Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mu (lost continent)
The idea of this continent first appeared in the works of the antiquarian Augustus Le Plongeon (1826–1908), a 19th century traveler and writer who conducted his own investigations of the Maya ruins in Yucatán. He announced that he had translated the ancient Mayan writings, which supposedly showed that the Maya of Yucatán were older than the later civilizations of Atlantis and Egypt, and additionally told the story of an even older continent of Mu, which had foundered in a similar fashion to Atlantis, with the survivors founding the Maya civilisation. (Later students of the Ancient Maya writings argue that Le Plongeon's "translations" were based on little more than his vivid imagination.)
This lost continent was later popularised by James Churchward (1852–1936) in a series of books, beginning with Lost Continent of Mu (1931, not 1926). The books still have devotees, but they are not considered serious archaeology, and nowadays are found in bookshops classed under 'New Age' or 'Religion and Spirituality'.
Mu has been used in fiction many times since. "Moo" was also the prehistoric kingdom where Alley Oop lived, and its rival nation "Lem" parallels Lemuria. Mu is identified with Lemuria in the Illuminatus! trilogy of Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. This mythos was later adopted by the British Discordian techno band The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, later known as The KLF, by the punk rock band Mu Empire and the electronic music label Planet Mu. It is featured in the eponymous Corto Maltese graphical novel, and in The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Tao is a decendant of the Empire of Mu. Mu is also primarily featured in the Toho film Atragon, in which the civilization goes to war with the modern world but is thwarted by a massive flying submarine. The continent of Mu appears in the SNES games Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, while the Mu empire is also featured as an aztec-like land where Astro Boy confronts Sharaku Hosuke in the Game Boy Advance game .
Geologists maintain that we may be quite certain that no such Pacific continent existed. Continental masses are composed of the lighter "sial" (silicon/aluminum) type rocks which literally float on the heavier "sima" (silicon/magnesium) rocks which constitute ocean bottoms. The Pacific basin is noticeably lacking in sial rock. (See plate tectonics)
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