MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – A surveying expedition by Russia’s Northern Fleet has made several geographic discoveries and confirmed the formation of a new island in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, in the Arctic Ocean, a fleet representative said Monday.
“During hydrographic research at the Franz Josef Land archipelago, the expedition discovered a strait dividing Northbrook Island into two parts,” Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga said.
“The participants of the expedition carried out topographic mapping of the shoreline and measured depths along the new strait,” Serga said.
According to the official, the expedition, which included the Horizon research vessel and the MB-56 tugboat, also discovered an unknown stretch of rocks near the Alexandra Land island and registered recent alterations to the shoreline of Hall Island. Both islands are part of Franz Josef Land.
Russian Arctic explorers hypothesized back in 2006 that a new island was formed after the isthmus that connected the eastern and western parts of Northbrook Island had been washed out. However, bad weather prevented explorers from finding proof for another six years.
Russia’s Arctic 2012 expedition aboard the Rossiya nuclear icebreaker finally took photographs of the new strait and registered the coordinates of the coastline, claiming the discovery of a new island.
The expedition handed over the data on the new island to the navigation and oceanography department in St. Petersburg, and a special governmental commission is expected to name the island in the near future.
The Franz Josef Land archipelago currently consists of 191 ice-covered islands with a total area of about 16,000 square kilometers (6,200 square miles).