Coordinates: 88 0 N 140 0 E
Approximate length: 1,240 miles (1,996 km)
Over the centuries explorers from many nations have laid claim to islands, mountains, and swathes of territory of varying sizes; we’ve even witnessed astronauts planting a flag on the moon. But each symbolic gesture leaves less land available, causing countries to squabble over smaller and smaller patches of the planet. Then again, governments can be quite creative. Russia, for example, recently dispatched a submarine to the Arctic Ocean to leave a titanium version of their flag on the steep-sided Lomonosov Ridge. Extending from the New Siberian Islands to the edge of Greenland and Ellesmere Island, this undersea mountain chain sits atop a potential goldmine of gas and oil reserves. For this reason, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Russia, and the U. S. are all conducting geological surveys in an attempt to prove ownership of the ocean floor at the top of the world.
Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.