers themselves - more than just quotes of what they said to journalists at the time? Thank you!

I’m a firm believer that there was a world-wide civilization in our distant past. I see no reason why ruins should not be in the water if sea levels were so low, especially if the Caribbean is as recent as scientists believe.  I think our stories of Atlantis, Lemaria etc. are memories of that civilization


Frequently Asked Questions

The St. Croix basin lies in the Caribbean, between the Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

It has an area of approximately 200 square miles (518 sq. km) and has a bowl-like shape.

The relative speed with which the two plates collide is about one inch per year. South of the two islands, the Caribbean Plate is also dipping shallowly under Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, resulting in the Muertos Trough, translated as the Trough of the Dead.

Brad Yoon's picture

Brad Yoon

Brad Yoon is a software engineer and writer. He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics and a minor in anthropology at UCLA. His jobs include developing software for an electronic medical records startup, a dating app, and... Read More

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