Scientists discover world's northernmost island off the coast of Greenland – but it might not stay on maps for long

THE MOST northern island in the world has been discovered by accident, according to stunned scientists.

The island was spotted off the coast of Greenland when researchers were collecting samples in the area.

Shifting ice revealed the small patch of rocky land.

It's around 30 metres across and three metres high at its tallest point.

The island is thought to be made up of seabed mud and soil and rock that's been left by moving glaciers.

Scientists from the Arctic Station research facility in Greenland stepped foot on the tiny island last month.

Head of the station, Morten Rasch, told Reuters: "It was not our intention to discover a new island.

"We just went there to collect samples."

The researchers originally thought they'd reached Oodaaq, an island found by a Danish survey team in 1978.

However, they later checked their exact location and realised they were 780 metres northwest of that island.

Christiane Leister, creator of the Leister Foundation that provided money for the expedition, told Reuters: "It's a bit like explorers in the past, who thought they'd landed in a certain place but actually found a totally different place."

The research team also said they'd like the island to be called "Qeqertaq Avannarleq", which means "the northernmost island" in Greenlandic.

They don't think it appeared due to global warming despite mass melting in the region.

Arctic states like Greenland, Canada, the US, Russia are said to be in dispute over who will control new shipping routes and fishing zones now that melting ice has revealed new areas.

Although the piece of land currently meets the criteria of an island, meaning it stays above water at high tide, it could disappear underwater in the future.

For now, it's thought to be the northernmost island in the world.

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