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Bouvet Island is one of the most remote islands in the world; Antarctica, over 1,600 km (1,000 mi) to the south, is the nearest land mass. Located near the junction of three tectonic plates, the island is mostly formed from a shield volcano that is almost entirely covered by glaciers. The prominent Kapp (Cape) Valdivia on the northern coastline is a peninsula formed by a lava dome. It is only along the steep cliffs of the coastline that the underlying dark volcanic rock is visible against the white snow and ice blanketing the island. Photo courtesy of NASA.
Aerial photo of glacier-blanketed Bouvet Island. Image courtesy of NASA.
There is perhaps no better place to get away from it all than Norway’s Bouvet Island. Located in the South Atlantic Ocean between Africa, South America, and Antarctica, this uninhabited, 49-square-kilometer shield volcano is one of the most remote islands in the world. The nearest large land mass is the Princess Astrid Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica—1,700 kilometers to the south. The nearest inhabited place is Tristan da Cunha, a remote island 2,260 kilometers to the northwest that is home to a few hundred people. On 26 May 2013, the Landsat 8 satellite acquired this natural-color image of Bouvet Island. Thick ice covers more than 90 percent of the island year round. Christensen glacier drains the north side; Posadowsky glacier drains the south side. A ring of volcanic black sand beaches encircles most of the island. In many areas, the thick layer of ice stops abruptly at the island’s edge, forming steep ice cliffs that plunge to the beaches and oceans below. Photo courtesy of NASA.