Bouvet Island

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Bouvet Island is the most remote island in the world. The nearest land is Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, over 1,600 km (1,000 miles) away to the south, which is itself uninhabited.

It has no ports or harbours, only offshore anchorages, and is therefore difficult to approach. The waves have created a very steep coast. The easiest way to access the island is with a helicopter from a ship. The glaciers form a thick ice layer falling in high cliffs into the sea or onto the black beaches of volcanic sand. The 29.6 km (18.4 miles) of coastline are often surrounded by an ice pack. The highest point on the island is called Olavtoppen, whose peak is 780 m (2,559 ft) above sea level. A lava shelf on the island's west coast, which appeared between 1955 and 1958, provides a nesting site for birds.

Because of the harsh climate and ice-bound terrain, vegetation is limited to lichens and mosses. Seals, seabirds and penguins are the only fauna.

Geography[edit | edit source]

Located in the South Atlantic Ocean at 54°25.8′S 3°22.8′E. It lies at the southern end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is approximately 2,200 kilometers (1,400 mi) south-southwest off the coast of South Africa and approximately 1,700 kilometers (1,100 mi) north of the Princess Astrid Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. The island has an area of 49 square kilometers (19 sq mi), of which 93 percent is covered by a glacier. The center of the island is an ice-filled crater of an inactive volcano. Some skerries and one smaller island, Larsøya, lie along the coast. Nyrøysa, created by a rock slide in the late 1950s, is the only easy place to land and is the location of a weather station.[1] 

History[edit | edit source]

  • January 1, 1739 discovered by the French Lieutenant Captain Charles Bouvet de Lozier. However the coordinates were not fixed accurately. 
  • 1808 when James Lindsay, a British Whaler found it and named it Lindsay Island. Lindsey was unable to land but he did take the correct bearings.
  • Benjamin Morrell, a seal hunter was the first to claim landing on the island. His claim was disputed.
  • December 10, 1825 Captain George Norris claimed the island for the British Crown naming it Liverpool Island.
  • 1893 Joseph Fuller spotted the island but was unable to land. * 1898 Carl Chun's German expedition dredged the sea for geological sample but were unable to land on the island.
  • 1927 Norvegia's first expedition landed and claimed the island for Norway. * 1928 The Second Norvegia Expedition arrived. * 1930 Declared a Norwegian dependancy.
  • 1954 New lagoon formed by lava flow.
  • 1964 Commander Allan Crawford and his team briefly explored the island.
  • December 17, 1971 the island and its territorial waters were protected as a nature preserve.
  • 1977 An automated weather station was constructed.
  • 1978-1979 A manned weather station operated on the island for a few months.

Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

A Norwegian dependency since 1930 after a dispute with the United Kingdom.

Mystery[edit | edit source]

In 1964, British Lieutenant Commander Allan Crawford and a team were sent by helicopter to Bouvet Island to investigate the area. He and his team discovered a lagoon that was formed by lava flow about 10 years prior to their expedition. Strangely there was an abandoned life boat on that lagoon. A search around the lagoon resulted finding the oars and a copper tank but no trace of persons dead or alive. They could not search the rest of the island due to bad weather. Two years later an expedition followed and the boat, oars and copper tank were not there. The mystery is how did the boat reach the Island. Bouvet is easy to miss in the vastness of the sea, so it is unlikely survivors of a shipwreck landed there. Even if the island was found, it is impossible to sustain life there. No other expedition has claimed the boat, so apparently is what not left by them. There were no identifying marks on the boat either.

Research Tools[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia, Bouvet Island,, updated 18 July 2013.

The Mystery of Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island

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