Karl-Alexander Island

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Karl-Alexander Island
Russian: Остров Карла-Александра
Kara sea ZFJKA.PNG
Location of Karl Alexander Island in the Franz Josef Archipelago.
Location Arctic
Coordinates 81°22′N 57°20′E / 81.37°N 57.34°E / 81.37; 57.34
Archipelago Franz Josef Archipelago
Area 329 km2 (127 sq mi)
Length 29 km (18 mi)
Width 18 km (11.2 mi)
Highest elevation 365 m (1,198 ft)
Population 0

Karl Alexander Island (Russian: Остров Карла-Александра), also known as Zemlya Karla-Alexandra (Земля Карла Александра), is an island in Franz Josef Land, Russia.


Karl Alexander Island's length is 29 km (18 mi) and its maximum width is 18 km (11.2 mi). Its area is 329 km2 (127 sq mi), but very little of it is ice-free. The highest point on the island is 365 m (1,198 ft). The southern section of the island is covered by an ice dome named Kupol Samoylovicha (Купол Самойловича).[1]

This island is part of the Zemlya Zichy subgroup of the Franz Joseph Archipelago. It is separated from Rainer Island in the east by a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) narrow sound and from Jackson Island in the South by a 6 km (3.7 mi) wide sound.

Karl Alexander Island was named by the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition after one of the noblemen that financed the venture, Austro-Hungarian aristocrat Alfred Wilhelm Karl Alexander Graf von Salm-Hoogstraeten (born 25 May 1851 in Münster, died 17 January 1919 in Vienna).

This island should not be confused with Alexandra Land, also in the Franz Josef Archipelago.

Map of the Arctic Ocean showing Franz Josef Land and northern Severnaya Zemlya.

Adjacent islands[edit]

  • Off Karl Alexander Island's northwestern point lie the Chichagov Islands (Острова чичагова; Ostrova Chichagova). These islands were named after Arctic explorer Pavel Vasilievich Chichagov (1767-1848), the son of Admiral Vasili Yakovlevich Chichagov of the Russian Navy.
  • To the west of Karl Alexander Island's southwestern point lie the Pontremoli Islands (Острова Понтремоли; Ostrova Pontremoli), at lat 81° 24' N; long 56° 27' E. They are named after Prof. Aldo Pontremoli, professor of Physics at the University of Milan, who died during the Umberto Nobile Polar expedition with the Dirigibile ITALIA in 1928. It was just Umberto Nobile who suggested to name them after prof. Pontremoli, during an expedition in that area in 1931 with the icebreaker ship Malyghin.

There are four small islets off Karl Alexander Island's northeastern shores:

  • The largest one is called Torupa Island (Остров Торупа; Ostrov Torup), located at lat 81° 31' N; long 58° 27' E . It is named after Sophus Torup (1861-1937) professor of physiology and friend of Fridtjof Nansen[2]
  • Ostrov Solov'yëva is located at lat 81° 31' N; long 58° 23' E.
  • Northeast of Torup Island lies smaller Coburg Island (Остров Кобург; Ostrov Koburg), at lat 81° 52' N; long 58° 14' E. This island is named after the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha dynasty. Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, the wife of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria (after whom Rudolf Island was named) belonged to this dynasty.
  • Ostrov Khouena (Гоуэн), is located at lat 81° 49' N; long 58° 32' E. The island was named by Fridtjof Nansen after Anton Christian Houen (1823-1894),[3] a Norwegian merchant whose philanthropy supported construction of Nansen's ship, the Fram.[4]

Coordinates: 81°22′N 57°20′E / 81.37°N 57.34°E / 81.37; 57.34

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kupol Samoylovicha". Mapcarta. Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Roland Huntford, Scott And Amundsen : The Last Place on Earth, 2012
  3. ^ Høvik A (1993) Anton Christian Houen. Reisedagbok 1841-1858. Larvik.
  4. ^ Nansen F (1897). Farthest North. London: McMillan. Vol 1, p40 and Vol 2, p 215.

External links[edit]