By Cailey Rizzo
October 23, 2019

The Russian navy announced this week that it has found five new islands in the arctic due to glacial melting.

The islands, that were first spotted in 2016 and monitored via satellite, were recently confirmed after an expedition that lasted from August to September of this year, according to state-run news agency TASS.

A member of the Russian Northern Fleets expedition on the Franz Josef Land archipelago. The expedition members have raised the Russian flag at the northernmost point of Eurasia, Cape Fligeli on Rudolf Island, part of Franz Josef Land, and thus finished the Three Flags over the Archipelago historical and patriotic campaign.
| Credit: TASS via Getty Images

"Basically, this [discovery] is associated with the melting of ice," expedition leader and Vice Admiral Aleksandr Moiseev said on Tuesday. "Previously these were glaciers, but the melting of ice led to the islands emerging."

Moiseev noted that in due time each island will be named. They are located in an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, northwest of the Russian mainland, and range in size from about 9,690 to 586,630 square feet (which is as big as 10 football fields), according to CNN.

Members of the Russian Northern Fleets expedition on the Franz Josef Land archipelago.
| Credit: TASS via Getty Images

The team went to explore the archipelago during the warmer months in hopes of seeing what landmasses emerged. They were joined by scientists and documentary filmmakers from the Russian Geographical Society and the Russian Arctic National Park.

“We were very lucky because we could land on islands where not every year the shore and the inshore water is free of ice,” commander of the northern fleet’s expedition force Denis Krets said, told The Guardian.

A similar discovery was made in Canada earlier this year, when the Canadian Arctic melted to reveal land that has been submerged under glaciers for at least the last 40,000 years, CNN reported.

Canadian researchers reported that the arctic warming in Canada is twice as fast as the rest of the planet and that heating is likely to have a wide-ranging effect, including increased risk of drought and wildfires throughout the world.