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Edgeøya map

For more, detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on: the Gui­de­book Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard

Guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard

Gene­ral: Edgeøya (‘Edge-Island’) is the third-lar­gest island wit­hin the Sval­bard archi­pe­la­go, with 5150 km2. It is named after Tho­mas Edge, an Eng­lish wha­ler of the 17th cen­tu­ry. It is pro­tec­ted as part of of the Sou­the­ast Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ve.

Geo­lo­gy: As Bar­entsøya. Rather uni­form Tri­as­sic sedi­ments (lower Meso­zoic, 205-250 mil­li­on years ago), sand-, silt- and clay­stone. The­se were depo­si­ted in shal­low shelf seas and near the coast (del­ta sedi­ments etc.), part­ly in an anoxic (lack of oxy­gen) envi­ron­ment, thus rich in orga­nic mat­ter and often rather dark in appe­re­an­ce. The sedi­ments are lar­ge­ly unde­for­med, the lay­ers have more or less kept their ori­gi­nal, hori­zon­tal posi­ti­on. Some lay­ers are very rich in fos­sils (ammo­ni­tes, shells etc.). Some of the del­taic sand­stones con­tain thin coal seams, but due to their low quan­ti­tiy and qua­li­ty, they are not of eco­no­mic inte­rest.

Wit­hin the tri­as­sic sedi­ments, the­re is one lay­er of black paper shale which often forms steep cliffs, visi­ble for examp­le on both sides of the Free­man­sund. Whe­re small rivers are cut­ting through it, the­re are often litt­le can­yons.

Weathered sediments on Edgeøya

Siltstone cra­cked up by frost on Edgeøya.

The­re are doleri­tic (‘basaltic’) intru­si­ons in some pla­ces from the upper Juras­sic to Cret­ace­ous. Becau­se of their rela­ti­ve hard­ness, the­se intru­si­ons often form capes, islands and pro­tru­ding cliffs in other­wi­se rather gent­le slo­pes or, respec­tively, uni­form coast­li­nes.

Recom­men­ded book for fur­ther, well-digesta­ble (real­ly!) info about geo­lo­gy and land­s­cape of Sval­bard.

Land­s­cape: As Bar­entsøya. Wide pla­teau-shaped moun­tains and open val­leys. Less gla­cia­ti­on than in eas­tern Spits­ber­gen, which is hig­her and recei­ves more pre­ci­pi­ta­ti­on.

Click here for pan­ora­ma images of Edgeøya sce­ne­ry.

Whalebone in Rosenbergdalen, Edgeøya

An old whalebo­ne beco­m­ing part of the rich tun­dra again.

Flo­ra and Fau­na: As Bar­entsøya, high arc­tic. The tun­dra is often very rich, alt­hough with less spe­ci­es than near the west coast of Spits­ber­gen. The rich tun­dra sup­ports a strong popu­la­ti­on of rein­de­er.

Cotton grass on Edgeøya

Cot­ton grass. Edgeøya.

Steep cliffs (Tri­as­sic paper shales) are home to colo­nies of Kit­ti­wa­kes, which attract Arc­tic foxes. Important migra­ti­on and den­ning area for polar bears.

The­re are several res­ting sites for wal­rus at and near Edgeøya, which seem to be incre­a­sing in num­bers in recent years. In July 2006, I have seen the big­gest herd of wal­rus I have ever seen so far in the Edgeøya area.

Histo­ry: Dis­co­ve­r­ed in the ear­ly 17th cen­tu­ry by wha­lers, and pos­si­b­ly known to the Pomors even ear­lier than that. The Pomors estab­lis­hed a num­ber of hun­ting sta­ti­ons and used them well into the 19th cen­tu­ry. In the late 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry, sou­the­as­tern Edgeøya was an important area for Nor­we­gi­an trap­pers to hunt polar bears.

Trappers' hut on Edgeøya

Nor­we­gi­an trap­per hut, sou­the­as­tern Edgeøya. Built by the Nor­we­gi­an polar bear hun­ter Hen­ry Rudi in 1946.

The Swe­dish-Rus­si­an Arc-de-Meri­di­an expe­di­ti­on (1899-1904) had a sta­ti­on at Kapp Lee (or, more pre­cise­ly, Doleritt­ne­set). At the same place, Dut­ch bio­lo­gists estab­lis­hed a rese­arch sta­ti­on in the late 1960s, whe­re they also win­te­red to do rese­arch main­ly on polar bears. The sta­ti­on was aban­do­ned after a few years.

Kapp Lee, Edgeøya

Kapp Lee/Dolerittneset with old houses and an unusual­ly lar­ge num­ber of whal­rus.

Edgeøya (gal­le­ry)

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


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: 2014-10-28 · copyright: Rolf Stange