Nordenskiöld Archipelago

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Nordenskiöld Archipelago
Native name: Russian:
Архипелаг Норденшельда
Nordenshelda3g.PNG
Distribution of the separate groups within the Nordenskiöld Archipelago.
Nordenskiöld Archipelago is located in Russia
Nordenskiöld Archipelago
Location of the archipelago in Russia
Geography
Location Kara Sea
Coordinates 76°35′N 96°40′E / 76.583°N 96.667°E / 76.583; 96.667Coordinates: 76°35′N 96°40′E / 76.583°N 96.667°E / 76.583; 96.667
Archipelago Nordenskiöld Archipelago
Total islands 90
Major islands Russky Island, Taymyr, Nansen, Kolchak
Highest elevation 107 m (351 ft)
Administration
Demographics
Population 0
The Purple Sandpiper is one of the birds foraging in the shores and wetlands of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago in the summer.

The Nordenskiöld Archipelago or Nordenskjold Archipelago (Russian: Архипелаг Норденшельда or Arkhipelag Nordenshel'da) is a very large and complex cluster of islands in the eastern region of the Kara Sea. Its eastern limit lies 120 km (75 mi) west of the Taymyr Peninsula.

There are about 90 cold, windswept and desolate islands in this archipelago. These are mainly formed by igneous rocks and are covered with tundra vegetation. Except for two weather stations, one which was permanent in Russky Island between 1935 and 1999 and a temporary one in Tyrtov Island (Tyrtova) (1940-1975) there is no permanent human presence in any island of the archipelago.

Geography[edit]

The Nordenskiöld Archipelago stretches for almost 100 km (62 mi) from west to east and about 90 km (56 mi) from north to south in the Kara Sea, off the Siberian shores, where there are large coastal islands around Taymyr Island.[1] The average elevation of the islands is relatively low. The highest point of the archipelago (107 m) is located in Chabak Island, one of the Vilkitsky Islands. This island group belongs to the Krasnoyarsk Krai administrative division of Russia.

The climate in the Nordenskiöld Archipelago is Arctic and severe. The sea surrounding the multitude of island groups is covered with fast ice in the winter and it is obstructed by pack ice even in the summer, which lasts only about two months in a normal year.[2]

The Nordenskiöld Archipelago including adjacent Siberian coastal islands.
Location of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago in the Kara Sea.

Islands[edit]

The Nordenskiöld Archipelago has been divided for geographical purposes into groups. The main groups are from west to east:

Tsivolko Islands[edit]

The Tsivolko Islands (острова Циволько; Ostrova Tsivolko) 76°44′N 94°38′E / 76.733°N 94.633°E / 76.733; 94.633 is the westernmost group.

Vilkitsky Islands[edit]

The Vilkitsky Islands (острова Вилькицкого), also known as 'Dzhekman Islands' 76°25′N 95°15′E / 76.417°N 95.250°E / 76.417; 95.250, located north of the Matisen Strait.

Pakhtusov Islands[edit]

The Pakhtusov Islands (острова Пахтусова; Ostrova Pakhtusova) 76°37′N 95°53′E / 76.617°N 95.883°E / 76.617; 95.883, located south of the Lenin Strait.

Litke Islands[edit]

The Litke Islands (острова Литке; Ostrova Litke), 76°49′N 96°36′E / 76.817°N 96.600°E / 76.817; 96.600. This group includes Russky Island (остров Русский; Ostrov Russkiy) 77°03′N 96°09′E / 77.050°N 96.150°E / 77.050; 96.150. Located at the archipelago's northern end, this is the largest island of the Nordenskiöld group.

Vostyochnyye Islands[edit]

The Vostyochnyye Islands (Восточные острова; Vostyochnyye Ostrova, Eastern Islands), latitude 76° 38' N and longitude 97° 30' E.[3] This group includes the Kolomeitsev Islands (острова Коломейцева; Ostrova Kolomeytseva) 76°56′N 97°48′E / 76.933°N 97.800°E / 76.933; 97.800.

