A group of researchers who went to take samples off the coast of Greenland in July found themselves on a tiny, uninhabited and previously unknown island. Measuring 60 Ã 30 meters and culminating at three meters above sea level, it has now become the new northernmost territory on Earth. Before that, Oodaaq was marked as the northernmost terrain on Earth.
Serendipity for scientists
“It was not our intention to discover an island,” said Morten Rasch, polar explorer and director of the Arctic Station research center in Greenland. Reuters. The group was traveling by helicopter to Oodaaq.
âWe were happy to have found what we thought was Oodaaq Island. But, like explorers of the past who thought they had landed in a certain place, we found a totally different place, âsaid Swiss entrepreneur Christiane Leister of the Leister Foundation who funded the expedition. As it turned out, the scientists were actually 780 meters northwest of Oodaaq – and on a hitherto undocumented island.
Over the decades, many expeditions have searched for the world’s northernmost island. An island was discovered nearby in 2007 by Arctic veteran Dennis Schmitt.
The new island is made up of mud and seabed moraine, that is, soil, rocks and other material left by moving glaciers, and has no vegetation. “It meets the criteria of an island,” explains Rene Forsberg, professor and head of geodynamics at the Danish National Space Institute.
The group suggested that the find be named âQeqertaq Avannarleqâ, which in Greenlandic means âthe northernmost islandâ. According to Reuters, the discovery comes as a battle looms between the Arctic countries, the United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark and Norway for control of the North Pole and the surrounding seabed, the rights of fishing and shipping routes exposed to melting ice due to climate change.
Danish government adviser Forsberg said the new island would not change Denmark’s land claim to northern Greenland.
Climate change in Greenland
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