Researchers will today (Friday) officially announce the news of the remarkable discovery of the "missing" Balearic island of Midorca (also known as Medorca). It is an announcement that the worlds of oceanography, geography, marine biology and history have been anticipating with eagerness - the lost island appears to have finally been found.
The researchers, led by Dr. Toni Boja of the University of the Balearic Islands, will be presenting their findings, accompanied by President Armengol and the regional environment minister, Vicenç Vidal. The minister is expected to also announce immediate plans for the drafting of a decree to declare Medorca a marine reserve.
The island, which some have thought was only the stuff of legend, has long been the subject of research. But this has been research, Dr. Boja explains, which has been concentrating on the wrong part of the sea. "The assumption had been that it was somewhere west of Majorca and had been created when a large part of the Alpine region (the Tramuntana) broke away and then eventually disappeared under the Mediterranean."
But it was research work from a totally different source which led the researchers to take soundings and dive some forty kilometres east of Portocristo. As the lead-up to the 700th anniversary of the death of Ramon Llull, scholars at the university had been studying Llull's famous "circle", the device he invented in the thirteenth century to reveal all known "truths". "We'd been looking in the wrong place all that time," admitted Dr. Boja. The university scholars cracked the Llullian code, and it revealed what amounted to a geolocation of the lost island.
It is believed that Llull had himself been alerted to this by Arabic texts that he had been studying, while the search for Medorca was something that had interested the Romans. Pliny The Younger had deduced, by means of logic, that if there was a large and a small island (Majorca and Minorca), there had to also be one that was in-between - medium or middle island. And this is what the researchers now say is there under the sea off Majorca's east coast.
In addition to research funding support from the Spanish government and the European Union, the university's surveys have been assisted by the specialist team from the University of Lleida's Fundació Oceanografia Observatori Lleida.
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