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Panorama of a mountain in Lady Franklinfjord


View from Teo­do­litt­kol­len over Lady Fran­k­lin­fjord to the north.

Teo­do­lit­kol­len (“theo­do­li­te hill”) is a small and quite lone­so­me moun­tain in Lady Fran­k­lin­fjord in the nor­thwes­tern part of Nord­aus­t­lan­det, Svabard’s second-lar­gest island. This part of the archi­pe­la­go gets very few visi­tors becau­se the waters are poor­ly char­ted and the­re are defi­ni­te­ly some dan­ge­rous shal­lows.

Geo­lo­gi­cal­ly spea­king, the area con­sists most­ly of shists deri­ved from fine-grai­ned sedi­ments inclu­ding silts­tone, sand­stone and marl. The who­le stuff is quite old, it is belie­ved to be of neo­pro­tero­zoic age. In abso­lu­te num­bers, it is bet­ween 960 and 650 mil­li­on years old. We don’t know more than that. Any­way, it’s old. Back then, the­re was no life on land and wha­te­ver lived in the oce­ans loo­ked much dif­fe­rent from what is living the­re today.

The prac­ti­cal advan­ta­ge of the­se shists is that when wea­the­ring in a cold cli­ma­te, they pro­du­ce most­ly a rela­tively fine-grai­ned sedi­ment which is rela­tively com­for­ta­ble to walk on. Anyo­ne who ever tried to walk across the lar­ge, often sharp-edged bould­ers deri­ved from wea­the­ring in gra­ni­te- and gneiss are­as fur­ther east on the north coast of Nord­aus­t­land, for exam­p­le on Cherm­si­deøya, will know what I mean.

Pan­ora­ma 1: on the nor­t­hern end of the pla­teau-shaped top of Teo­do­litt­kol­len,
with a free view to the north.

So the pro­blem is not to get up on Teo­do­litt­kol­len. The pro­blem is to get the­re in the first place 🙂 once you are the­re, get­ting up to the top at a mode­ra­te alti­tu­de of 156 m is not too much of a chall­enge at all. And the view is stun­ning!

Lady Franklinfjord

Coast­li­ne in Lady Fran­k­lin­fjord.

One one side, the­re is the view to the north, over the outer part of Lady Fran­k­lin­fjord. This area is among­st the most bar­ren polar desert kind of land­scapes you can ima­gi­ne. Upon loo­king clo­se­ly you will find a lone­so­me flower every now and then may­be a spi­der plant (pho­to in the gal­lery below) or a Sval­bard pop­py. But the­re is not much vege­ta­ti­on at all.

Pan­ora­ma 2: the “top” of Teo­do­litt­kol­len.

At the same time, this bar­ren land­scape is very rich in details. The flat ter­rain is almost com­ple­te­ly cover­ed with rai­sed bea­ches, wit­nesses of post-gla­cial land uplift. And the coast­li­ne is, in places, cha­rac­te­ri­sed by an inte­res­t­ing inter­play of land and water, resul­ting in small bays and pen­in­su­la, lagoons and islands. The­re are also some very striking examp­les of this a bit fur­ther to the nor­thwest, in Fran­k­lin­sund.

Lady Franklinfjord: Franklinbreane

Fran­k­lin­brea­ne, the gla­ciers in inner­most Lady Fran­k­lin­fjord.

And then the­re is the view to the south. The gla­ciers Fran­k­lin­brea­ne are the scenic eye­cat­cher in the area. Here, the migh­ty ice cap of Ves­t­fon­na pushes two lar­ge gla­ciers around a moun­tain that sepa­ra­tes them and into the fjord. The­se gla­ciers are often very acti­ve, fil­ling the water with a lot of ice bergs and ber­gy bits.

Pan­ora­ma 3: on the sou­thern end of the pla­teau-shaped top of Teo­do­litt­kol­len,
with a free view to the gla­ciers in the south.

Teo­do­litt­kol­len and Lady Fran­k­lin­fjord: pho­to gal­lery

And final­ly some impres­si­ons with views from Teo­do­litt­kol­len.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.



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last modification: 2021-10-17 · copyright: Rolf Stange