Science

Denmark grows after world's northernmost island discovered off Greenland

Denmark grows after world's no...
The newly discovered unnamed island is located off the northern coast of Greenland
The newly discovered unnamed island is located off the northern coast of Greenland
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The newly discovered unnamed island is located off the northern coast of Greenland
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The newly discovered unnamed island is located off the northern coast of Greenland

The Kingdom of Denmark just got a teeny bit bigger after researchers from the University of Copenhagen accidentally discovered the world's northernmost island. Measuring only 30 x 60 m (100 x 200 ft), the still unnamed isle is located 780 m (2,560 ft) from the island of Oodaaq, which is a gravel spit off the coast of the Danish territory of Greenland.

According to the University, the island in the area of Cape Morris Jesup was visited by a team of scientists in July 2021. Having seemingly confirmed their location by GPS, the researchers collected samples from what they thought was Oodaaq, but when expedition leader Morten Rasch from the Department of Geosciences and Nature Management at Copenhagen University posted images on social media along with their coordinates, American island-hunting hobbyists sent excited replies that it couldn't be Oodaaq.

After contacting an expert at the Technical University of Denmark, the team discovered there had been an error in the GPS readings, which can happen in high latitudes, and that the GPS in their helicopter confirmed that their actual position had been on a hitherto undiscovered island north of the formerly most northerly Oodaaq.

Standing only about 4 m (13 ft) above sea level, the new island is probably of recent origin and will only survive for a brief time. It's made out of small mounds of silt and gravel mixed with mud and moraine from the seabed that may have been pushed together by a major storm until it stuck out of the water. This means it could vanish when another big storm passes by.

That may be bad news for Denmark as it sees its territory shrink, but it's good news for Atlas publishers those who can't afford to buy maps of Greenland.

Source: University of Copenhagen

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