The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

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

October Revolution Island

Reference work entry

October Revolution Island – the largest and central in the archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya and Taymyr (Dolgan-Nenets Autonomous District), Russia. Its eastern shores are washed by the Laptev Sea and the northern, western, and southern shores by the Kara Sea. The area is about 14,100 km2; the height is up to 965 m. It is separated from the Island of Bolshevik by Shokalsky Strait (the width of 20–38 km) and from the islands of Komsomolets and Pioneer by the Red Army Strait (the width of 3–18 km). The island is slightly elongated from northwest to southeast with a length of 170 km and a width of up to 130 km. There are many large bays, but the biggest is the fjord Matusevich. The largest peninsulas are Gusinyi, Zhyloy, and Parizhskoy Kommunny (Paris Commune).

The relief is classified as plateau – like with a lot of high plains. The coast is uneven, rugged by bays and headlands. The coast of the island is mostly flat; cliffs that are up to 20 m high are found in areas where Rusanov and Universitetsky Glaciers come to the sea and in the Fjords of Matusevich and Marat. In all, there are seven large glaciers on the island, which occupy more than half of the entire area of the island. The largest are Karpinskiy, which is the highest point of the island, and the Severnaya Zemlya (963 m).

On the island there are many relatively large rivers. The longest of them are the Ozernaya with a length of 64 km (the longest river of the archipelago), the Ushakov 58 km, and the Bolshaya 42 km. There are not many significant lakes on the island; the largest of them is the Fyordovoye Lake that has an area of 57 km2. Most of the ponds on the island are covered with ice.

The island has arctic desert and tundra vegetation. The fauna of the island is represented by reindeer, polar bears, arctic foxes, and lemmings. On the north and east coast, there are bird rookeries. In coastal areas, there are walrus rookeries.

O. R. I. is the only Severnaya Zemlya Islands that may be of commercial value due to gold placers found here.

In 1935, the polar station Cape Olovyannyi, whose first head was E. T. Krenkel, was founded in the southeastern part of the island. In 1950, the Arctic Institute researchers conducted weather and snow-glaciological surveys on the island, and in 1974 the same institution built the research station Dome Vavilov at the top of the Vavilov Glacier Dome.

The island was first explored and mapped in 1931 by an expedition of G. A. Ushakov and N. N. Urvantsev of 1930–1932 and named after the October Revolution of 1917.

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016