The islands, which are on the coast of the remote Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, are the result of melting glaciers.
Marina Migunova made the discoveries in 2016 while a student at the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping in St. Petersburg. The Moscow Times reports that Migunova was on a research vessel from Russia’s Northern Fleet when she made the discoveries. She is now an engineer on the same hydrographic vessel, the report added.
In a statement, Russia’s Ministry of Defense explained that naval and civilian scientists recently took part in an expedition to the five newly discovered islands, where “[t]opographic surveys were conducted."
The islands range in size from 900 square meters (9,688 square feet) to 54,500 square meters (585,557 square feet), according to Russian defense officials.
A number of countries, including Russia, are focusing their attention on the Arctic as melting ice opens up new sea routes for trade and other opportunities.
In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin put forward an ambitious program to reaffirm his country's presence in the Arctic, including efforts to build ports and other infrastructure and expand its icebreaker fleet. Russia wants to stake its claim in the region that is believed to hold up to one-fourth of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas.
Environmentalists remain concerned about melting sea ice in the region. In Iceland, for example, officials and environmentalists recently unveiled a memorial plaque for a glacier recognized as the country’s first to disappear as a result of climate change.
In 2016 scientists at the Russian Arctic National Park unearthed the remains of a secret Nazi base on the remote island of Alexandra Land in the Franz Josef Land archipelago.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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