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Home → July, 2010

Monthly Archives: July 2010 − News & Stories

Two padd­lers and an bear

Two young Nor­we­gi­ans had set out to cir­cum­na­vi­ga­te the who­le archi­pe­la­go of Spits­ber­gen, inclu­ding Nord­aus­t­land, in their sea kay­aks, but their jour­ney came to a very sud­den end on the north coast of Nord­aus­t­land, when they were taken by sur­pri­se by an aggres­si­ve polar bear in their tent during the night. The trip wire, which had been set up cor­rect­ly, was not trig­ge­red when the bear ente­red the camp and drag­ged one of the two young men out of his slee­ping bag and away from the camp. The second padd­ler mana­ged to shoot the bear soon. Both men were soon brought to hos­pi­tal with the governor’s heli­c­op­ter. The inju­ries of the one who was pul­led out of the tent by the bear were not serious and he reco­ver­ed quick­ly, as expec­ted.

It is still unknown why the trip wire had fai­led when the bear wal­ked through. Two pins were pul­led out of the mecha­nism, as they are sup­po­sed to, but the alarm mines did not explo­de. A few days ear­lier, some wind had been enough to trig­ger the alarm.

Two paddlers and an bear

During sum­mer, when the sea ice is retrea­ting from the coast, access to seals, their main prey, is more dif­fi­cult for polar bears. If they remain on shore, they will try to find car­ri­on, bird eggs or any­thing else that is digesta­ble, which can make hun­gry bears dan­ge­rous also for man. In Spits­ber­gen, it is com­mon (and requi­red) to pro­tect camps with trip wire during the night. Alter­na­tively, dogs can ser­ve the same pur­po­se.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten and Sys­sel­man­nen

New geo­de­tic sta­ti­on plan­ned in Ny Åle­sund

The Nor­we­gi­an map­ping aut­ho­ri­ty wants to estab­lish a new geo­de­tic sta­ti­on at Bran­dals­pyn­ten near Ny Åle­sund. Both the Nor­we­gi­an Polar Insti­tu­te and NERC (Natu­ral Envi­ron­ment Rese­arch Coun­cil, Groß­bri­tan­ni­en) are against the plan in its cur­rent shape. They agree that exis­ting infra­struc­tu­re should be used for the pur­po­se, rathern than buil­ding new bridges and roads. NERC fears that other pro­jects might fol­low in case aut­ho­ri­ties open for estab­li­shing new buil­dings and infra­struc­tu­re out­side Ny Åle­sund. Until now, the area around Bran­dals­pyn­ten is untouch­ed wil­der­ness.


New geodetic station planned in Ny Ålesund - Koldewey

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Under­ground CO2 sto­rage in Advent­da­len

Rese­ar­ches are curr­ent­ly working to estab­lish the reser­voir capa­ci­ty of sand­stone lay­ers in Advent­da­len for car­bon dioxi­de. The equip­ment used for pre­vious tests has not been strong enough to explo­re the full poten­ti­al. Test­ing is done by pum­ping water into the lay­ers 970 met­res under the sur­face, start­ing with a rate of 10 liters/minute and incre­asing gra­du­al­ly to 500 liters/minute. The results will help to eva­lua­te the ques­ti­on if the lay­ers in ques­ti­on are sui­ta­ble to store lar­ge amounts of car­bon dioxi­de safe­ly. If so, car­bon dioxi­de will be pres­sed down in liquid sta­te, thus water as test­ing sub­s­tance. A 400 meter thick per­ma­frost lay­er is sup­po­sed to keep the liquid gas insi­de. If test­ing works accor­ding to plan, UNIS sci­en­tists plan to con­ti­nue with fur­ther test dril­lings in 2011.

Advent­da­len in sum­mer 2010: the street from Lon­gye­ar­by­en to mine 7 is pas­sing the old nor­t­hern light obser­va­to­ry and the blue, chim­ney-like buil­ding were test dril­ling for the CO2 sto­rage site is car­ri­ed out.

Underground CO2 storage in Adventdalen - Nordslysstation

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Will Bear Island get its own cenotaph?

The fishery sup­port ves­sel »Petro­za­vodsk«, that ran aground on Bear Island in May 2009, will until fur­ther remain in its posi­ti­on on the sou­the­as­tern coast of the island. Aut­ho­ri­ties have not yet deci­ded how to deal with the wreck. Seve­ral opti­ons have been dis­cus­sed, among­st them lea­ving it whe­re it is, sin­king it in deeper waters or cut­ting it up and remo­ving it. All of the­se opti­ons have in com­mon that they have envi­ron­men­tal effects and are expen­si­ve. Mean­while, the ves­sel has bro­ken up into two parts, which are still on the rocks direct­ly under seve­ral hundred meters high, near-ver­ti­cal cliffs, which makes all ope­ra­ti­ons dif­fi­cult and dan­ge­rous. Oil, fuel and other dan­ge­rous liquids and goods were remo­ved soon after the wrecka­ge; it can­not be excluded that fur­ther dan­ge­rous sub­s­tances have remain­ed on board.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Third EIS­CAT-anten­na

The instal­la­ti­ons of EIS­CAT (Euro­pean Inco­her­ent Scat­ter) near mine 7 will be enlar­ged with a third anten­na, which will be the big­gest one. The pro­ject is main­ly finan­ced from Chi­na, that is inte­res­ted in the data becau­se of plan­ned space ope­ra­ti­ons. The addi­tio­nal anten­na may be ope­ra­ti­ve in 2013.

EIS­CAT-anten­na 2008: one out of four simi­lar instal­la­ti­ons in Scan­di­na­via. The sys­tem is run by 7 nati­ons.

Third EISCAT-antenna

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Polar Star aground

On June 30, MV Polar Star ran aground on a rock north of Horn­sund (south of Dunøya­ne). The sur­pri­sing aspect is the fact that the shal­low is actual­ly mark­ed on the most recent sea charts, but as it tur­ned out, older ver­si­ons were used on board, which do not include the rock. The­re were no inju­ries or los­ses and dama­ge to the hull was not signi­fi­cant. The governor’s ves­sel and the coast guard were soon in the area to eva­lua­te the situa­ti­on and assist, if neces­sa­ry. The 67 pas­sen­gers of MV Polar Star were soon trans­fer­red to MV Fram, ano­ther crui­se ship that was in the area. MV Polar Star could con­ti­nue its regu­lar ser­vice alre­a­dy July 03.

MV Polar Star has been used as crui­se ship in Spits­ber­gen waters for a num­ber of years and has fre­quent­ly visi­ted the area in ques­ti­on befo­re.

Dunøya­ne north of Horn­sund, whe­re MV Polar Star ran aground on June 30. The coast of the main island in the back­ground.

Polar Star aground - Nordre Dunoya

Sourcen: Sys­sel­man­nen, Sval­bard­pos­ten und Mil­jøsta­tus på Sval­bard


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