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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.


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