ATOW1996

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ATOW1996 Island is located in Arctic
ATOW1996 Island
ATOW1996 Island
Location of ATOW1996 Island

ATOW1996 is one of the northernmost documented points of land on Earth. It is a small island about 10 metres (33 feet) long and one metre high, located several miles north of Cape Morris Jesup in northern Greenland at 83°40′34.8″N 30°38′38.6″W / 83.676333°N 30.644056°W / 83.676333; -30.644056. It was discovered by and named after the (American) Top of the World Expedition of 1996 led by John Jancik and Ken Zerbst.

An island even farther north—at 83°41′06″N 30°45′36″W / 83.68500°N 30.76000°W / 83.68500; -30.76000—was noted in a Twin Otter flyover by the 2001 Return to the Top of the World Expedition (RTOW2001). This expedition also confirmed the continuing existence of the ATOW1996 Island. A stoney spit of land, 10m across and 1m high, several miles north of Cape Morris Jessup in Greenland, it is the most northerly confirmed landmass on earth. Coordinates: 83°40′34.8″N—30°38′38.6″W Notes: For years, Kaffenklubben island, discovered in 1921 by the Danish explorer Lauge Koch was thought to be the northern-most point of land. This changed in 1977 when a Danish expedition discovered Oodaaq island even further north; the American Top of the World Expedition of 1996 was able to locate what they thought was Oodaaq island, but doubts remain because of the inconsistancy between the island they attained, “ATOW1996,” and those recorded by the original discoverers of Oodaaq. The coordinates for ATOW1996 are acutally further north than those for Oodaaq, so it currently holds the record for the most northerly point of land. There is another as-yet unconfirmed bit of land even further north, designated “RTOW2001” located at: 83° 41′06″N—30° 45′36″W; an expedition is planned for 2003 to confirm this possible island’s existence, and to clarify all other outstanding issues.


Another island, called 83-42, was found at 83°42′05.2″N 30°38′49.4″W / 83.701444°N 30.647056°W / 83.701444; -30.647056. It is also a tiny island, measuring about 35 by 15 metres (115 by 49 feet) with a height of 4 metres (13 feet). Whether that islet is permanent has not yet been confirmed.

The Oodaaq Island, at 83°40′N 30°40′W / 83.667°N 30.667°W / 83.667; -30.667Coordinates: 83°40′N 30°40′W / 83.667°N 30.667°W / 83.667; -30.667, is another semi-permanent gravel bank claimed as northernmost.

All of these small islands are not very permanent. Waves and ice shift gravel banks around in these shallow waters; the northernmost permanent land, according to established science, is Kaffeklubben Island, at 83°40′N 29°50′W / 83.667°N 29.833°W / 83.667; -29.833.

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