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Tusenøyane

Tusenøyane map

Gene­ral: The name ‘Tus­enøya­ne’ is descrip­ti­ve and means ‘Thousand Islands’, which is inde­ed appro­pria­te. It is a lar­ge num­ber of small islands and rocks, none lar­ger than a very few km2. They are qui­te expo­sed to the open sea and in shal­low, not very well char­ted waters, so most of them are qui­te inac­ces­si­ble. They are part of the Sou­the­ast Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ve. Sin­ce 2014, most of Tus­enøya­ne may not be visi­ted any­mo­re from 15th May to 15th August each year to pro­tect birds. Addi­tio­nal­ly, some of the island may not be visi­ted any­mo­re at all (Zieg­lerøya, Delit­schøya, most of Halvmå­neøya) to pro­tect his­to­ri­cal remains. The­se restric­tions are stron­gly con­tro­ver­si­al, but they are in for­ce.

For more, detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on: the Gui­de­book Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard

Guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard

Geo­lo­gy: The Tus­enøya­ne con­sist ent­i­re­ly of dolerite/diabas rocks (both very simi­lar to basalt), upper Juras­sic to Cret­ace­ous in age. The Tri­as­sic sedi­ments, into which the basaltic rocks intru­ded, have been com­ple­te­ly remo­ved by ero­si­on, they still exist fur­ther north, whe­re they form the Edgeøya. Other rocks can be found only as erra­tic boul­ders (‘ice age dirt’).

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

Land­s­cape: Small, rocky islands without gla­ciers. Many of the Tus­enøya­ne are qui­te bar­ren and cove­r­ed with lar­ge basaltic boul­ders, other ones have a beau­ti­ful, mos­sy tun­dra with small tun­dra lakes. Land­s­cape-wise and geo­lo­gi­cal­ly, also Halvmå­neøya and the Ryke Yse Øya­ne belong to the Tus­enøya­ne.

Click here for pan­ora­ma images of Tus­enøya­ne.

Rocky ‘basalt-land­s­cape’ of Tus­enøya­ne with old hunter’s cabin. Halvmå­neøya.

Flo­ra and fau­na: High arc­tic. Part­ly very bar­ren, part­ly qui­te rich moss tun­dra. Espe­cial­ly the mos­ses are qui­te vul­nerable – try to step on stones! The­re are small lakes on some of the islands, whe­re often Red-throated divers breed – beau­ti­ful birds in a beau­ti­ful envi­ron­ment, but easy to dis­turb at the nest. Keep your distance! The Tus­enøya­ne are an important place also for Com­mon Eider ducks and geese. The lar­ge are­as of shal­low water pro­vi­de good fee­ding grounds for wal­rus, which live on shells, which again live in the mud at the bot­tom.

Histo­ry: Ear­ly in the 17th cen­tu­ry, the wha­lers knew the area and estab­lis­hed a few shore sta­ti­ons here.

Tusenøyane

Blub­er ovn (dou­ble ovn) from the 17th cen­tu­ry, Tus­enøya­ne. This par­ti­cu­lar ovn may well be the best pre­ser­ved one in the who­le Sval­bard archi­pe­la­go.

The Tus­enøya­ne were also a favou­rite hun­ting area for the Pomors, who may have been the­re befo­re Wil­lem Bar­ents offi­cial­ly dis­co­ve­r­ed Spits­ber­gen in 1596. In the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry, Nor­we­gi­an trap­pers caught lar­ge num­bers of polar bears here, espe­cial­ly on Halvmå­neøya and in the Tjuvfjord on the sou­thern side of Edgeøya.

Tus­enøya­ne (gal­le­ry)

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

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last modification: 2014-10-28 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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