Saturday, 13 June 2009

Bouvetøya: the most remote island on earth

Bouvet Island (Bouvetøya ), an uninhabited and small Norwegian island in the South Atlantic Ocean, is the most remote spot on earth. The nearest land is over 1600 km away to the south, which itself has no fixed population, and is inhabited only with a small Nordic crew to run the all-year research station.

Bouvetøya lies some 1600 km south west of the Cape of Good Hope, on the southern extremity of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at 54°26'S 3°24'E. Bouvet island is volcanic, the center of the island containing the ice-filled crater of an inactive volcano. Most of Bouvetøya is blanketed in a thick ice cap of at least 100 m in thickness , and 93% of its 49 km² area are covered by glaciers which block the south and east coasts.

It has no ports or harbours, only offshore anchorages, and is therefore difficult to approach. Wave action has created a very steep coast. Cliffs as high as 500 m surround the island. Small beaches composed of black volcanic sand or shingle are found on the eastern side of the island. The easiest way to access it is with a helicopter from a ship. So you see, the ideal hiding place ...

A temporary five-man station was established in 1978, but was destroyed by strong winds. Only an automatic weather station continues to operate, now and then visited by a maintenance crew.

Penguins and seals have breeding colonies on Bouvet beaches. Large seabird colonies also frequent the island.

NASA astronaut Charles "Chuck" Brady visited the island in 2000. The best photos of the expedition are here.

Other links: