Unlike the vegetated tundra of its neighboring islands, Bunge Land is a barren sandy plain that also serves as a land bridge.
Bunge Land is one of the most unusual places in the Siberian Arctic. Unlike the vegetated tundra and bedrock surfaces of its neighboring islands, Bunge Land (Zemlya Bunge) is a barren sandy plain. It was discovered in the 1800s and later named after the Russian explorer Alexander von Bunge. Because of its remote location and unique geography, this patch of land has been understudied compared to surrounding regions in Siberia.
The image above shows the central region of Bunge Land on September 11, 2020, as observed by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. The image below shows a wider view with the sandy plain sandwiched between two neighboring islands. This image was acquired on August 12, 2012, by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.
Bunge Land belongs to the Anzhu Islands in the New Siberian Islands archipelago. The 7,000 square kilometer (3,000 square mile) plain is actually a land bridge connecting Kotelny Island and Fadeevsky Island. Some researchers theorize that movements of Earth’s crust caused a patch of seafloor to rise above the water line.
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Image via NASA Earth Observatory