A mysterious ‘black hole’ on Google Maps has turned out not to be so mysterious after all – and not so black.
it was actually Vostok Island, a 56-hectare uninhabited island owned by the Republic of Kiribati.
In October, Reddit user Kokoblocks first noticed a dark blob in the middle of the Pacific island, far from any major land masses.
“What the hell this does not look like an island,” he wrote with a picture of the hole.
Debate ensued, with some danger that the dark blob was a blurred military base, the ‘Island of the Lost’ or even the Bermuda Triangle – which is actually thousands of miles away.
In the end, it was deduced that the ‘hole’ was actually Vostok, located about 400 miles northwest of Tahiti.
“What you see as black is actually very dark green,” explained a well-known redditor. ‘It’s a very dense forest made up of Pisonia trees.’
The trees, which can grow to almost 100 feet tall, cover parts of the island and grow so densely that it may look like a blanket of flora from above.
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A redditor discovered what appeared to be a black hole in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but actually turned out to be Vostok Island. The dense wooded island simply appeared black on Google Maps
‘My first thought was that it’s censored,’ wrote editor Jazzlike_Log_709. ‘It would not make sense for a natural formation to be black like that on such a shallow, small atoll / island.’
Google Maps often obscures military sites and other classified locations, according to Live Science.
Kiribati, however, does not appear to be hiding an army base or weapons on Vostok that is uninhabited.
Nearly 4,000 miles east of Australia and more than 1,500 miles south of Hawaii, Vostok is part of the Southern Line Islands, which also include Malden, Starbuck, Flint and Caroline.
Nearly 4,000 miles east of Australia, Vostok Island is part of the Southern Line Islands and is considered an animal sanctuary.
Nearly 4,000 miles east of Australia and more than 1,500 miles south of Hawaii, Vostok is part of the Southern Line Islands.
The uninhabited coral island is covered by ‘very dense forest consisting of Pisonia trees’, explained a redditor
Vostok was first discovered in 1820 by Russian explorers, who named it after the ship they sailed aboard.
Although it was claimed by the United States in 1856 for its guano (bat manure used as fertilizer), it was never extracted.
Vostok was first discovered in 1820 by Russian explorers and later claimed by the United States in 1856 for its guano (bat manure used as fertilizer), although it was never mined. After passing to the British, it became part of the newly independent Republic of Kiribati in 1979.
After the United States handed over the island to the British, it became part of the newly independent Kiribati in 1979 and was declared an animal sanctuary.
Marine Conservator Enric Sala led an expedition to the region in 2009 to document water quality, fish stocks and the health and diversity of coral reefs.
The towering Pisonia trees that cover Vostok Island grow so densely that they prevent other vegetation from growing and may look like a dark green carpet from above
Because the Southern Line Islands are among the most isolated atolls on the planet, scientists were able to ‘establish a basic model for healthy coral reefs’, National Geographic reported compared to other reefs degraded by human activity.
This is not the first time Google satellites have captured a strange island.
In February, a Michigan woman shared photos of a rather phallic landmass she had discovered via Google Maps.
Joleen Vultaggio marked the coordinates of the man-shaped island and shared them with the members of a Facebook group dedicated to strange Google Map discoveries.
Joleen Vultaggio looked at the world through Google Maps when she encountered the man-shaped Ouvea island in February
‘I was looking around and it just popped up and I was thinking’ wow, it really looks like a man’s parts, ‘she said.
‘I had to drop the needle on the card right away so people know I was not just putting that image through Photoshop or making it myself. ‘I shared it so people could pull up the coordinates and see with their own eyes that it’s physically there and it really looks like one.’
“I did not go and measure how big it is,” Vultaggio added, “but considering it is in the middle of the ocean, it is quite large.”
In fact, the x-rated discovery was Ouvea (or Uvea) Island, a 30-mile Polynesian landmass that is part of French-owned New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands.