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360 panorama of a dynamic high-arctic landscape

Mark­ham­breen is one of many gla­ciers on the south east coast of Spits­ber­gen. This wild coas­tal stretch is made up of steep moun­ta­ins and many gla­ciers bet­ween them. In con­trast to the west coast, the­re are no shel­te­red bays and fjords on this rather hosti­le coas­tal stretch.

But the gla­ciers are retrea­ting also here, giving way to small bays. This is the case for exam­p­le in Isbuk­ta, at Croll­breen or at Emil’janovbreen, all situa­ted in this lar­ger area, on the south east coast of Spits­ber­gen, at Storfjord.

Also at Mark­ham­breen, on aeri­al images taken in 2011 you can see a litt­le bay bet­ween the gla­cier and a small, flat pen­in­su­la, not much more than a beach with a litt­le lagoon, that has emer­ged from the retrea­ting gla­cier. Assum­ing that mean­while the gla­cier has retrea­ted far enough to enable a safe landing on the inner, shel­te­red part of the beach, we went to have a look in 2019. But – sur­pri­se! After that aeri­al image was shot, the gla­cier has advan­ced again, so the­re is not­hing left of that bay! The gla­cier is actual­ly sit­ting on that beach pen­in­su­la, having crea­ted litt­le push end morai­nes.

A fasci­na­ting exam­p­le of recent land­scape deve­lo­p­ment in this high arc­tic set­ting!



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last modification: 2020-09-17 · copyright: Rolf Stange