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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.


By the way:

New book

my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (3): Die Bären­in­sel und Jan May­en”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!


This and other publishing products of the Spitsbergen publishing house in the Spitsbergen-Shop.

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