Coastal islands[edit]

The southern extension of the wider archipelago, consisting of the islands located south of the Matisen Strait near and around Taymyr Island. Kolchak Island, located further south, is not geographically part of the wider Nordenskiöld Archipelago.

History[edit]

This archipelago was first reported in 1740 by Nikifor Chekin, who accompanied Semion Chelyuskin in the Great Northern Expedition. Many years later it was named after arctic explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld by Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen in his maps of the northern coasts and seas of Siberia.[5]

In 1893, when Fridtjof Nansen's Fram was near the Nordenskjold Archipelago, it got stuck in dead water. This is a strange phenomenon that typically occurs in fjords, as glaciers melt and a form a shallow layer of freshwater ice over salty water. This is how Nansen described the phenomenon:

Towards the end of August 1893, when the "Fram" was off the Taymyr Peninsula, near the Nordenskiöld Archipelago, "dead water" was encountered. This is a peculiar phenomenon, which occurs where a surface layer of fresh water rests upon the salt water of the sea. It manifests itself in the form of larger or smaller ripples or waves stretching across the wake, the one behind the other, arising sometimes as far forward as almost midships. When caught in dead water, "Fram" appeared to be held back, as if by some mysterious force, and she did not always answer the helm. In calm weather, with a light cargo, "Fram" was capable of 6 to 7 knots. When in dead water she was unable to make 1.5 knots. We made loops in our course turned sometimes right around, tried all sorts of antics to get clear of it, but to very little purpose.[5]

In 1900 the islands of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago were explored and mapped with accuracy by Captain Fyodor Andreyevich Matisen during the Russian polar expedition of 1900–1902. This venture was led by Baron Eduard Von Toll on behalf of the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences aboard ship Zarya. Toll sent Matisen to make a survey of the archipelago in the early spring while the Zarya was wintering close to Taymyr Island. Most islands of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago were charted and named during this effort. Matisen crisscrossed the whole vast frozen area on dogsled twice. He divided the archipelago into four of the five main groups mentioned above and named more than forty islands.[6][7]

Like Nansen, Eduard Toll observed that it was difficult to navigate through the archipelago on account of the ice.[6]

After the Russian Revolution, the archipelago was explored in the 1930s by a Soviet expedition on the icebreaker Sedov.

In 1937 the Arctic Institute of the USSR organized an expedition on ship Toros. The purpose of this expedition was to explore the Nordenskiöld Archipelago and to thoroughly investigate the Northern Sea Route in the Kara Sea. The Toros overwintered in Ledyanaya Bay on Bonevi Island west of Taymyr Island and sailed back to Archangelsk during the summer thaw after having explored many Kara Sea islands.

On 25 August 1942, during Operation Wunderland, Kriegsmarine cruiser Admiral Scheer fell upon the Russian icebreaker Sibiryakov (under the command of Captain Kacharev) off the northwest coast of Russky Island at the northern end of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago. The Sibiryakov resisted but was sunk by the German warship. Then Admiral Scheer headed southwest in order to attack the Soviet military installations at Dikson.

Since May 1993 the Nordenskiöld Archipelago is part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve, the largest nature reserve of Russia.[8] The Arctic station at Russky Island was closed in 1999.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ostrov Taymyr". Mapcarta. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  2. ^ On fast ice conditions near the Nordenskjold Archipelago
  3. ^ "Ostrova Vostyochnyye". Mapcarta. Retrieved 12 August 2016. 
  4. ^ С. В. Попов, Автографы на картах Архангельск: Северо-Западное книжное издательство, 1990.
  5. ^ a b Consideration on geographic peculiarities on waterways of the Northern Sea Route
  6. ^ a b William Barr, Baron Eduard Von Toll's Last Expedition., ARCTIC Sept 1980
  7. ^ Polar Exploration
  8. ^ Nature Reserve

External links[edit]