Wrangel Island (Russian: о́стров Вра́нгеля, Ostrov Vrangelja; Chukchi Умӄилир, Umqilir, “Polar Bear Island”) is a Russian island of about 7,600 square kilometers in the Arctic Ocean in the Chukchi Sea and Eastern Siberia. It is separated from the mainland by the 110-kilometer-wide Long Strait. Wrangel Island belongs to the Chukotka Autonomous District. The highest point of the island is Sovetskaya Mountain (1,096 meters).
The nature of Wrangel Island as an Arctic island is unusually diverse. The vegetation is predominantly tundra, but the flora includes species that normally grow further south in the subarctic, North American species not found elsewhere in Asia, and an exceptional number of native species. The Wrangel Island polar bear population is the largest in Russia and the wolverine population the largest in the world. The birds on the island are rich in nests, including snow geese. In addition, according to paleontologists, the world's last wool mammoths lived there 4,000 years ago.
Evidence has been found on the island of Wrangel of the paleoeskes that settled there 3,500 years ago. Eduard Dallmann, a German whaler, probably first arrived on the island in 1866. However, the island was named after Ferdinand von Wrangel, who had previously sought it. In 1916, Russia declared Wrangel Island its affiliation. The island also began to be inhabited, and the village of Ushakovski was inhabited until the 21st century. Wrangel Island and nearby Gerald Island were protected in 1976 and selected for the World Heritage List in 2004. Wrangel Island is strictly protected and only scientific expeditions have access to the protected area. Tourism is directed somewhat to the surroundings of the village of Ušakovskoye, which is not part of the protected area.
Location and surface shapes
Wrangel Island is an elongated island of 125 kilometers with an area of 7,609 square kilometers. It is located in the Arctic Ocean in northeastern Russia. The island is separated from the mainland by the Long Strait, and the island itself separates the East Siberian Sea from the Chukchi Sea. The island is 140 kilometers from mainland Siberia. Geographically, Wrangel Island can be divided into a southern coastal plain about 15 kilometers wide, a central mountain range about 40 kilometers wide and a northern coastal plateau about 25 kilometers wide. In the central part of Wrangelin Island is the Tsentralny Mountains, which are broken by valleys and rise to a maximum of 1,096 meters. However, most of the mountains remain within 500 meters. The mountains are bordered on the west, north and south by hills 200 to 600 meters high. Even the area bordering the central mountains is divided by valleys and is a kind of peneplan. In places, the mountains extend all the way to the shore and form steep slopes and cliffs. In particular, the northern part of the island is a vast alluvial plain with Holocene-era karst basins. The island has 1,400 rivers of at least one kilometer in length, five of which are over 50 kilometers in length. The island also has 900 lakes with a total area of 80 square kilometers. There are lakes especially in the northern lowlands. They have formed mainly as a result of karst activity, but some of the largest lakes have formed from coastal lagoons.
Bedrock and soil
Geologically, the rock material of Wrangel Island can be divided into three units. The oldest of these is the so-called “Wrangel Complex”. The central mountains of the island belong to this unit. It is composed of old metamorphic rocks and magmatic rocks. The Late Tertiary complex has mudstone, siltstone and dark claystone. Elder