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Monthly Archives: October 2017 − News & Stories

Lon­gye­ar­by­en ceme­tery may be moved becau­se of avalan­che risk

The ceme­tery of Lon­gye­ar­by­en has been in a calm part of the val­ley Lon­gye­arda­len for about a cen­tu­ry, bet­ween the church and Huset, the old town mee­ting place. It is still an acti­ve ceme­tery, the last buri­als were in 2013 and the­re may be more in the future. Only urn buri­als are allo­wed, howe­ver.

The loca­ti­on of the ceme­tery is calm, but may­be not calm enough in the long term. The steep moun­tain slo­pes near­by have pro­du­ced avalan­ches in recent years, most­ly landslips after peri­ods of rain, which have reached the ter­rain around the ceme­tery. In the last sum­mer, even the road bet­ween the church and Huset was clo­sed for pro­lon­ged peri­ods. It is pro­bab­ly only a ques­ti­on of time until the ceme­tery its­elf is hit and bad­ly dama­ged.

This is a sce­n­a­rio which Lon­gye­ar­by­en church with priest Leif Magne Hel­ge­sen are not wil­ling to accept. Hel­ge­sen has taken initia­ti­ve and star­ted a deba­te which may lead to a relo­ca­ti­on of the ceme­tery. It is a place of peace and digni­ty, for which many peop­le have strong fee­lings, accord­ing to Hel­ge­sen. He rea­sons that it would accord­in­gly be irre­spon­si­ble to lea­ve the ceme­tery in a place whe­re it may suf­fer bad dama­ge.

First mee­tings with aut­ho­ri­ties like the Sys­sel­man­nen, who is respon­si­ble for monu­ment con­ser­va­ti­on, and the local admin­stra­ti­on have taken place. Aut­ho­ri­ties in Lon­gye­ar­by­en have expe­ri­ence with moving and secu­ring gra­ves from his­to­ri­cal gra­ves that are threa­tened by coas­tal ero­si­on. Moving a who­le ceme­tery would, howe­ver, be a pro­ject of an ent­i­re­ly dif­fe­rent sca­le. Also rela­ti­ves will have to be invol­ved.

A new loca­ti­on would natu­ral­ly be near the church, which is a quiet part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en and has are­as that are not at risk from avalan­ches and lands­li­des.

The ceme­tery in Lon­gye­ar­by­en may be moved due to the risk of lands­li­des and avalan­ches.

Cemetery Longyearbyen.

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Spits­ber­gen-calen­dar 2018: the sto­ries behind 2 mon­ths

The Sep­tem­ber-page of our Spits­ber­gen-calen­dar 2018

Spitzbergen-Kalender 2018: September. Walrusses and polar fox

Spits­ber­gen-Calen­der 2018: Sep­tem­ber. Wal­rus­ses and polar fox.

… shows a group of wal­rus­ses on the beach at Smee­ren­burg on Ams­ter­damøya doing what wal­rus­ses do best: slee­ping and diges­ting mus­sels. While we keep a respect­ful distance of a good 30 m in order not to dis­turb the wal­rus­ses during their nap, a chee­ky polar fox which does not care about regu­la­ti­ons and distan­ces runs direct­ly next to the wal­rus­ses! Who could not care less about the polar fox.

The polar fox left as quick­ly and unex­pec­ted­ly as it came, and only this snapshot remains from the memo­r­able encoun­ter.

And the Octo­ber-page …

Spitsbergen-Calender 2018: October. Bråsvellbreen, Nordaustland from a bird's eye view.

Spits­ber­gen-Calen­der 2018: Octo­ber. Brås­vell­breen, Nord­aus­t­land from a bird’s eye view.

… shows Brås­vell­breen. This migh­ty gla­cier belongs to the ice cap of Aus­t­fon­na on Nord­aus­t­land. The size is over­whel­ming, the ice cap has a total area of about 8500 squa­re kilo­me­tres! The gla­cier Brås­vell­breen is only a small part of that. It is well-known for the water­falls that are cas­ca­ding down the ice cliff during the mel­ting sea­son. Here, we see it from a bird’s eye per­spec­ti­ve!

Click here for more infor­ma­ti­on about the Spits­ber­gen calen­dar 2018.

White hump­back wha­le again seen in Sval­bard

White hump­back wha­les are a very rare phe­no­me­non. Glo­bal­ly, sci­en­tists know of three indi­vi­du­als. Two of them live in Aus­tra­li­an waters and a third one in the north Atlan­tic. The lat­ter one has recent­ly been seen again for the first time in years. First sightin­gs date back to 2004 and 2006, then near the north Nor­way coast. In August 2012, a white hump­back wha­le was sigh­ted several times east of Spits­ber­gen. It was most likely the same ani­mal as in 2004 and 2006. No pho­tos are known from tho­se ear­ly sightin­gs, but in 2012, a num­ber of ama­zing shots were taken. Espe­cial­ly note­wor­thy are tho­se taken by Dan Fisher, mate on the sai­ling ship Anti­gua, from the mast of the ship. Due to the high per­spec­ti­ve, almost the who­le ani­mal can be seen on the pho­tos.

Hump­back wha­les live in all of the world’s oce­ans. They are usual­ly most­ly dark grey to black. The bot­tom side and parts of the flu­ke and flip­pers are part­ly white. The exact pat­tern can be used to iden­ti­fy indi­vi­du­als, just like the fin­ger­print of humans.

Com­ple­te­ly white hump­back wha­les are very rare. The unusu­al colour is usual­ly due to leu­cism, a par­ti­al loss of pig­men­ta­ti­on which leads to pale or white colour. Only one of the two white hump­back wha­les in Aus­tra­lia is actual­ly an albi­no.

Now, the­re has been a sigh­t­ing of a white hump­back wha­le in the north Atlan­tic, the first one sin­ce 2012. The wha­le was seen in late Sep­tem­ber by sci­en­tists on board the rese­arch ves­sel Johan Hjort in eas­tern Sval­bard. This area is often fre­quen­ted by hump­back wha­les at this time of the year.

White hump­back wha­le in Hin­lo­pen Strait, pho­to­gra­phed on August 11 2012 by Dan Fisher.

White humpback whale

Source: Hav­forsk­nings­in­sti­tuttet


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