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Googling for steepest island in the world leads numerous pages claiming that La Palma is the steepest island in the world. Having recently been there, I am inclined to believe it, but it appears the sources just copy each other, without any citing a reliable source. I can imagine many ways to define steepest island in the world. Is there any reliable source to support this claim, or is it just a touristic claim not very well supported?

  • @ChrisW Although the edges of that one look steep, the summit looks like it may be a quite flat surface, like a table mountain. – gerrit Jan 8 '13 at 9:08
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    Wouldn't the steepest island simply have the highest ratio of max elevation to lateral size, regardless of its shape? – jdstankosky Jan 10 '13 at 21:38
  • @jdstankosky I wouldn't define it as such. Consider sin(x) vs. sin(10x); I would consider an island looking like the latter much steeper than like the former, even if the maximum elevation is the same. – gerrit Jan 10 '13 at 22:10
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    I don't think this question is answerable without defining steep. A very quick google shows many islands that have much steeper sides, but flatter tops - is that steeper or less steep? – Rory Alsop Feb 27 '13 at 19:06
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Wrote a travel blog post titled The Steepest Island in The World? about it after visiting La Palma. With info from the suggestions here and ran automated calculations against a typographical world map.

The way they define steep is vertical distance traveled versus horizontal distance while crossing the entire island from coast to coast, obviously maximizing the line (route) for steepness. The caldera really helps here. So it is indeed be the steepest island in the world under this criteria, if you discard islands smaller than 10 km wide.

  • Hi Conor, I think this is quite interesting, but the requirements for an answer on this particular website are unusual and quite stringent. I think it would be very welcome as a commentary, though! – gerrit Mar 5 '16 at 18:20
  • Thanks Gerrit, Skeptics, they want 100% confirmation. I do think the second paragraph is as close to answer and anyone can get on this particular question. Edited the answer to make it unambiguous. – Conor Mar 6 '16 at 10:57

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