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Map Alkefjellet

For more, detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on: the Gui­de­book Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard

Guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard

Gene­ral: The name tells the who­le sto­ry: »Alkef­jel­let« is a several kilo­me­ter long, steep cliff with hund­red thousands of Brunich’s guil­lemots. Even without birds, the spec­ta­cu­lar cliffs would be well worth a visit, but the guil­lemots are obvious­ly the main attrac­tion, which never fails to impress the lucky ones who can see this mira­cle of natu­re. This is often done by Zodiac, but occa­sio­nal­ly also with lar­ger ves­sels, as the waters near the steep part of the cliff are deep (but the­re are dan­ge­rous rocks else­whe­re, espe­cial­ly south of the gla­cier north of Alkef­jel­let). Care has to be taken not to cau­se dis­tur­ban­ce, and Zodiacs should gene­ral­ly ope­ra­te slow­ly, as the­re are lar­ge num­bers of birds res­ting on the water.

Take care not to dis­turb the birds and keep a good eye on and distance from poten­ti­al avalan­che sites espe­cial­ly ear­ly in the sum­mer!

Glacier north of Alkefjellet, displaying the geology nicely on its right (northern) side

Gla­cier north of Alkef­jel­let, dis­play­ing the geo­lo­gy nice­ly on its right (nort­hern) side:
Light-colou­red lime­stone at the bot­tom and the top (out­side the pic­tu­re),
divi­ded by a huge doleri­te sill.

Geo­lo­gy: Doleri­tic intru­si­on (Juras­sic or lower Cret­ace­ous), unco­ve­r­ed by ero­si­on. The intru­si­on sits in Permi­an lime­stones, that were meta­mor­pho­sed and accord­in­gly tur­ned into marb­le near the con­ta­ct zone. The doleri­te does not form per­fect 6-edge poly­gon colum­ns that basalt some­ti­mes dis­plays els­whe­re (Ice­land, …), but lar­ge colum­nar struc­tures can be seen. The­se can be qui­te spec­ta­cu­lar; some of them can actual­ly be cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ted with small boats.

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


Land­s­cape: Ver­ti­cal rock cliff, up to a good one hund­red metres high, with spec­ta­cu­lar colum­nar struc­tures. The inte­riour of the land area is almost com­ple­te­ly cove­r­ed by the smal­ler ice cap Odin­jø­ku­len, that has several smal­ler gla­ciers. Depen­ding on wea­ther and sea­son, the­re are some­ti­mes nice water­falls of meltwa­ter from the ice cap south of the birdcliff.

Waterfalls near Alkefjellet

Water­falls near Alkef­jel­let.

Flo­ra and fau­na: Several ten thousand bree­ding pairs of Brünich’s guil­lemots are very clear evi­dence of the bio­lo­gi­cal pro­duc­ti­vi­ty of the near­by seas. Kit­ti­wa­kes and Glau­cous gulls in smal­ler num­bers, and if you watch care­ful­ly, you may find mem­bers of an arc­tic fox fami­ly on the slight­ly less steep, green part bet­ween the ver­ti­cal bree­ding colo­ny and the gla­cier.


Gal­le­ry Alkef­jel­let

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