Kolchak Island

Kolchak Island or Kolchaka Island (Russian: остров Колчака, ostrov Kolchaka), is an island in the Kara Sea located in a coastal area of skerries NE of the Shturmanov Peninsula. It is near the southern end of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago, but not geographically part of it.

Kolchak Island
Native name:
остров Колчака
Map of the Taymyr group.
Kolchak Island
Location of Kolchak Island near the Nordenskjold Archipelago
LocationKara Sea
Length21 km (13 mi)
Width6.5 km (4.04 mi)
KraiKrasnoyarsk Krai

It was known as Rastorguyev Island (Russian: остров Расторгуева, ostrov Rastorguyeva) in the period between 1937 and 2005 .


Compared to other large islands in the area Kolchak has a quite regular shape.[1] Its length is 21 km and its maximum width 6.5 km. It is covered with tundra vegetation in the summer, but most of the year it lies under a shroud of snow.

Kolchak Island is located 40 km from the western end of the Taymyr Gulf and only 14 km southeast of Taymyr Island. It separated from the nearest coast by a narrow sound that is about one km in width in its narrowest stretch.

The climate in the area is severe, with long and bitter winters and frequent blizzards and gales. The sea surrounding Kolchak Island is covered with pack ice in the winter and there are numerous ice floes even in the summer, so that most of the year it is merged with the mainland.

Kolchak Island belongs to the Krasnoyarsk Krai administrative division of the Russian Federation and is part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve, the largest nature reserve of Russia.[2]


This island is named after Alexander Kolchak, its discoverer and explorer. He had joined Eduard Toll's 1900-1902 arctic expedition (The Russian Polar Expedition), which explored many little-known islands of the Kara Sea. The main aim of the expedition was to find the legendary Sannikov Land.[3]

Kolchak Island was first depicted on a map in 1901. In 1937 the Soviet government renamed it after Stepan Rastorguyev and for a few decades there were two Rastorguyev Islands in the Kara Sea, the other of which was in the Kamennyye group. Finally, on July 15, 2005 the former name of the island was restored.[4]

In 2009, a monument to Kolchak was erected in the northern part of the island.

See also


  1. Worldmaps - Location
  2. Russia - Great Arctic State Nature Reserve Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine
  3. William Barr, Baron Eduard von Toll’s Last Expedition, 1900-1903.
  4. On the name change of a geographical object in the Kara Sea: "…rename the Rastorguyev Island located in the Taymyr Gulf of the Kara Sea to Kolchak Island…" («…переименовать расположенный в Таймырском заливе Карского моря остров Расторгуева в остров Колчака…») However, one occasionally encounters confusion about which of the former Rastorguyev Islands was renamed; e.g. a former revision of this article was written about the wrong island.

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