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Sunday October 3 1999
2:11 AM ET

Briton Finds Atlantis In Bolivia

By Carlos Quiroga

LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - The legendary lost continent of Atlantis, which was thought to be buried in a torrent of water, may sit 12,000 feet above sea level in Bolivia, a British explorer said Friday.

``It is time to officially declare to Bolivia and the world that Bolivia is where the legendary city most probably existed out of any other possible site in the world,'' Jim Allen told a press conference.

Allen, a former Royal Air Force photographic interpreter and author of ``Atlantis: the Andes Solution,'' has devoted the last 20 years of his life to prove his theory.

Allen believes that Quillacas, a town of 1,000 people located 187 miles south of capital city La Paz, was the center of the lost continent.

The town is in a volcanic area and its buildings are constructed with red and black rock in line with the description of Atlantis penned by the Greek philosopher Plato in the fourth century B.C., Allen said.

The Bolivian altiplano -- flooded by heavy rains tens of thousands of years ago -- has at least 50 characteristics that coincide with Plato's tale, Allen said. Perhaps the most important is the remains of an enormous channel 600 feet wide that matches Plato's description of Atlantis' irrigation canal.

The Greek sage also said the walls of the fabled city were plated in gold, silver, bronze, tin and ``orichalcum,'' a natural alloy of gold and copper found only in the Andes.'' Defenders of Allen's theory note all those metals are found close to Lake Poopo near La Paz.

Plato, who wrote of the demise of the splendid civilization, depicted Atlantis as a series of islands, with one dwarfing the others in size.

``The whole region rose sheer out of the sea to a great height, but the part about the city was all smooth plain, enclosing it round about and being itself encircled by mountains that stretched as far as the sea,'' the philosopher wrote.

Bolivian congressman Jose Luis Paredes and geologist Carlos Aliaga hailed Allen's announcement as ``transcending international borders''.

The altiplano takes up 10 percent of Bolivia and is the largest plain in the world. It is flanked by the Andes mountains, which to the west extends almost to the Pacific Ocean.

The plateau was flooded periodically by heavy rains and covered by an inland sea between 25,000 and 40,000 years ago. The receding waters left behind two enormous lakes, Poopo and Titicaca.

``South Americans shouldn't call themselves South Americans, but rather Atlantians,'' Allen said.


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