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Ekmanfjord: Coraholmen


The litt­le island of Cora­hol­men is a jewel in terms of sce­n­ery and natu­ral histo­ry. It is sur­roun­ded by impres­si­ve moun­ta­ins inclu­ding Kolos­se­um (hig­hest part visi­ble: 605 met­res) and Kapi­tol (858 met­res). This may not seem to high, but the­se moun­ta­ins are not just nevert­hel­ess impres­si­ve and beau­tiful, but sim­ply uni­que in terms of their appearance and cha­rac­ter.

The same holds true for Cora­hol­men. For mil­le­nia fol­lo­wing the last major gla­cia­ti­on (some­thing like 10,000 years ago, or a bit more), the island had been a flat, green tun­dra island, until the gla­cier Sef­strömnbreen advan­ced rapidly and stron­gly in the late 19th cen­tu­ry, tur­ning Coraholmen’s wes­tern part into a cha­os of morai­ne hills and mud­dy ponds. The red-colou­red sand­stone (devo­ni­an Old Red) in the catch­ment area of Sef­ström­breen is respon­si­ble for the love­ly red­dish colour. Shells and colo­ny of cal­care­ous algae, simi­lar to corals, make it very clear that the gla­cier picked up some bits and pie­ces of fjord bot­tom and mari­ne sedi­ment alre­a­dy on the island (rai­sed bea­ches) befo­re mixing ever­y­thing up into a huge morai­ne land­scape. Hence, it is pos­si­ble to recon­s­truct quite a bit of land­scape evo­lu­ti­on: start­ing with the depo­si­ti­on of the devo­ni­an Old Red almost 400 mil­li­on years ago, through the ice-age gla­cia­ti­on, fol­lo­wed by the for­ma­ti­on of rai­sed bea­ches (still pre­sent on the eas­tern part of Cora­hol­men) by post-gla­cial coun­ter-iso­sta­tic land uplift (not clear? Read Rocks and Ice), gla­cier advan­ces during the 19th cen­tu­ries Litt­le Ice Age and the pro­no­un­ced retre­at sin­ce then.

And the­re is, of cour­se, wild­life. Arc­tic terns, geese and ducks in lar­ge num­bers. You have to exer­cise gre­at care while moving around during the bree­ding sea­son. The­re are Red-throa­ted divers on some of the ponds, and in 2013, we had a won­derful encoun­ter with a rare Sabine’s gull on Cora­hol­men.

Cora­hol­men has a slight­ly smal­ler neigh­bour, Flin­thol­men, which has gone through the same histo­ry and is accor­din­gly simi­lar in terms of land­scape and appearance.



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last modification: 2014-06-05 · copyright: Rolf Stange