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Diesetsletta

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Die­sets­let­ta is a wide-open coas­tal plain (Nor­we­gi­an: slet­te) on the west coast of Spits­ber­gen, west of Krossfjord. Coas­tal plains of this kind are qui­te com­mon in Spits­ber­gen, espe­cial­ly on the west coast. Die­sets­let­ta is the nor­ther­most one on the outer coast, but this pecu­li­ar, lar­ge-sca­le land­s­cape fea­ture stret­ches all the way down the coast to the south cape and Sør­kap­pøya, inter­rup­ted only by the lar­ge fjords.

The geo­mor­pho­li­cal for­ma­ti­on of this spe­cial kind of coas­tal plain is not com­ple­te­ly unders­tood. They exist also in other parts of the world, nota­b­ly in Green­land and main­land Nor­way. All the­se regi­ons have been cove­r­ed mul­ti­ple times by lar­ge ice mas­ses during the Plei­sto­ce­ne. It is safe to say that they are essen­ti­al­ly mari­ne ero­si­on plat­forms, cut by wave action into solid rock. This pro­cess may have been enhan­ced by the ice age cli­ma­te. One pos­si­ble explana­ti­on would be that the iso­sta­tic lan­dri­se and sub­si­dence (due to the weight of the ice caps com­ing and going) was rough­ly syn­chro­nous with glo­bal sea level rise and fall (due to water­mas­ses being bound res­pe­tively released with the com­ing and going of the plei­sto­ce­ne ice caps). So the wave could attack rough­ly on the same alti­tu­de level over long geo­lo­gi­cal time sca­les, rather than shif­ting up and down in alti­tu­de against a land­mass that remai­ned con­stant.

All right? 🙂

Pan­ora­ma 1 – Die­sets­let­ta: the coast

Tal­king about the coast … here it is, most­ly rocky. This is whe­re the surf of the open oce­an is con­stant­ly hit­ting the shore which is com­ple­te­ly expo­sed. You will find gra­vel beaches only in small bays that have some very local shel­ter. If you have the chan­ce to look for such bays then you may actual­ly find some beau­ti­ful hid­den pla­ces! But only on an excep­tio­nal­ly calm day like this Fri­day in ear­ly August 2018. The open sea was flat calm so we could just not let the oppor­tu­ni­ty pass without explo­ring this rare­ly visi­ted coast. The­re is actual­ly a hut a bit to the south of our actu­al posi­ti­on, which is used by peop­le from Ny-Åle­sund who go the­re to fish arc­tic char.

Pan­ora­ma 2 – Die­sets­let­ta: the tun­dra

As soon as you move just a few metres away from the coast, you are sur­roun­ded by a vast, spar­se­ly vege­ta­ted tun­dra land­s­cape. Here you could hike for days on end! If it was just not so dif­fi­cult to get here …

Die­sets­let­ta is named after Han­na Res­voll-Holm­sen (1873-1943, mai­den name Res­voll), a Nor­we­gi­an bota­nist and envi­ron­men­ta­list and the first woman who came to Spits­ber­gen as a sci­en­tist. When Han­na Res­voll mar­ried for the first time, her name chan­ged to Res­voll-Die­set. She par­ti­ci­pa­ted in several expe­di­ti­ons from 1907 to 1910. Later she mar­ried Gun­nar Holm­sen, a Nor­we­gi­an geo­lo­gist who was and still is ano­t­her well-known name wit­hin Nor­we­gi­an explo­ra­ti­on of Spits­ber­gen during that peri­od in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry.

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last modification: 2019-12-05 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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