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Edgeøya: Tjuvfjordskarvet

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Inner Tjuvfjord on Edgeøya is not exact­ly amongst the well-trod­den paths in Sval­bard. Unchar­ted waters make access dif­fi­cult. His­to­ri­cal­ly, though, this area was visi­ted a lot in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry by trap­pers, most­ly Nor­we­gi­ans, who wan­ted to hunt polar bears. The­re are still some huts in the lar­ger area that date back to tho­se years, such as the one that „polar bear king“ Hen­ry Rudi built on Andréet­an­gen or the famous hut Bjør­ne­borg on Halvmå­neøya.

Inner Tjuvfjor­den was rare­ly visi­ted by trap­pers (or anyo­ne else) and when, then usual­ly to hunt rein­de­er for their own sup­plies.

In many pla­ces the­re is a wide, flat coas­tal plain bet­ween the moun­tains and the coast. Here at Tjuvfjords­kar­vet, on the west side of Tjuvfjord, this coas­tal plain is very flat and bar­ren. The­re are many old whalebo­nes, and the­re, the tun­dra is a bit gree­ner than else­whe­re.

After a walk of several kilo­me­ters we have now reached the moun­tain chain, which is, cha­rac­te­ris­ti­cal­ly for Edgeøya and neigh­bou­ring Bar­entsøya, flat on the top. The­re is an iso­la­ted litt­le moun­tain cal­led Fløya at the sou­thern end of this chain of pla­teau-top­ped moun­tains. This first pan­ora­ma was shot at the foot of the can­yon that sepa­ra­tes Fløya from the neigh­bou­ring moun­tains.

Pan­ora­ma Tjuvfjords­kar­vet 1/4

Here we are a litt­le bit hig­her up, on the shoul­der of the can­yon, next to the ent­ran­ce. Can­yons like this one are typi­cal for Edgeøya (and Bar­entsøya). They cut always into the same seri­es of sedi­ment lay­ers which are easi­ly ero­ded but able to sup­port steep slo­pes. The size of this par­ti­cu­lar can­yon is qui­te impres­si­ve, but the­re are, in con­trast to other ones, only very few bree­ding birds on the slo­pes. Here, the­re are only some black guil­lemots spread on the nar­row led­ges.

Pan­ora­ma Tjuvfjords­kar­vet 2/4

After a short ascent we have reached the pla­teau in an alti­tu­de of a good 250 metres. This pla­teau is wide-stret­ching, reaching several kilo­me­tres fur­ther to the nor­the­ast bet­ween Tjuvfjord and the gla­cia­ted inland of Edgeøya. The ascent takes us across wea­the­red sedi­men­ta­ry rocks dating into the Tri­as­sic. You may find fos­sils inclu­ding mus­sels and ammo­ni­tes in the­se rocks, or even pie­ces of bones belon­ging to mari­ne dino­saurs (plio­saur, ple­sio­saur). Just remem­ber that it is not allo­wed to take anything away from here, Edgeøya is a natu­re reser­ve and ever­ything is strict­ly pro­tec­ted.

Pan­ora­ma Tjuvfjords­kar­vet 3/4

We con­ti­nue a bit hig­her up on this pla­teau to get the full view. This is real­ly worth the effort: we have good views of the coas­tal plain, whe­re the inter­ac­tion of cur­rent and sedi­ment sup­ply from a gla­cial river has crea­ted an inte­res­ting seri­es of small pen­in­su­las, islands and shal­low lagoons, the wide Tjuvfjord and the lar­ge lagoon of Tjuvfjor­d­la­gu­na, cur­r­ent­ly trap­ped in drift ice, in the distance.

Pan­ora­ma Tjuvfjords­kar­vet 4/4

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last modification: 2019-09-10 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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