The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Henrietta Island

Reference work entry

Henrietta Island – an island within the De Long Archipelago, in the northeastern part of the New Siberian Islands, the East Siberian Sea, the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Russia. The northernmost island in the East Siberian Islands. The area is 12 km2 and the height 315 m. The island, just like all the De Long group of islands, belongs to the Verkhoyansk-Chukotka fold zone. The Paleozoic and Mesozoic sandstone standing on end is covered by flood basalt. The island is covered by glaciers; the ice cap with an area of about 6 km2 occupies the highest southeastern part of the island. Southern and eastern edges of the cap are limited by cliffs of the underlying basalt plateau, over which the falls of ice dominate for 40–50 m. On the other hand, on the eastern shore, there is only one glacier tongue protruding to the sea in the clough. Vegetation is scarce; besides crustaceous and foliose lichen, it is possible to find rare flowering plants: Arctic poppy, saxifraga, chickweed, artemisia. In the summer period, the island, lying at the very edge of sea ice, attracts many birds, flying here for the nesting period. Up to 1940 the island was home to a polar station. In 1979 it was the starting point of the Soviet Ski Scientific and Sport Expedition of the newspaper “Komsomolskaya Pravda” toward the North Pole. It was led by D.I. Shparo. After 75 days of skiing through 1,450 km, the expedition reached the Pole.

The island was discovered by the American Polar explorer G.W. De Long in 1881 when his ship, trapped in ice, was drifting past H. Island and its neighbor Jeannette Island. In 1937 the expedition on the “Sadko” under the command of R.L. Samoylovich built a polar station on the H.I. It existed until 1963. Now the island is uninhibited.

Henrietta Island: Sketch by Lt. Cmdr. George DeLong on 25 May 1881, depicting “Henrietta Island”, north of Siberia (

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