A number of places on Google Maps have been “obscured” intentionally, with some reasons self-evident, as in the case of air bases or missile silos. Nevertheless, these instances never fail to feed into the frenzy of speculation by users.
The discovery by users that a remote piece of icy landmass belonging to Russia appears to be “censored” on Google Maps has set off a wealth of conspiracy theories.
Jeannette Island, measuring just 1.2 square miles or around three square kilometres in length, is part of the De Long Island archipelago in the East Siberian Sea. It is shown as an ominous black smudge on the digital map tool, according to images provided to Google by The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean.
The IBCAO initiative, set up in 1997, aims to develop a digital data base that contains all available bathymetric data north of 64° North. With the ultimate aim of mapping the global seafloor by 2030, in 2017, IBCAO merged its efforts with the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO-Seabed 2030 Project.
The search giant has not commented on the issue.
However, conspiracy theories have had a field day with the discovery, with suggestions ranging from the black blob possibly concealing a secret Russian military base, radar or naval station to the island being inhabited by aliens.
On Reddit, one user, going by the name of exoplanetaryscience, wrote:
Icy Landmass with Intriguing History
Jeannette Island was discovered in 1881 during an…