The Mysterious Disappearance of Jeannette Island (on Google Maps)

By Narine Khachatryan

If you are browsing around Google Maps and, for some reason, looking at islands in the East Siberian Sea, you will come across something peculiar — a nightmarish black blob covering up what should be a landmass named Jeannette Island.

This island, in reality, is quite small, at only three square kilometers, and part of the De Long Island archipelago in the East Siberian Sea. The uninhabited island was not discovered until the late 19th century during the Jeannette Expedition, which tried, unsuccessfully, to reach the North Pole through the Bering Strait. Though the history of Jeannette Island is as brief as it is uninteresting, the peculiar way that Google Maps renders it has led to a plethora of conspiracy theories, ranging from the involvement of aliens to secret deals from President Obama.

Missing and incomplete data on mapping services is not an uncommon occurrence, of course. In some cases, areas are censored or obscured on satellite imagery intentionally; there is a fascinating Wikipedia article listing a number of locations with intentionally or unintentionally censored or blurred locations. The reasons for obscuring some of these iare self-evident — they’re nuclear power plants, prisons, etc. — while other decisions to obscure maps are political (all of Israel and Palestine, thanks to U.S. legislation).

There are, hence, a few questions worth asking with regard to Jeannette’s “disappearance”: Was the blacking out of the island intentional, or is it some sort of glitch? What can we find out about this island online, both from reliable sources and, to put it mildly, unreliable ones?

Aliens? A Military Base? Secret Intelligence Facilities?

One of the first things that may catch your eye when researching the island is the low rating it has on Google: Did people actually visit this uninhabited island and, for some reason, were unsatisfied …read more

From:: Bellingcat

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