Jeannette Island (Russian: Остров Жанне́тты, Ostrov Zhannetty) is the easternmost island of the De Long Islands archipelago in the East Siberian Sea. It is the second smallest island of the De Long group, being only 2 km in length. It has an area of approximately 3.3 km2 (1 sq mi). The highest peak of the island is 351 m (1,152 ft). It is mainly covered with glaciers and firn.
Jeannette Island consists of folded Paleozoic graywackes overlain by Cenozoic conglomerates. The graywacke is coarse-grained and contains local lenses of conglomerate. An unconformity separates the Cenozoic conglomerate from the underlying graywacke. The Cenozoic conglomerate contains well-rounded pebbles, cobbles, and boulders of quartz sandstone, quartzite, diorite, andesite-basalts, and altered granite.
It was discovered in 1881 by the Jeannette expedition, commanded by Lieutenant Commander George W. DeLong, USN. United States explorer and US Navy Lieutenant Commander George W. DeLong set out in 1879 aboard the Jeannette, hoping to reach Wrangel Island and to discover open seas in the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole. However, the ship entered an ice pack near Herald Island in September 1879 and became trapped. The vessel drifted several hundred miles with the ice, passing north of Wrangel Island. In May 1881 it approached Jeannette Island and Henrietta Island. According to The Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, for the Year 1882 (pg.16), "A sled party landed, hoisted the national ensign, and took possession in the name of the United States. The excursion, led by George W. Melville, landed on June 2 or 3, constructed a cairn, and placed inside it a record of their visit.
During the 1914-15 Imperial Russian Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Expedition led by Boris Vilkitsky, the Vaygach approached Jeannette Island with the intention of mapping Jeannette and Henrietta Islands, but heavy ice blocked the approach. In 1916 the Russian ambassador in London issued an official notice to the effect that the Imperial government considered Henrietta, along with other Arctic islands, integral parts of the Russian Empire. This territorial claim was later maintained by the Soviet Union.
Some U.S. individuals assert American ownership of Jeannette Island, and others of the De Long group, based on the 1881 discovery. However, the United States government has not pursued De Long's claim to Jeannette Island, and recognizes it as Russian territory.
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- Headland, R. K.,1994, OSTROVA DE-LONGA ('De Long Islands'), Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
- Naval Historical Center, 2003, Jeannette Arctic Expedition, 1879-1881 — Overview and Selected Images. Last visited May 26, 2008.
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