The northernmost island in the world has suddenly disappeared, but why?

The northernmost island in the world has suddenly disappeared, but why?

The northernmost island in the world has suddenly disappeared, but why?

Considered the northernmost island in the world,Qeqertaq Avannarleqmeaning “northernmost island”, it has simply disappeared. Scientists questioned the possible reasons for this fainting. Sent this summer to this cold region of the globe in search of answers, they were able to determine the cause of this phenomenon, exposed in The conversation. And their conclusion is ultimately simpler than we would have expected.

The case of the “ghost islands” told in the last century

Since the 1930s, several islands have been sighted and then lost, thus assuming the status of “ghost islands”. This was the case during an expedition launched in the far north in 1931. On board an airship, the experts flew over the Barents Sea with the aim of deepening the existing geographical maps that depict the contours of this relatively deserted and little known space (the part of the Arctic Ocean north of Russia and Norway).

zeppelin
Credits: Alhontess / iStock

Using a wide-angle camera, the science team at the time accurately captured the area. Comparing the old readings and their direct observations, they realized this two islands were missing : Albert Edward Land and Harmsworth Land. Without looking for a specific physical reason for this, they concluded (hastily) that previous cartographers must have succumbed to some hallucination.

The mystery finally revealed

Specialists from Switzerland, Greenland and Denmark therefore met in 2022 a lift the veil on the strange disappearances of these islands. Setting out to probe the northern subpolar lands using state-of-the-art laser equipment, the team then analyzed the ice density and examined the icy waters of the boreal world.

Thanks to their results, they have so put an end to all mystical suppositions should explain this mystery. René Forsberg, researcher at the Department of Space Research and Technology (DTU Space), recounts this discovery in a Danish newspaper. “Our work shows unequivocally that all of these reported “islands” are flat icebergs“.

iceberg
Credits: Neorodan / iStock

These islands are therefore not really in the strict sense of the term. These icebergs,a thickness from 20 to 30 metersthey are formed from ice whose flattened top is covered with earth and rocks torn during their brutal separation from the continents. After years in which they have partially emerged, they end vanish and be swallowed by the waters. These discolorations are therefore quite common phenomena, especially as climate change is plummeting rising global atmospheric and ocean temperatures.

Change of ownership for the record of the northernmost island

It is now the northernmost island in the world 707 km from the North Pole. Baptized Kaffeklubben in 1921, when it was discovered, this uninhabited land is, unlike the “ghost islands”, an emerged area whose foundations rest on a terrestrial crust.

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