David Attenborough once said, “I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.” Unfortunately, the Earth is not home to many unexplored regions these days. The time of new explorations gets remembered in history books rather than current events. Technological advancements have made this even more true. When Google Earth can make anyone an explorer, nothing much can surprise us. Yet there are still small nooks of the world that haven’t seen many outsiders.
Unlike space, we aren’t expanding, and exploration is far from limitless. While we are in our infancy for space exploration, we are wise elders when it comes to exploring Earth’s outer layer. The glaring features and facts of Earth have for the most part been researched to death. We are more likely to make our discoveries in the deep trenches of the ocean where we have a near endless amount of area to explore. On our surface, Earth still has a few pieces of unexplored land that remain almost untouched to the outside world. Quite a few circumstances have made this so.
Some islands are just too cold for anyone. Even if we could endure the harsh weather, the conditions would make the task almost insurmountable or unable to crack the surface. Other islands are too dangerous to access. If you try to reach the coast, you are more likely to be the latest lost ship at sea than new explorer. You could fly, but even that poses threats. And on at least one island, natives live in a world that hasn’t had contact with almost any of the outside world for ages. Who will explore these lands? Who wants to risk it at this point? No matter the case, these are the most unexplored islands left on the planet Earth.
Papua New Guinea
At just 100 miles north of Australia, Papua New Guinea is one of few perplexing regions left on Earth. The country is home to a lush rainforest that is home for countless unidentified species like rats and frogs. This also includes plants as well. While most of the population resides in the lowlands of the country, tribes certainly live in the rainforest as well.
The landscape of Papua New Guinea makes exploration a sometimes overwhelming task. The land can be treacherous to traverse. Unless you had access to a plane, you would not be able to view some of the country’s wonders. It remains to be seen how many new species, tribes and flora reside in the rainforest. At this point, they will most likely remain undisturbed for quite some time.
Tristan da Cunha
Small in landmass, vast in unexplored land. Tristan da Cunha’s main island only stretches seven miles across. Yet, the islands near South Africa have been perplexing to explorers for a long time. The problem with exploring the island chain is the danger faced when trying to reach the shores. For further clarification on this, look no further than one of the islands of Tristan da Cunha. The island’s name? Inaccessible Island.
The islands weren’t always so isolated. Over the years, the British has used it as a military point and whalers have used it during their work. However, over time, the island has lost its inhabitants due to a powerful volcano eruption and isolation. At this point, it is estimated that roughly 270 people live on the island. It’s a good guess to think that they are vastly outnumbered by the seals that surround them.
The massive continent holds many questions and few answers. Some of the harshest weather conditions have made the massive, icy terrain almost impossible to study for long periods of time. When it comes to inhabitants Antarctica has none. At times, scientists and explorers will spend a large part of time on the continent, but soon the weather will take over once again.
Soon, Antarctica might be another explored area of the world. The unfortunate side effect will be that global warming has made this possible. Large chunks of the continent are beginning to break off, potentially affecting the world sooner than later. With this issue approaching us, the world may soon be investigating the continent at a higher rate. Hopefully for the sake of the Earth, that will not be the case and, Antarctica will keep being a mystery. For now, the hope of explorers being the first to touch one of Antarctica’s subglacial lakes is one of Antarctica’s most intriguing aspects.
Greenland Ice Sheet
One of the Earth’s first original pieces of false advertising, Greenland has been almost unexplored since its founding. Scandinavians didn’t feel much of a need to go further inland for exploration after they were misled by Erik the Red’s promise of green lands. When you’re covered by sheets of ice and only heading north, there’s not much else to expect, right?
The ice sheet is massive to say the least. The Northeast Greenland National Park covers 972.001km² of snow and ice. Currently, two explorers – Dixie Dansercoer and Eric McNair-Landry, have been circumnavigating the icecap. They expect to wrap their loop by the end of June. What will their final reports show of the ice sheet? We’ll have to wait and see.
North Sentinel Island
Known as “The Forbidden Island” to some, North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. What has made the island hard to explore have been the natives, the Sentinelese. Estimated at somewhere between 50 and 400 natives, the Sentinelese are dark skinned, slightly smaller than the average person, and well-prepared to defend their land. Aside from occasional contact via coconuts deliveries, the Sentinelese shun all contact with the outside world.
Reports throughout the years have covered the Sentinelese throwing spears at low flying helicopters to their near encounter with a ship that ran aground on the nearby rocks. The island is overseen by India, yet the country is its own entity. The government has no desire to interfere with the natives and encourages others to leave them be. With this type of protection, the Sentinelese could well be the last people to remain unstudied in the modern world.