Bouvet Island, South Atlantic Ocean
Astronaut photograph ISS017-E-16161 was acquired on September 13, 2008. with a Nikon D2Xs digital camera fitted with an 800 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 17 crew. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by William L. Stefanov, NASA-JSC.
Bouvet Island (in Norwegian, Bouvetøya) is known as the most remote island in the world; Antarctica, over 1600 kilometers (994 miles) to the south, is the nearest land mass. Located near the junction between the South American, African, and Antarctic tectonic plates, the island is mostly formed from a shield volcano—a broad, gently sloping cone formed by thin, fluid lavas—that is almost entirely covered by glaciers. The prominent Kapp (Cape) Valdivia on the northern coastline is a peninsula formed by a lava dome, a volcanic feature built by viscous lavas with a high silica content. It is only along the steep cliffs of the coastline that the underlaying dark volcanic rock is visible against the white snow and ice blanketing the island.
Bouvet Island was discovered by the French Captain Lozier-Bouvet in 1739, and was subsequently visited by representatives of different nations several times during the nineteenth century. The island was annexed by the Kingdom of Norway in 1927 following a Norwegian expedition’s stay on the island. Bouvet is uninhabited, and its extremely harsh environment precludes anything but short-duration stays. Nevertheless, the island supports some flora (such as lichens) and fauna (seabirds and seals). Abundant sea ice surrounds the island in this astronaut photograph.
This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.