48°52.6’S 123°23.6’W

If ever I mysteriously disappear, here’s where to find me. If I ever retire (which seems unlikely), I have a destination. Point Nemo.


It’s the point on Earth farthest from any land mass. It sounds delightful.

Also, if ever sunken R’lyeh rises sometime after my vanishing, I’ll be the skeleton found on the slimy rocks of the beach, hagfish writhing in my ribcage and and crabs peeking out through my eyesockets. Just so you know.


  1. johnhattan says

    Are hagfish according–to-hoyle vertebrates? I’d hate the thought of you being consumed by anything but the most noble seafaring invertebrates.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    when you move there, watch the sky!! NASA plops old satellites there for disposal. Must be where Chicken Little comes from.
    Also in the article, “Points of Inaccessibility”, it notes that one of the closest islands is Ducie. of which I remark only due to its appearance in the encounter that inspired Moby Dick. Heart of the Seas was a awesome docu-drama.

  3. says

    Cool stuff. Maybe it’s just my nitpicky nature, or because I’m tutoring my nephew in geometry this semester, that the following point from the article about the Earth being round struck me as a non-sequitur: “Because the Earth is round, the remotest part of the ocean will be in the middle of a circle – i.e. defined by at least three points.” Wouldn’t the same be true if the Earth were a plane? But then I got to thinking… what about other shapes? How would you determine the same thing on a torus or other 3d shape that had a mix of land masses and oceans? I’m sure there is a whole branch of geometry that deals with this. Must…. resist…. going….. down….. rabbit….. hole!

  4. Larry says

    I think you’ve stumbled on to the location where Oceanic Airlines flight 815 broke up and crashed. Of course, the island may have moved since then. But, if you find it again, say Hi to Hugo and Ben.

  5. leerudolph says

    Todd Smith: “I’m sure there is a whole branch of geometry that deals with this.”

    If that rabbit hole eventually proves irresistible, the keyword to search for is “Voronoi” (or, if you prefer key phrases, “Voronoi diagram” or “Voronoi tesselation”).

  6. blf says

    I cannot recall any details now (and my Generalissimo Google™-fu is fued (isn’t fuing?) at the moment), but I seem to remember some proponents of the now-discredited lunar “fission” origin hypothesis not only said “the Pacific basin” was the “scar” of the event, but identified the approximate location where the Moon split off from the Earth (in that hypothesis) — and my memory is pinging that that location is roughly the same point.

    (It’s all nonsense, the fission hypothesis was finally killed by the Apollo samples, after being badly wounded by plate tectonics. Besides, the MOON — as anyone who knows it’s made of cheese knows — is really one in a long line of Massive Orbital Cheese Vaults (spelled “Moon” due to poor stylusscribeship on a clay table).)

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re 8:
    yeah. Always amused by the image of the moon being ejaculated out of the earth, like a ‘loogie’, with the Pacific being the hole left behind that was then filled with the ocean.

    The origin of the Moon has been greatly revised recently and upadated more recently. Mars sized object grazed Earth, both of which partially dis-integrated (became particles not integrated into a single mass, that is). The main mass of the Mars-like (size reference once) asteroid continued on its way. The cloud of particle remnants of the near collision, eventually coagulate into the Luna. The recent update to that scenario is that the near miss was even closer than previously thought. More “scrape”, than “graze”, meaning much more violent than shaving the top layers of soil to become Luna, but more like scooping large chunks of the mantle to put into orbit.
    [disclaimer] that’s only my interp of summaries about NASA reports, so try to find it yourself if you don’t trust’ 2nd hand’ to be accurate.

  8. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    You’re not giving yourself enough credit. Some demon thing might add your skull to its necklace!

  9. handsomemrtoad says

    He had brought a large map, representing the sea
    Without the least vestige of land
    And the crew were all pleased when they found it to be
    A map they could all understand.

    “What’s the use of Mercator’s north poles and equators
    Tropics, zones, and meridian lines?”
    So the captain would cry, and the crew would reply:
    “They are merely conventional signs!

    Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes
    But we’ve got our brave captain to thank
    (So the crew would protest) that he’s brought us the best:

    –The Hunting of the Snark

  10. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Todd SMith@5: Non-Euclidean Geometry. Have fun. :)

    Funny story (well, to me anyway): Back around the time I met my (now) wife, she was taking Macro Economics at the local community college where we both worked as math tutors. So her econ prof is badly trying to explain how to solve linear equations (let’s not go into how he went from a nearly random scattergraph to badly derive linear behavior…)

    So she was ignoring the prof, and just happened to be solving Non Euclidean Geometry problems for fun when the prof noticed and asked her what she was doing. When she replied “non-Euclidean geometry”, you’d think that might have clued him in….. so in an effort to shame her, he asked if she thought she could explain linear equations better than he could. Of course, she replied in the affirmative.

    Ten minutes later, the entire class agreed that she could explain linear equations better than the prof as well….. :D

    Needless to say, she got an ‘A’ in that class.

  11. numerobis says

    Todd Smith: there is indeed a whole discipline related to defining the furthest point, and I wrote my thesis in a corner of that world. As leerudolph mentions, Voronoi diagrams are a good keyword (and its dual the Delaunay triangulation is another).

    The Vornoi diagram was originally defined in Euclidean space. It’s the graph whose points are equidistant to two sites — which, equivalently, means you can grow a ball centered on a point and stop when it hits a “site” (land, in the OP’s example) — and you’ll be hitting not just one but two sites! Circles are the core concept, even on the plane.

    Probably the first extension from Euclidean space would have been to the surface of a sphere. On a sphere, “points equidistant from a center” is still what non-mathematicians would call a circle.

    You can define other metric spaces and look at what the Voronoi diagram does. If you look at the Manhattan metric, you still get a lot of the same properties, but what I’d call a “circle” in that metric space, any reasonable person would call a losenge.

    In a graph metric, the Voronoi loses its tidy circle-based definition, so then you can get mathematicians annoyed at each other for defining it differently from each other.

  12. numerobis says

    Delaunay’s paper from 1932 is pretty accessible to a geometer, and quite modern in its style (if you told me it had been written in 1990 I’d believe you). I probably have the PDF lying about if anyone wants it.

    It’s in French, because that’s what Soviet researchers used at the time.

  13. wzrd1 says

    Wow! PZ, yet again, topped me!
    I was only going for the Xxxx.xx.xxxxx memorial poison ivy patch, the sign being at the far end.

    Hey, fair warning was given, if somewhat belated. ;)

    Beyond that joke, I really don’t give a crap about this body, once I’m done with it. My preference is to recycle my carbon, but that’s merely a preference, not a requirement.
    Being fertilizer for a farmer’s field, beyond cool. A *lot* of people get to taste a meaningless part of me. Or something.
    Failing that, see the poison ivy patch, with the sign commemorating said patch – at the far side.
    But then, I’m immune to poison ivy. Making me like that plant even more. ;)

  14. taraskan says

    As long as you’re planning for it, feel free to pick a rock near a petroleum deposit, and wear flammable clothing that won’t biodegrade, so intrepid explorers can make a cool torch. Also, a compass and a Mars bar in the front pocket would probably not go unappreciated.

  15. Trickster Goddess says

    Gee, that spot is at the same longitude as me, and close to the exact opposite latitude… Just flip a sign on my GPS input and I could end up in the exact middle of nowhere.

  16. johnhodges says

    When I was a child in the 1950’s, my Dad brought home a calendar. The monthly illustrations were “globes” of different shapes, maps of Earth on cube, torus, cylinder, disk, dodecahedron, whatever. This possibly contributed to my warped view of the world.