Kolchak Island

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Location of Kolchak Island in the Kara Sea.
Kolchak Island is located on the lower right side of the map.

Kolchak Island or Kolchaka Island (Russian: остров Колчака, ostrov Kolchaka), is an island in the Kara Sea located NE of the Shturmanov Peninsula, in an area of skerries south of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago, formerly known as Rastorguyev Island (Russian: остров Расторгуева, ostrov Rastorguyeva) in 1937-2005 . Compared to other large islands in the area it has a quite regular shape. Its length is 21 km and its maximum width 6.5 km. It is covered with tundra vegetation in the summer, but most of the year it lies under a shroud of snow.

This island is located 40 km from the western end of the Taymyr Gulf and only 14 km southeast of Taymyr Island. It separated from the nearest coast by a narrow sound that is about one km in width in its narrowest stretch.

The climate in the area is severe, with long and bitter winters and frequent blizzards and gales. The sea surrounding Kolchak Island is covered with pack ice in the winter and there are numerous ice floes even in the summer, so that most of the year it is merged with the mainland.

Kolchak Island belongs to the Krasnoyarsk Krai administrative division of the Russian Federation and is part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve, the largest nature reserve of Russia.


This island is named after Alexander Kolchak, its discoverer and explorer. He had joined Eduard Toll's 1900-1902 arctic expedition (The Russian Polar Expedition), which explored many little-known islands of the Kara Sea. The main aim of the expedition was to find the legendary Sannikov Land.

Kolchak Island was first depicted on a map in 1901. In 1937 the Soviet government renamed it after Stepan Rastorguyev and for a few decades there were two Rastorguyev Islands in the Kara Sea. Finally, on July 15, 2005 the former name[citation needed] of the island was restored ("Kolchaka" instead of former name "Kolchak"). However, one occasionally encounters confusion about which of the former Rastorguyev Islands was renamed; e.g. a former revision of this article was written about the wrong island.


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Coordinates: 76°07′N 97°01′E / 76.117°N 97.017°E / 76.117; 97.017