Sub-Sub-Sub Island on Victoria Island – Nunavut - Atlas Obscura

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Sub-Sub-Sub Island on Victoria Island

The Arctic Archipelago is home to world's largest third order island: an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island. 


Victoria Island, located right between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Canada, holds a few records under its name. It’s the eighth largest island in the world (larger than Great Britain) and the second largest island in Canada. But its size isn’t what makes this place so special.

The island is home to world’s largest third order island, an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island. It’s both a mouthful and a mind-boggling geographical quirk, and it remained hidden until the 21st century.

Josh Calder discovered the anomalous landscape in 2007, after scouring Google Maps. Though Calder published his findings in 2007, Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings is often erroneously credited with the discovery. 

Amazingly, a third order inception is not in itself unique; a third order island is also found inside the crater lake of Taal Volcano Island in the Philippines, for example. But at four acres, the third order island in Canada is much larger than that of the Philippines, and possibly the largest in the world. 

It is quite possible that this small island has never been visited before. The nearest civilians live in Cambridge Bay, 90 miles away from this isolated island, and no roads come anywhere near. Hire a helicopter and you could be the first person to set foot on this sub-sub-sub island.

It is also quite possible, though, that this island is not the largest third order island in the world after all. The terrain of Victoria Island and nearly half of Canada is freckled with tiny, splotched lakes. This means that there is likely another—perhaps larger—third order island in another part of Canada. 

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