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Home → February, 2017

Monthly Archives: February 2017 − News & Stories


New avalan­che at Hiorthfjel­let

A new avalan­che has descen­ded at Hiorthfjel­let on the north side of the Advent­da­len, oppo­si­te Lon­gye­ar­by­en. No one was har­med. Secu­ri­ty for­ces have inves­ti­ga­ted the site and found no dama­ge or trap­ped per­sons.

Hiorthfjel­let in sum­mer (Image: By Bjo­ert­ve­dt, Wiki­me­dia Com­mons)

Hiorthfjellet

The evacua­ti­on of most of the house­holds in Lon­gye­ar­by­en has now been part­ly can­ce­led. Howe­ver, nume­rous houses in Rou­te 222, 226 and 28 still remain clo­sed to the resi­dents. They were able to get per­so­nal items from their homes yes­ter­day during the day. The avalan­che warning still exists.

Souce: Sys­sel­man­nen

92 house­holds in Lon­gye­ar­by­en evacua­ted

92 house­holds in Lon­gye­ar­by­en are cur­r­ent­ly being evacua­ted becau­se fur­ther avalan­ches are fea­red. The avalan­che, which yes­ter­day dama­ged two houses in way 228, was obvious­ly unde­re­sti­ma­ted by the aut­ho­ri­ties in advan­ce. During the night at least one more avalan­che has come down on Gruve 7 way, but luck­i­ly without doing any dama­ge.

On the basis of an unclear situa­ti­on, the avalan­che warning was now rai­sed to the hig­hest level 4. 92 house­holds in Lon­gye­ar­by­en are being evacua­ted, but also a more exten­si­ve evacua­ti­on is con­si­de­red, and may­be the sports hall has to be used as an emer­gen­cy shel­ter. Two houses with six house­holds were yes­ter­day stron­gly dama­ged by avalan­ches. The­re was an avalan­che warning, but it did not affect any buil­dings.

Howe­ver, a lot of peop­le in Lon­gye­ar­by­en don’t trust the avalan­che warning sys­tem any­mo­re. Last year two peop­le were kil­led in an avalan­che acci­dent in their homes, which still awa­kens some bad memo­ries.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten, NVE

Avalan­che in Lon­gye­ar­by­en

On Tues­day mid day, an avalan­che from the moun­tain Suk­ker­top­pen hit houses in Lon­gye­ar­by­en and des­troy­ed two buil­dings in way 228, clo­se to the posi­ti­on of tho­se houses that were des­troy­ed during the avalan­che in Decem­ber 2015. Two lives were lost in 2015.

This time, peop­le have escaped with luck. As far as is known so far, the­re is no inju­ry or loss of life.

The­re had been strong eas­ter­ly winds and drif­ting snow sin­ce Mon­day evening, a wea­ther situa­ti­on simi­lar to that befo­re the 2015 avalan­che. The local admi­nis­tra­ti­on had issued an avalan­che warning with the con­clu­si­on that infra­st­ruc­tu­re and buil­dings in Lon­gye­ar­by­en were not at risk. This eva­lua­ti­on was obvious­ly wrong.

Tho­se direct­ly con­cer­ned expe­ri­en­ced some dra­ma­tic moments, but escaped with some luck.

The area hit and other ways that might be at risk as well as the pede­stri­an bridge Per­le­por­ten are clo­sed until fur­ther noti­ce from offi­cial side.

Place whe­re the avalan­che acci­dent occur­red

Lawinenunglück 21.02.2017

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

“Repo­si­to­ry” for plastic was­te at 2500 meters depth

Two rese­ar­chers from the Alfred Wege­ner Insti­tu­te in Bre­mer­ha­ven found lar­ge amounts of plastic was­te at a depth of 2500 meters on the seabed in the Frams­trait, a strait bet­ween Green­land and Spits­ber­gen.

From 2002 to 2014, the Frams­trait seabed was sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly pho­to­gra­phed with a remo­te-con­trol­led came­ra. The result of the stu­dy is dra­ma­tic: the deep sea threa­tens to beco­me a kind of “repo­si­to­ry for plastic was­te”, fears deep sea bio­lo­gist Dr. Mela­nie Berg­mann. In 2014 6333 plastic parts were coun­ted in the regi­on on a squa­re kilo­me­ter seabed! Alt­hough the­re is rela­tively litt­le human influ­ence here, the amount of plastic was­te is com­pa­ra­ble to that found clo­se to lar­ge cities, for examp­le in the lower waters of Lis­bon.

Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly just one of many: plastic bag – pho­to­graph taken at 2500 meters depth… (Image: Mela­nie Berg­mann, Alfred-Wege­ner-Insti­tut)

Platic bag on the seabed

Whe­re exact­ly the gar­ba­ge comes from, can not be said doubt­less­ly. What is cer­tain is that plastic was­te is also trans­por­ted into polar regi­ons with the Gulf Stream. In Frams­trait several lar­ge streams of sea meet. It is the only link bet­ween the polar sea and the oce­ans. But also the sea ice could trans­port plastic parts, says Dr. Mela­nie Berg­mann. If the ice melts in sum­mer, plastic was­te can be released.

At the begin­ning of Febru­a­ry an obvious­ly sick Cuvier’s Bea­ked Wha­le (Ziphi­us cavi­rostris) stran­ded on the island of Sotra clo­se to Ber­gen. The Cuvier’s Bea­ked Wha­le is actual­ly a deep-sea wha­le, which very rare­ly stays in coas­tal are­as. In his sto­mach, more than 30 plastic bags were found …

Source: Alfred-Wege­ner-Insti­tut, NRK, Aften­pos­ten

Sup­po­sed­ly extinct but­ter­fly dis­co­ve­r­ed

A small but­ter­fly, that was con­si­de­red to be extinct, ended up in the net of some rese­ar­chers in the north of Spits­ber­gen. Plut­el­la Pola­ris was last seen 147 years ago in 1870, befo­re Geir Søli dis­co­ve­r­ed it again.

The rese­ar­cher of the Natu­ral Histo­ry Muse­um in Oslo visi­ted Ring­horn­da­len in the Wij­defjor­den in sum­mer 2015 to map plants and insects in the area. When he dis­co­ve­r­ed a small gray but­ter­fly in the squid, he regar­ded it first as a clo­se rela­ti­ve of Plut­el­la pola­ris, which is cal­led Plut­el­la xylostella, a spe­ci­es more fre­quent in the north of Nor­way and some­ti­mes is blown to Spits­ber­gen by the wind. Ring­horn­da­len is a val­ley well pro­tec­ted from the wea­ther and the­re­fo­re rela­tively warm and fer­ti­le.

Plut­el­la Pola­ris, © Kars­ten Sun­de, Natur­his­to­risk Muse­um, Oslo, Nor­way

Plutella Polaris

The rather incon­spi­cuous but­ter­fly must have deve­lo­ped enor­mous adap­ti­ve abi­li­ties in order to sur­vi­ve in Spits­ber­gen. The litt­le guy would only in a very short peri­od in sum­mer be able to find enough food. Plut­el­la Pola­ris is one of only three spe­ci­es of but­ter­flies regis­tered on Spits­ber­gen.

The occur­rence or disap­pearan­ce of spe­ci­es is par­ti­cu­lar­ly inte­res­ting with regard to the effects of cli­ma­te chan­ge. Rese­ar­cher Geir Søli hopes that soon more exci­ting dis­co­ve­ries will fly into his net…

Source: Forskning.no, Sval­bard­pos­ten

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