9. Greenland ice free?

Mercator's map of the arctic appeared first as a vignette in his 1569 world map. An enlarged version was published posthumously by his son in the third and final part of his atlas, the first publication to be so named. The arctic had yet to be explored at the time Mercator created his map and is, therefore, based upon commonly held beliefs about the region55. Could these “beliefs” have been based on earlier, distorted maps of the region? To see if this may have been the case, I first mapped Mercator’s version of the arctic region (Figure 29, left) onto a NASA bathymetry map of the region (Figure 29, centre), and then transposed Mercator’s coastal outlines to coincide with actual coastal outlines (Figure 29, right).

Figure 29. Mapping of Mercator’s North Pole map onto Arctic bathymetry map

Virtually all the medieval maps of the Arctic region depict Greenland as free of ice. In order to see if there might be a correlation between Mercator’s transposed map of Greenland and an ice free Greenland, the latter has to be compared to a bedrock elevation map of Greenland. This is done in Figure 30, which shows an arguably marked correlation between the two maps. If true, it would prove, like the ice free maps of Terra Australis, not only that an ancient, prehistoric map-making civilization once existed, but also that the ice core dating technique is fundamentally flawed, or at least, the interpretation of the ice core data.

Figure 30. Greenland bedrock map 56 compared to transposed Mercator map

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