Scientists discover world's northernmost island off the coast of Greenland 8 months ago

Scientists discover world's northernmost island off the coast of Greenland

The island was discovered by luck.

A group of scientists say they have discovered a tiny island off the coast of Greenland that they believe to be the world's northernmost.


In July, the scientists flew out to what they thought was Oodaaq Island, which has been known about since 1978.

But when they checked their position with the Danish official in charge of registering Arctic islands, they found they were actually 800 metres further north.

The island, which is only 60 metres long and 30 metres across, is now thought to be the closest point of land to the North Pole.


Scientific leader Morten Rasch of the Arctic Station in Greenland, University of Copenhagen, said: "The island was discovered during a Danish-Swiss research expedition, which I was co-ordinating,"

"We wanted among many other things to visit Oodaaq Island, which was previously known as the northernmost island."


Rasch told the BBC that his team "wanted to sample the island to look for new species being adapted to a life in this very extreme environment".

"We were six people in a small helicopter, and when we reached the position of Oodaaq Island, we could not find it."

"So, we just started to search for the island. After a few very exciting minutes, we landed on a strange unvegetated bunch of mud, moraine deposits and gravel surrounded by sea ice on all sides - not a very friendly place.

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"After the expedition and many discussions with specialists on the topic, we have now realised that we by accident actually discovered the world's most northerly island."

He admitted that from a scientific perspective it was "not a big deal," but that it was "somehow funny to be among those six people ever on earth who have had muddy boots at the most northerly point in the world."

The scientists want the piece of land to be called Qeqertaq Avannarleq, which means "the northernmost island" in Greenlandic.