The Melting Arctic Unveiled Five New Islands We Never Knew Existed

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Five new islands not previously known have been discovered within the remote Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya, according to the Russian navy.

The Melting Arctic Unveiled Five New Islands We Never Knew Existed

Five new islands not previously known have been discovered within the remote Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya, according to the Russian navy.


At a press conference that marked the completion of a naval expedition which sailed as far north as Franz Josef Land, Russia's Northern Fleet's Vice Admiral Alexander Moiseyev explained glaciers melting in the region revealed the new islands.


The Melting Arctic Unveiled Five New Islands We Never Knew Existed

The Novaya Zemlya archipelago. (Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Rapid Response Team/Goddard Space Flight Centre)


The Russian Ministry of Defence first announced the finding of the islands in August. Still, in truth, their discovery dates back to 2016, when student engineer Marina Migunova observed unknown landmasses in satellite imagery while working on a research paper.



In this new expedition, naval researchers surveyed the topography of the five islands, that lie in Vize Bay at Novaya Zemlya's Severny Island. They're believed to have emerged from their icy coverings sometime around 2014.


The Melting Arctic Unveiled Five New Islands We Never Knew Existed

The Sun


In size, the islands vary from very small to very large. Two are just tiny (the smallest measuring just 30 meters by 30 meters approximately), but the largest is expansive, covering a region of about 54,500 square meters.


Regarding the long-term stability of the newly unveiled landmasses, it's too early to say, since receding glaciers are known to destabilize the land that exists underneath them, as it loses a fortifying ice layer on top.



What is sure is that as the world gets increasingly hotter in response to anthropogenic global warming, those five islands are among the early wave of sweeping surface transformations in the melting polar regions of Earth.


Driving the point home, the naval expedition didn't just confirm the discovery of five new islands on their voyage.


During the trip, a sixth previously unknown landmass was also discovered, situated in a newly formed strait in the Franz Josef Land archipelago: a new island which had already been mistaken as part of an existing peninsula.


According to the Russian navy, the new islands aren't alone, joining a list of at least a dozen new islands which have emerged in the Arctic region in the last few years – a phenomenon so vast that even Russian schoolchildren are discovering islands.


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Thinking Humanity: The Melting Arctic Unveiled Five New Islands We Never Knew Existed
The Melting Arctic Unveiled Five New Islands We Never Knew Existed
Five new islands not previously known have been discovered within the remote Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya, according to the Russian navy.
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