“It was not our intention to discover a new island,” Arctic research head Morten Rasch explained in a 2021 interview with Reuters. “We just went there to collect samples.”
Some of the best revelations happen by accident, and this arctic island discovery could certainly be counted in that category. Behind this discovery is an epic, modern-day clash for control of the North Pole that is currently being waged at sea. Arctic explorers set their sails, and a race began to claim the rights of newly exposed shipping routes that have arisen as an unexpected byproduct of climate change. Scientists fully expected to land on the island of Oodaaq, which disappeared mysteriously after voyagers uncovered it in the ’70s (via Arctic Thule). Unbeknownst to the research team at the time, the island they actually landed on was even more mystical than the vanishing island of Oodaaq in many ways. This is mainly because nobody knew this island even existed — at least nobody we know of.
The island that bears no name is likely the northernmost island in the world
Polar adventurers and scientists touched down on an island roughly the size of a football field (via Smithsonian Magazine). While it certainly resembled the vanishing island of Oodaaq in its geological features, its coordinates were more than 2,500 feet north of the intended destination. This location was much further north than originally anticipated; something was amiss.
As is becoming increasingly common in modern times, the research team sought advice from hobbyists on social media who suggested this island was a new discovery. According to Live Science, shortly after the online consultation commenced, the research team reached out to experts at the Technical University of Denmark, who confirmed the novice island hunters’ suspicions. Not only is this tiny island poking through the arctic sea newly discovered, but it is indeed the northernmost island on the planet. In fact, its coordinates make it the closest recorded piece of land to the North Pole.
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