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Feb 10 / Dave Schumaker

Using Google Earth to Find Treasure

With the new resurgence of “Where on Google Earth,” I thought this story was apropos.

A man from Los Angeles, California believes that he has found a wrecked Spanish treasure ship from 1822 using Google Earth. The story of the ship and its potential bounty of gold are an interesting story (Link to excerpt on Google Books).

A hurricane forced this particular ship to find shelter. Unfortunately, the barrier islands did little to protect the ship from the force of the hurricane and resulting storm surge. It was allegedly dropped several miles inland and it’s thought the crew was killed by Native Americans. Maybe.

Anyway, that brings us to today.

Mr Smith, a musician from Los Angeles, said he used Google Earth, an internet site normally used by people wanting to find their own rooftop, to zoom in to a spot north of the Aransas Pass.

There, he saw an outline shaped like a shoeprint near an area known as Barkentine Creek, where the vessel was said to have run aground, he said.

After consulting experts and visiting the area with a metal detector, he is convinced he has found the ship, now buried under mud.

However, the ranch’s owners have refused to allow him on to the land and the dispute has gone to federal court in Houston.

Documents and photographs of the area have been sealed by order of the court to hide the exact site. However, Mr Smith told an earlier hearing that it is even possible to make out an X marking the spot, which he believes is part of the ship’s capstan.

Mr. Smith believes that the “treasure” could be worth, get this, 3 billion dollars. Amazing.

Anyway, photos, evidence, and the location are under lock and key thanks to court orders. A secret location? Found with Google Earth? Let’s have a gander!

Based on what I can see, this looks like the most logical spot, and it even looks like a “shoe print.” However, if this “were” a ship, it would be nearly 1,000 feet long! Either I’m wrong on the location, or Mr. Smith needs to learn a thing or two about ships. 1,000 feet is as long as some of the modern day oil tankers or aircraft carriers that are sailing around the ocean! That’s *huge*!

It isn’t unprecedented for people to user Google Earth to make discoveries. See our previous post on asteroid impacts.

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