Franz Josef Land Beneath the Clouds (Photo of the Day)

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite captured this image of Franz Josef Land as the clouds parted on August 14.

Franz Josef Land is an archipelago of 6 main islands and about 135 small islands, with a total landmass of about 16,134 square kilometers (6,229 square miles). Located in Russia’s far north, in the Arctic Ocean, it is north of Novaya Zemlya and east of Svalbard.

The glaciers on the islands are retreating, and this image shows many of the islands as being ice free. That being said, 85% of Franz Josef Land is perpetually covered in ice with an average thickness of  180 m (590 feet).

On Graham Bell Island (the large island on the eastern edge of the group) the Windy Dome Ice Cap reaches a depth of greater than 500 m (1,640 feet).

The archipelago is named for Franz Joseph the first, the Austro-Hungarian emperor at the time of the official discovery.

Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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