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New Siberian Islands

New Siberian Islands, Rus. Novosibirskiye Ostrova, archipelago, c.10,900 sq mi (28,200 sq km), N Siberian Russia, in the Arctic Ocean between the Laptev and East Siberian seas, part of the Sakha Republic. The archipelago is separated into two groups by the Sannikov Strait. The northern group, the New Siberian or Anjou islands (c.8,200 sq mi/21,200 sq km) includes the Kotelny, Faddeyevsky, Novaya Sibir, and other smaller islands; the southern group consists of the Lyakhov Islands (c.2,700 sq mi/7,000 sq km). The De Long Islands, NE of Novaya Sibir, are also part of the archipelago. The islands are almost always covered by snow and ice and have a very scant tundra; ice dating from the Pleistocene Ice Age and intermingled with sediment is found there. The sparsely settled islands were sighted (1773) by Ivan Lyakhov, a Russian merchant. Mammoth fossils have been found (1870s) in the islands by the Swedish explorer Nils A. E. Nordenskjöld, as well as by Siberian fur and ivory hunters. The islands were neglected until 1927, when meteorological stations were set up there. Kotelny was the site of a military base from 1933 to 1993, and in 2013 the Russian navy reestablished a base there.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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