Thompson Island (South Atlantic)

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Coordinates: 53°56′S5°30′E / 53.933°S 5.500°E / -53.933; 5.500

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.


1898 German map of Bouvet Island, with Thompson I. Bouvet-Gruppe Karte 1898.jpg
1898 German map of Bouvet Island, with Thompson I.
Atlantic Ocean laea location map.svg
Gold pog.svg
Supposed location of Thompson Island on a map of the Atlantic Ocean.

Thompson Island was a phantom island in the South Atlantic. According to the Global Volcanism Program, it was thought to be about 70 km (43  mi ; 38  nmi ) north-northeast of Bouvet Island, [1] a small Norwegian dependency between South Africa and Antarctica.

Phantom island Island that was believed to exist but later proven to be nonexistent

A phantom island is a purported island which appeared on maps for a period of time during recorded history, but was removed from later maps after it was proven not to exist.

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The island was first reported and named by whaling ship captain George Norris in 1825, supposedly the same day as sighting and landing on Bouvet Island, erroneously thinking the island to be undiscovered and naming it Liverpool Island. The last reported sighting was in 1893. When, however, the German survey ship Valdivia fixed the position of Bouvet in 1898, it then looked for Thompson, but did not find it. If Thompson ever existed, it is probable that it disappeared in a volcanic eruption sometime in the 1890s, [2] though in 1997 it was reported that the sea depth at the supposed location is greater than 2,400 metres (7,900 ft; 1.5 mi), rendering the existence of a submarine volcano all but impossible. [1]

Whaler specialized ship designed for whaling

A whaler or whaling ship is a specialized ship, designed, or adapted, for whaling: the catching or processing of whales. The former includes the whale catcher – a steam or diesel-driven vessel with a harpoon gun mounted at its bow. The latter includes such vessels as the sail or steam-driven whaleship of the 16th to early 20th centuries and the floating factory or factory ship of the modern era. There have also been vessels which combined the two activities, such as the bottlenose whalers of the late 19th and early 20th century, and catcher/factory ships of the modern era.

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Bouvet Island Uninhabited subantarctic volcanic island

Bouvet Island is an uninhabited subantarctic high island and dependency of Norway located in the South Atlantic Ocean at 54°25′S3°22′E, thus locating it north of and outside the Antarctic Treaty System. It lies at the southern end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is the most remote island in the world, approximately 1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi) north of the Princess Astrid Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, 1,160 kilometres (720 mi) east of the South Sandwich Islands and 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) south-southwest of the coast of South Africa.

Thompson Island continued to appear on maps published as late as 1943. [3]

Map A symbolic depiction of relationships between elements of some space

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Geoffrey Ernest Jenkins was a South African journalist, novelist and screenwriter. His wife Eve Palmer, with whom he collaborated on several works, wrote numerous non-fiction works about Southern Africa.

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Saxemberg Island phantom island

Saxemberg was a phantom island believed to have existed in the South Atlantic. It appeared intermittently on charts between the 17th and the 19th centuries.

St. Matthew Island (phantom island)

St Matthew Island is a phantom island once thought to lie roughly one thousand kilometers northeast of Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean. It appeared on navigational charts until as late as the early twentieth century. It was supposedly located at approximately 2°S 8°W, and was alleged to have been discovered by the Portuguese on St. Matthew's Day 1516. It was shown and named on several maps going back to the beginning of the sixteenth century, and it was supposedly visited by García Jofre de Loaísa on 20 October 1525 while on a voyage to the Moluccas. It appeared on early Portuguese charts and world maps, and appears on Ortelius' 1570 map of the African continent Africae Tabula Nova. It thereafter regularly featured on charts and maps, and though it began to disappear from standard charts starting in the early nineteenth century, it was not completely removed from charts until the early twentieth century.


  1. 1 2 "Thompson Island". Global Volcanism Program . Smithsonian Institution.
  2. P.E. Baker (1967). "Historical & Geological Notes on Bouvetoya" (PDF). British Antarctic Survey Bulletin (13): 71–84. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-05-08.
  3. A. R. H. and N. A. M. (1943). "Review: A New Chart of the Antarctic". The Geographical Journal. 102 (1): 29–34. doi:10.2307/1789367. JSTOR   1789367.
  4. Geoffrey Jenkins (1962). A Grue of Ice. Fontana. ISBN   0-00-613269-3.

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