Mabel Island (Ostrov Meybel, Остров Мейбел) - Franz Josef Land

Map: Mabel Island between Bell Island and Bruce Island.


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General, landscape: Measuring maximally 10 km across, Mabel Island is situated in the south of Franz Josef Land, separated from neighbouring Opens internal link in current windowGeorge Land to the west by the Nigthingale Sound. Across the narrow passage Eira Harbour follows smaller Opens internal link in current windowBell Island to the southwest, while bigger Opens internal link in current windowBruce  Island is situated across Bates Sound to the northeast. The interior of Mabel Island is occupied by a tabular mountain group, 250-350m high, mostly covered by an ice cap. Only the southernmost top, with 356m also the highest, is free of ice, as are some sharply cut promontories and cliff edges peeking out of the ice cap. The coastline is mostly formed by glacier fronts, interrupted by a few rocks. The exception is the area of Cape Konrad in the south, where an ice-free low coastal area stretches over several kilometres under the steep slopes and cliffs of the mountains, partly covered by tundra vegetation.

History, names: Mabel Island was, like its neighbours Opens internal link in current windowBell and Opens internal link in current windowBruce, discovered, named and firsttime visited by the 1880 Leigh Smith expedition, which appreciated the narrow sound between Mabel and Bell Islands as a shelter, calling it Eira Harbour. With the island name, Leigh Smith honoured one of his favourite nieces, Mabel Ludlow.
Cape Konrad received its name in the Soviet period, commemorating the russian sailor Alexander Eduardowich Konrad (1890-1940), who was, together with Valerian Albanov, the only survivor of the Brussilov (ST ANNA) expedition, reaching via Bell Island finally Cape Flora, where they were rescued in 1914.
Some publications in print and on internet maintain that Mabel Island is named after Mabel Gardiner Hubbard, wife of the scottish-american inventor Alexander Graham Bell, to whom the same sources trace back the name of Opens internal link in current windowBell Island. In reality, there was no personal connection between Leigh Smith and the 20 years younger Graham Bell, and certainly not with his similarly younger american wife from Boston, while Leigh Smith liked to name several places in the area after women in his family (Bella, Flora, Mabel).

 

The highest mountain of Mabel Island, seen from neighbouring Bell Island.
Mabel Island from Southeast.
Mabel Island from West.
Mabel Island from Northwest.

Last Modification: 24.06.2013