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Nordaustland

Map Nordaustland

Plea­se click on the map for fur­ther infor­ma­ti­on.

Call detail regi­ons on the map abo­ve or on the fol­lowing links:

For more, detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on: the Gui­de­book Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard

Guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard

Gene­ral: Nord­aus­t­land (‘Nor­the­ast­land’) is with 15 000 km2 the second-lar­gest island of the Sval­bard archi­pel. It is sepa­ra­ted from Spits­ber­gen by the Hin­lo­pen Strait and cove­r­ed with lar­ge ice caps. Nord­aus­t­land is part of the Nor­the­ast Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ve and accord­in­gly pro­tec­ted.

For pan­ora­ma images from Hin­lo­pen Strait and neigh­bou­ring parts of Spits­ber­gen and Nord­aus­t­land, click here.

Geo­lo­gy: Base­ment gneis­ses and gra­ni­tes in the north and nor­the­ast. In the nor­thwest (Murchi­son­fjord to Lågøya) defor­med, but well-pre­ser­ved sedi­ments (quar­zi­tes, car­bo­na­tes) belon­ging to the base­ment with ripp­le marks, desic­ca­ti­on cracks, stroma­tho­li­tes etc.). In the sou­thwest, fos­sil-rich Permi­an car­bo­na­tes are expo­sed over wide are­as (Kapp Sta­ros­tin For­ma­ti­on), in pla­ces doleri­tic intru­si­ons (upper Juras­sic-Cret­ace­ous). The islands in the Hin­lo­pen Strait con­sist gene­ral­ly of such doleri­tes, Wil­hel­møya with its Meso­zoic sedi­ments being the only excep­ti­on.

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

Land­s­cape: Wide-open, with flat hills and, most­ly in the north, pla­teau-shaped moun­tains. The­re are lar­ge ice-free are­as near the coast in the north, west and sou­thwest, but most of Nord­aus­t­land is cove­r­ed with lar­ge ice-caps. On the nort­hern coasts, the­re is a lot of drift­wood and, unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, trash brought up the­re by cur­r­ents. The gene­ral­ly very bar­ren land­s­capes lea­ve the visi­tor with an inten­se fee­ling of high-arc­tic remo­teness and make a strong con­trast to the west coast of Spits­ber­gen with its poin­ted moun­tains and to the rich tun­dra of cen­tral Spits­ber­gen and Bar­ents- and Edgeøya.

Barren, rocky landscape on the northern side of Nordaustland

Bar­ren, rocky land­s­cape on the nort­hern side of Nord­aus­t­land.

Flo­ra and Fau­na: High arc­tic. Most of the area is free of vege­ta­ti­on, in pla­ces the­re are lichens and mos­ses. Occa­sio­nal­ly, the­re are saxif­ra­ges and other flowers, often Sval­bard Pop­py (Papa­ver dali­ahnum). