Novaya Zemlya

Novaya Zemlya ( Russian : Новая Земля , IPA: [novəjə zʲɪmlʲa] , lit. new land ), also known as Nova Zembla (especially in Dutch ), is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in northern Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe , the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the Northern island. Novaya Zemlya is composed of two islands, the southern Severny Island and the southern Yuzhny Island , which are separated byMatochkin Strait . Administratively , it is incorporated as Novaya Zemlya District , one of the twenty-one in Arkhangelsk Oblast , Russia. [1] Municipally , it is incorporated as Novaya Zemlya Urban Okrug . [2]

Its population as of the 2010 Census was 2,429, of which 1,972 resided in Belushya Guba , [3] an urban-type settlement that is the administrative center of Novaya Zemlya District. The population in 2002 was 2,716 ( 2002 Census ) . [4] The indigenous population (from 1872 [5] [6] to the 1950s when it was resettled to the mainland) Nenetses [7] who subsisted mainly on fishing , trapping , reindeer herding, polar bear hunting andseal hunting. [8] [9] Natural resources include copper , lead , and zinc . [8]

Novaya Zemlya was a sensitive military area during the Cold War years and is still in use today. The Soviet Air Force maintained a presence at Rogachevo on the southern part of the island, on the westernmost peninsula ( 71.61787 ° N 52.47884 ° E ). It was used primarily for interceptor aircraft operations, but also provided Novaya Zemlya was the site of one of the two major nuclear test sites managed by the USSR, used for air drops and underground testing of the largest of Soviet nuclear bombs, in particular the October 30, 1961 air burstexplosion of Tsar Bomba, the largest, most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated.


The Russians knew of Novaya Zemlya from the 11th century, when hunters from Novgorod visited the area. [10] For western Europeans, the search for the Northern Sea Route in the 16th century led to its exploration. [10] The first visit from a west European by Hugh Willoughby in 1553, and he puts Russian ships from the already established hunting trade. [10] Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz reached the west coast of Novaya Zemlya in 1594, and in a subsequent expedition of 1596 rounded the Northern point and wintered on the Northeast coast. [11](Barentsz died during the expedition, and was buried on the Northern island.[12] During a travel by Fyodor Litke in 1821-1824, the west coast was mapped . [10] Henry Hudson was another explorer who passed through Novaya Zemlya while searching for the Northeast Passage . [13]

The island was systematically surveyed by Pyotr Pakhtusov and Avgust Tsivolko in the early 1830s. The first permanent settlement was established in 1870 at Malye Karmakuly , which served as the capital of Novaya Zemlya until 1924. Later Belushya Guba , [6] [14] in 1935 to Lagernoe , [6] but then returned to Belushya Guba.

Small numbers of Nenets were resettled to Novaya Zemlya in the 1870s in a bid by Russia to keep out the Norwegians. This population, then numbering 298, was removed in 1957 before nuclear testing. [9] [15] [16] [17]

In 1943, during World War II , Novaya Zemlya served a secret seaplane base for the Nazis ‘ Kriegsmarine , to provide German surveillance of Allied ships en route to Siberia . The seaplane was established by U-255 and U-711 , which were operating along the northern coast of the United States of America on 13th U-boat Flotilla . Seaplane outings were flown in August and September 1943. [18]

Nuclear testing

In July 1954, Novaya Zemlya was designated as the Novaya Zemlya Test Site, which began in October [19] and existed during much of the Cold War . “Zone A”, Chyornaya Guba ( 70.7 ° N 54.6 ° E ), was used in 1955-1962 and 1972-1975. [19] “Zone B”, Matochkin Shar ( 73.4 ° N 54.9 ° E ), was used for underground tests in 1964-1990. [19] “Zone C”, Sukhoy Nos ( 73.7 ° N 54.0 ° E ), was used in 1958-1961 and was the site of the 1961 Tsar Bomba test, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated. [19]

Other tests occurred elsewhere throughout the islands, with an official testing range covering over half of the landmass. In September 1961, two propelled thermonuclear warheads were launched from Vorkuta Sovetsky and Salekhard to target areas on Novaya Zemlya. The launch rocket was subsequently deployed to Cuba.[20]

1963 saw the implementation of the Limited Test Ban Treaty which banned most atmospheric nuclear tests. [21] The largest underground test in Novaya Zemlya took place on September 12, 1973, involving four nuclear devices of 4.2 megatons total yield. ALTHOUGH far smaller in blast power than the Tsar Bomba and other atmospheric tests, the confinement of the blasts underground led to Pressures rivaling natural earthquakes . In the case of the September 12, 1973 test, a seismic magnitude of 6.97 on the Richter Scalewas reached, setting off an 80 million ton avalanche that blocked two glacial streams and created a lake 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) in length.[21]

Novaya Zemlya Hosted 224 nuclear detonations with a total explosive energy equivalent to 265 megatons of TNT. [19] For comparison, all explosives used in World War II, including the detonations of two US nuclear bombs, amounted to only two megatons. [21]

In 1988-1989, glasnost Helped make the Novaya Zemlya testing activities public knowledge, [19] and in 1990 Greenpeace activists staged a protest at the site. [22] The last nuclear test explosion was in 1990 (also the last for the Soviet Union and Russia). The Ministry for Atomic Energy has performed a series of subcritical underwater nuclear experiments near Matochkin Shar each autumn since 1998. [23] These tests reportedly involve up to 100 grams (3.5 oz ) of weapons-grade plutonium. [24]


See also: List of fjords of Russia and List of glaciers in Russia

Novaya Zemlya is an extension of the Northern part of the Ural Mountains , [25] and the interior is mountainous throughout. [10] It is separated from the mainland by the Kara Strait . [10] Novaya Zemlya consists of two major islands, separated by the narrow Matochkin Strait , as well as a number of smaller islands. The two main islands are:

  • Severny (Northern), which has a large ice cap , the Severny Island ice cap , and many active glaciers .
  • Yuzhny (Southern), which is largely unglaciated and has a tundra landscape. [8]

The coast of Novaya Zemlya is very indented, and it is the area with the largest number of fjords in the Russian Federation. Novaya Zemlya separates the Sea Barents from the Kara Sea . The total area is about 90,650 square kilometers (35,000 sq mi). The highest mountain is 1.547 meters (5.075 ft) high. [26]

Compared to other regions That Were off under ice sheets During the last glacial period Novaya Zemlya Shows Relatively little isostatic rebound . Possibly this is indebted to a counter-effect created by the growth of glaciers during the last few thousand years. [27]


The ecology of Novaya Zemlya is influenced by its severe climate, but the region still supports a diversity of biota . One of the most notable species is the polar bear , whose population in the Barents Sea region is genetically distinct from other polar bear subpopulations . [28]



  1. Jump up^ Law # 65-5-OZ
  2. Jump up^ Law # 258-vneoch.-OZ
  3. Jump up^ Russian Federal Statistical Service Statistics (2011). “Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года Том 1” [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service . Retrieved June 29, 2012 .
  4. Jump up^ Russian Federal Statistical Service Statistics (May 21, 2004). “Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек” [population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts Urban Localities, Rural Localities-Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS) . Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian) . Retrieved August 9, 2014 .
  5. Jump up^ “Новая земля – ​​история заселения” . . Retrieved 2012-09-27 .
  6. ^ Jump up to:c “Новая земля in 1917-1941 гг” . . Retrieved 2012-09-27 .
  7. Jump up^ “Microsoft Word – North Test Site _FINAL_.doc” (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  8. ^ Jump up to:c Novaya Zemlya in: “The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed” . Retrieved 2006-10-14 .
  9. ^ Jump up to:b Ядерные испытания СССР. Том 1. Глава 2 , p. 58.
  10. ^ Jump up to:f Novaya Zemlya in: “Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.)” . 1911. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007 . Retrieved 2006-10-14 .
  11. Jump up^ Whitfield, Peter (1998). New Found Lands: Maps in the History of Exploration . UK: Routledge. ISBN  0-415-92026-4 .
  12. Jump up^ “Search for Barents: Evaluation of Possible Burial Sites in North Novaya Zemlya, Russia”, Jaapjan J. Zeeberg et al.,ArcticVol. 55, No. 4 (December 2002) p. 329-338
  13. Jump up^ Henry Hudson in: Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2006 . Archived from the original on November 1, 2009 . Retrieved 2006-10-14 .
  14. Jump up^ “Health, science and education, history and trade among others – news review from the Arkhangelsk region” . 2005-08-03 . Retrieved 2012-09-27 .
  15. Jump up^ “Nenets”, Arctic Network for the Support of the Indigenous Peoples of the Russian Arctic
  16. Jump up^ “The Nenets”, The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
  17. Jump up^ “Nuclear Free Seas”, Greenpeace
  18. Jump up^ Warship InternationalNo. 3, 1987, p. 318.
  19. ^ Jump up to:f Khalturin Vitaly I .; Rautian, Tatyana G .; Richards, Paul G .; Leith, William S. (2005). “A Review of Nuclear Testing by the Soviet Union at Novaya Zemlya, 1955-1990” (PDF) . Science and Global Security . 13 (1): 1-42. doi : 10.1080 / 08929880590961862 . Archived from the original(PDF) on September 8, 2006 . Retrieved 2006-10-14 .
  20. Jump up^ “Testing the Kosmos 2 rocket” . . Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  21. ^ Jump up to:c Pratt, Sara (2005-11-28). “Frozen in Time: A Cold War Relic Gives Up Its Secrets” . Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University . Retrieved 2006-10-14 .
  22. Jump up^ “The early history of Greenpeace Russia” . Greenpeace Russia . Retrieved 2006-10-14 .
  23. Jump up^ Jasinski, Michael; Chuen, Cristina; Ferguson, Charles D. (October 2002). “Russia: Of truth and testing” . Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists . 58 (5): 60-65 . Retrieved 2009-09-22 . External link in( help ) |journal=
  24. Jump up^ “Russia: Central Test Site, Novaya Zemlya” . Nuclear Threat Initiative. 2003-07-30 . Retrieved 2006-10-14 .
  25. Jump up^ “Novaya Zemlya, Northern Russia” . NASA . Retrieved 2006-10-14 .
  26. Jump up^ Russian military mapping. The highest point is located at 75 ° 10’N 57 ° 50’E
  27. Jump up^ Feldskaar, Willy; Amantov, Aleksey (August 21, 2017). “Liten landheving på Novaya Zemlya?” . (in Norwegian) . Retrieved April 29,2016 .
  28. Jump up^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Polar Bear: Ursus maritimus ,, ed. Nicklas Stromberg ArchivedDecember 24, 2008, at theWayback Machine.
  29. Jump up^ “Weather and Climate-The Climate of Malye Karmakuly” (in Russian). Weather and Climate (Погода и климат) . Retrieved 27 February 2016 .
  30. Jump up^ “Malye Karmakuly Climate Normals 1961-1990” . National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved 27 February 2016 .


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