A REMOTE Russian island has sparked mystery after users discovered it is blocked out on Google Maps.
Jeannette Island, in the East Siberian Sea, appears as a black smudge on Google's digital map tool, and the search giant has kept tight lipped over why it obscures the icy landmass.
A strange black smudge appears over Russia's Jeanette Island on Google Maps
It's not clear why the island is blurred, although there have been issues around whether the territory belongs to Russia or the USA.
Some conspiracy theorists have suggested the spot is an ideal location for a secret Russian military base, as it is relatively close to the United States and Canada.
Google often blocks out military locations on its Maps tool, including air bases in Germany, missile silos in Russia and bases in Afghanistan.
Images of the island were provided to Google by the The International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean, a project to map the Arctic Ocean initiated in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Jeanette Island sits north of Russia in the East Siberian Sea
Jeanette Island is an icy landmass that covers an area of just 1.2 square miles
A spokesperson for Google declined to comment.
Jeannette Island, which sits north of Russia, was discovered in 1881 during an expedition led by American Navy officer and explorer George E. De Long.
It covers an area measuring just 1.2 square miles, making it smaller than the site used by Glastonbury festival.
De Long hoped to find open waters in the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole, but was trapped in thick ice near Herald Island in September 1879, drifting hundreds of miles before approaching Jeanette Island around May 1881.
Jeanette Island was discovered in 1881 during an expedition led by American Navy officer and explorer George E. De Long
The explorer and his crew took shelter on the island, taking possession of the landmass in the name of the United States and naming after their ship, the USS Jeanette.
However, following the Imperial Russian Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition of 1910–1915, Russia publicly announced that Jeanette, along with other Arctic islands, was part of the Russian Federation.
Administratively, the island now belongs to the Sakha Republic of the Russian Federation, a claim that has never been disputed by the United States, which today recognises it as Russian territory.
It is likely that issues over who Jeanette Island belongs drove the decision to block it on Google Maps, but that hasn't stopped conspiracy theorists from chipping in with their own ideas.
Alamy This sketch was drawn by a member of De Long's crew after they discovered the island in 1881
On Reddit, user exoplanetaryscience wrote: "Google rarely blacks out without reason. A search through google earth shows that this has been permanently blurred out- even in images dating back to the 1980s.
"But what really gets me is that Jeannette Island is completely non-notable… or at least supposedly.
"I'm going to guess there's a concealed Russian military base located there, and possibly quite a substantial one at that."
You can view Jeanette Island in Google Maps yourself via 76°47′24″N 157°58′00″E.
Why do you think Google has blocked out the island on maps?