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Islands Three Miles Apart are Separated by 21-Hour Time Difference

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  • Tip Bones

The Diomede Islands are only three miles apart but sit on either side of the International Date Line which means the bigger island is almost one day ahead of the smaller one.

A TikTok user has gone viral after explaining how the islands have a 21-hour time difference, although they’re just three miles apart and are sitting side by side in the Bering Strait between mainland Alaska and Siberia.

The Islands are named after the Greek Saint Diomede and were discovered by Danish-Russian navigator Vitus Bering on August 16, 1728. The ice bridge that forms between the two islands in winter makes it possible to walk the short distance between them and travel through time, though it is illegal.

In the video shared on TikTok a voiceover explains, “There are some weird places in the world. These are the Diomede Islands. They sit on a Date Line. They have a 20-hour time difference even though they are only 2.5 miles apart.” One person jokingly commented, “Imagine working on both islands. You could do two eight hour shifts in the same day.” Another person said, “You could be on one island on New Year’s and go back a year.”

Native people still live on the smaller island, which has a population of around 110 people. On the smaller island, the Soviet government relocated its indigenous population to mainland Russia and the island is only occupied by military units. Those living on the Russian side were forcibly resettled in Siberia after the start of the Cold War more than seventy years ago and the border was closed.