Little Diomede Island

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Little Diomede
Native name: Inupiaq Ignaluk
Little Diomede Island village.jpeg
The native Inupiat village of Diomede/Inalik on Little Diomede Island.
Coordinates 65°45′15″N 168°55′15″W / 65.75417°N 168.92083°W / 65.75417; -168.92083Coordinates: 65°45′15″N 168°55′15″W / 65.75417°N 168.92083°W / 65.75417; -168.92083
Area 2.8 sq mi (7.3 km2)
Highest elevation 494 m (1,621 ft)
Population 135 (as of 2011)
Density 48 /sq mi (18.5 /km2)

Little Diomede Island (Inupiat: Ignaluk; formerly known as Krusenstern Island, which can also refer to other places)[1] is an island of Alaska, United States. It is the smaller of the two Diomede Islands located in the middle of the Bering Strait between the Alaska mainland and Siberia. Its neighboring island Big Diomede is less than 2.4 mi (3.9 km) to the west, but is part of Russia and west of the International Date Line. Little Diomede has an estimated population of 135.

The entirety of the island is in the city of Diomede (Inupiat: Inalik). The island is not part of any organized borough, so some services are provided directly by the state. For census purposes, it is included in the Nome Census Area.


Diomede (Inalik) village on the west coast of Little Diomede Island, Alaska
Satellite image of the Bering Strait; Little Diomede Island can be clearly seen in the middle of the strait, to the right of Big Diomede.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the island has a total area of 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2), all of it land. On the western shore of the island is the village of Diomede, also known as Inalik.

Little Diomede Island is located about 25 kilometres (16 mi) west from the mainland, in the middle of the Bering Strait. It is only 0.6 kilometres (0.37 mi) from the International Date Line and about 2.4 miles (3.9 km) from the Russian island of Big Diomede.

The highest point on Little Diomede Island is 494m (about halfway along the west coast, about 1.5 km southeast of the village, facing the southern tip of Big Diomede).

There is a heliport, the Diomede Heliport, with regular helicopter flights. During the winter, the town villagers carve a runway into the thick ice sheet so that bush planes can deliver vital products, such as medicine. Due to annual variations of the ice sheet, the runway changes position every year.


The Little Diomede island is composed of Cretaceous age granite or quartz monzonite.[2][3] The location of the city is the only area which does not have near-vertical cliffs to the water. Behind the city and around the entire island rocky slopes rise at about 40° up to the relatively flattened top in 1,148–1,191 feet (350–363 m). The island has very scant vegetation.

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