Zhokhov Island

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Zhokhov Island (Russian: Остров Жохова; Ostrov Zhokhova) is an island in the East Siberian Sea, situated 128 km north east of Novaya Sibir Island, the easternmost of the New Siberian Islands. Zhokhov Island belongs to the De Long group. It has an area of 77 km². The highest point of the island is 123 m. This island belongs to the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic administrative division of Russia.[1]

The sea surrounding this island is covered with fast ice in the winter and the climate is severe. The surrounding sea is obstructed by pack ice, even during the summer.

Geology[edit]

Location of the De Long Islands.

Zhokhov Island consists of extrusive basalt lava flows and tuffs. The bulk of this island is made up of a thick stack of olivine basalt, olivine trachybasalt, and nepheline basalt lava flows. Overlying these lava flows is a layer of friable volcanic ash and tuff that is capped by a thick basalt lava flow. The total thickness of volcanic rocks exposed within Zhokhov Island is about 400 meters[2][3]

Vegetation[edit]

Rush/grass, forb, cryptogam tundra covers the Zhokhov Island. It is tundra consisting mostly of very low-growing grasses, rushes, forbs, mosses, lichens, and liverworts. These plants either mostly or completely cover the surface of the ground. The soils are typically moist, fine-grained, and often hummocky.[4]

History[edit]

Mesolithic humans occupied the island as early as 6000 BCE. Tools of stone, bone, antler, and ivory have been found, as well as wooden arrow shafts and a sledge runner. Animal remains suggest a culture dependent on the hunting of polar bears and reindeer.[5]

In modern times, Zhokhov Island was discovered by the 1910–1915 Russian Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition under Boris Vilkitsky on the ships Vaygach and Taymyr. It was originally named Novopashenniy Island but was later renamed after Alexi Zhokhov, a member of the expedition.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Opening shot from Dr. Strangelove: "the perpetually fog-shrouded wasteland below the Arctic peaks of the Zhokhov Islands"

Zhokhov Island is mentioned in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb as a place where the Russians built the doomsday device.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Respublika Sakha (Yakutiya) Land Feature Database
  2. ^ Fujita, K., and D.B. Cook, 1990, The Arctic continental margin of eastern Siberia, in A. Grantz, L. Johnson, and J. F. Sweeney, eds., pp. 289-304, The Arctic Ocean Region. Geology of North America, vol L, Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado.
  3. ^ Kos’ko, M.K., B.G. Lopatin, and V.G. Ganelin, 1990, Major geological features of the islands of the East Siberian and Chukchi Seas and the Northern Coast of Chukotka. Marine Geology. vol. 93, pp. 349–367.
  4. ^ CAVM Team, 2003, Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map. Scale 1:7,500,000. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) Map No. 1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska.
  5. ^ Pitul'ko, V. V. (1993). "An Early Holocene Site in the Siberian High Arctic". Arctic Anthropology 30 (1): 13–21. 
  6. ^ Starokadomski, L. M. and O. M. Cattley, 1919, "Vilkitski's North-East Passage, 1914-15". The Geographical Journal. vol. 54, no. 6, pp. 367–375.
  7. ^ Walker, A., S. Taylor, U. Ruchti, 1999, Stanley Kubrick, Director. W. W. Norton & Company, New York, New York. 376 pp.

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 76°08′28″N 152°43′59″E / 76.141111°N 152.733056°E / 76.141111; 152.733056