Scientists say they accidentally discovered the world’s northernmost island off Greenland’s coast

The world’s northernmost island. JULIAN CHARRIERE/Reuters

  • A group of six scientists accidentally discovered the world’s northernmost island.

  • The Danish and Swiss groups were initially searching for another island off Greenland’s coast.

  • They described the island as “not a very friendly place” when speaking to the BBC.

  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A group of Danish and Swiss scientists accidentally discovered the world’s most northernmost island during an expedition off Greenland’s coast, BBC News and Reuters report.

The group of six scientists, working with the Arctic Station research facility in Greenland, initially thought they had arrived at Oodaaq, an island first discovered by a Danish survey team in 1978. In reality, they were on an undiscovered island 780 meters northwest of Oodaaq, according to Reuters.

“It was not our intention to discover a new island,” Morten Rasch, polar explorer and head of the Arctic Station research facility, told Reuters. “We just went there to collect samples.”

“Everybody was happy that we found what we thought was Oodaaq island,” Swiss entrepreneur Christiane Leister, creator of the Leister Foundation that financed the expedition, told Reuters. “It’s a bit like explorers in the past, who thought they’d landed in a certain place but actually found a totally different place.”

The tiny island is the closest point of land to the North Pole and measures around 30 meters in width, the group told the BBC.

The group described the island as a “bunch of mud, moraine deposits and gravel surrounded by sea ice on all sides – not a very friendly place,” the BBC reports.

The publication added that the scientists want the island to be named Qeqertaq Avannarleq, which means “the northernmost island” in Greenlandic.

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