Retreating ice reveals new island

The discovery of the new island was made during the "Arctic-2012" expedition. Photo illustration:

As the level of Arctic ice reaches a historical low, Russian researchers confirm their discovery of a new island in the archipelago of Franz Josef Land.


Until now, a glacier has hidden the true formation of the Northbrook Island. According to leader of the ongoing Russian “Arctic-2012” expedition, Vladimir Sokolov, a visit to the site last week leaves no doubt. There are open waters between what was believed to be two parts of the same island.

Reportely, Russian researchers already in 2006 got suspicions about the straits separating the islands. However, hard evidence about the new island was obtained only this September, RIA Novosti reports.

A Russian government commission will now come up with a name for the new piece of land.

The new land discovery comes as the level of ice in the Arctic is unprecedently low. According to the U.S. Snow and Ice Data Center, the ice extent currently tracks nearly 50 percent below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum extent. “The current extent is 760,000 square kilometers below the previous record minimum extent in the satellite record (4.17 million square kilometers) which occurred on September 18, 2007”, a press release from the center reads.

The low level of ice has left both the Northern Sea Route and the Nortwest Passage ice-free and open to shipping.