Antarctica: 428ft 'ice ship' spotted on Google Earth
Google Maps and its many functions can highlight an intriguing wealth of locations all over the world. One spot has sparked much mystery over the years. Jeanette Island lies off the northern coast of Russia in the East Siberian Sea.
However, Google Earth users are unable to actually see the island at all.
If one zooms in, instead of a landmass, all one sees is a black smudge.
What is this mysterious place?
The uninhabited island itself has a very interesting history which goes some way to explaining its current hidden status.
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Jeanette Island measures just 1.2 miles in length.
It is mainly covered in ice and has a 1,152-foot peak in the centre.
The island was discovered back in 1881 in an expedition led by American Navy officer and explorer George E. De Long.
The adventurer had set off intending to discover open seas in the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole.
The 1881 expedition was officially called the U.S. Arctic Expedition but it became known as the Jeannette Expedition after their ship, the USS Jeannette.
However, it was not an easy voyage.
The vessel became trapped in an ice pack near Herald Island in September 1879.
It drifted with the ice for several hundreds of miles, approaching Jeanette island in May 1881.
The party were able to disembark at the island and took possession of it in the name of the United States, according to The Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, for the Year 1882.
However, several years later, neighbouring Russia decided otherwise.
Following the Imperial Russian Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition of 1910–1915, the Russian ambassador in London announced that Jeanette island, along with other Arctic islands, were part of the Russian Empire.
The Soviet Union later maintained its territorial claim.
Administratively it now belongs to the Sakha Republic of the Russian Federation.
What’s more, the US never followed up the claim made by De Long and today recognises it as Russian territory, although some American individuals assert US ownership of on the rocky outcrop.
One theory to explain why the island is blurred out on Google Maps is because of the problem as to which country it could belong.
Some people have proffered conspiracy theories over the years, one being there’s a Russian military base of Jeanette Island, but there’s no evidence to back such conjectures.
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