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Explorers amazed to discover new ‘northernmost island on the planet’

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A group of scientists have stumbled upon a previously undiscovered tiny island in northern Greenland made up of mounds of silt and gravel.

The researchers thought they had travelled to the island of Oodaaq which was believed to be the northernmost island in Greenland – but they were actually standing an unknown piece of land that was even further north.

This means that the newly discovered island is likely the closest piece of land to the North Pole.

"We were convinced that we were standing on Oodaaq Island, which until then had been registered as the world's northernmost island," expedition leader Morten Rasch said in a statement.

"But when I posted photos and the island's coordinates on social media, a number of American island hunters went crazy and said that it couldn't be true."

The social media comments sparked curiosity from the group and led them to contact an expert at the Technical University of Denmark, who told them that Rasch's GPS had made a mistake, Live Science reports.

Using the GPS on their helicopter, Rasch's group was able to confirm that they were on a new island, which they claim is now the northernmost island on the planet.

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The island is around 2,560 feet (780 meters) north of Oodaaq and only 98 feet (30 m) wide and 197 feet (60 m) long, or smaller than an American football field, according to the statement.

It stands 10 to 13 feet (3 to 4 m) above sea level, and is made up of small mounds of seabed mud and moraine, or soil and rock left behind by glaciers, Rasch said.

The small island, which is technically an expansion of the territory of Greenland, is believed to have been formed by a powerful storm that pushed the different materials from the seabed together, according to the statement.

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But the scientists believe the island could disappear soon, which would categorise it as a short-lived islet, according to the statement.

"No one knows how long it will remain. In principle, it could vanish as soon as a powerful new storm hits," Rasch said.

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