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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!


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