Zhuravleva bay. Komsomolets island

Zhuravleva bay. Komsomolets island Zhuravleva bay. Komsomolets island

Zhuravleva Bay northernmost island of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago (Russian: Northern Land) group in the Russian high Arctic. It is located off mainland Siberia's Taimyr Peninsula across the Vilkitsky Strait. This archipelago separates two marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean, the Kara Sea in the west and the Laptev Sea in the east.

Severnaya Zemlya was first noted in 1913 by an expedition led by B. Vilkitskiy on the icebreaker Vaygach, making it the last archipelago on earth to be discovered.

In July 1930 Georgiy Ushakov embarked on an expedition to have a closer look at Severnaya Zemlya, together with three other polar explorers, Nikolai Urvantsev, Vasiliy Khodov and Sergei Zhuravlev. The four courageous men did something that seemed unbelievable at that time – they drew up the first ever map of this huge archipelago.
Komsomolets Island was first explored and named by the above expedition in 1930-32. Many islands, bays and capes were named aſter the heroic expedition team, while this island was named in honour of the members of the Komsomol, the “Communist Union of Youth”. The area of Komsomolets Island is 9,600 km2. The island is largely (65%) covered with glaciers, including the largest - the Academy of Sciences Ice Cap – a 500 m-thick ice dome reaching 749 m above sea level and covering 5,900 km2 of its territory. It rises to a height of 780 m.

The climate is typical Arctic - consistently cold and dry, with a mean annual temperature of −16° C, mean annual precipitation of about 420 mm and generally overcast skies.
The animal world is poor - the most common mammal on Severnaya Zemlya is the collared lemming, which is present on all of the large islands. Other mammals occasionally observed include the Arctic fox, wolf, ermine, Arctic hare and reindeer. Thirty-two bird species have been observed on Severnaya Zemlya, 17 of which are known to breed on the islands.

The soil of the island is mostly composed of loose loam and sand. The coastal plain is remarkable for its unique natural phenomenon – “ostanets rocks” – eroded oddly-formed stacks, 15-20 m high.

The broad snow-covered plain with dozens of fantastic towering stacks leaves an abiding memory. Semiprecious stones: carnelians, jasper and sardonyx, can be found in the streams flowing down the slopes.