Cape Zhelaniya. Novaya Zemlya

Cape Zhelaniya. Novaya Zemlya Cape Zhelaniya. Novaya Zemlya

Cape Zhelaniya or Mys Zhelaniya (76°57'0" N. 68°32'59" E) (Russian for ”wish”) is a cape that lies at the northern end of Severny Island in Novaya Zemlya, Russia. The cape was discovered and named by Dutch polar explorer Willem Barents in 1596, during his third expedition to Novaya Zemlya (Russian: “new land”), where the ship was trapped in ice. Novaya Zemlya is also the place where Willem Barents died.

Novaya Zemlya consists of two major islands Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern), separated by the narrow Matochkin Strait, and a number of smaller islands. Novaya Zemlya separates the Barents Sea from the Kara Sea. The total area is about 90,650 square kilometers. The indigenous population (from 1872 to the 1950-s, when they were resettled to the mainland) consisted of about 50–300 Nenetses, who subsisted mainly on fishing, trapping, reindeer herding, polar bear hunting and seal hunting.

Cape Zhelaniya is an important geographical landmark. There was a Soviet Arctic station there during World War II. It became a secret experimental station later, and a multitude of nuclear tests were conducted in Novaya Zemlya. A weather station was established there and functioned until 1994, and since 2005 there has been an automatic meteorological station located here.

The polar research station “Mys Zhelaniya” is situated at the neck connecting Cape Zhelaniya with the coast, and its main objective is to conduct aerological and meteorological investigations. Currently a project to establish a new base to support the new National Park “Russian Arctic” is being developed.

The cape protrudes into the sea as an abrupt cliff with almost vertical slopes. The topographical relief in the area of the station is hillocky. Inland, the hills change to bald peaks 100-200 meters high, partially covered with ice caps. There are two lakes of connate origin in the territory of the neck. The lake “Otradnoe” is a freshwater lake about 1.5 km2  in area, 3 meters deep and serving as the main source

of potable water. The lake “Anomalnoe” (Abnormal) is a saltwater lake. Most of the territory is bare ground, but some spots are covered with scarce vegetation, such as mosses and lichens.

The whole area is a desolate place, exposed to bitter Arctic winters. Climate in the area of the station is affected by the adjacent seas. The average multiyear air temperature registered here is -9.6° С.

This cape is also used as a geographic point of reference to mark the separation between the northern ends of the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea.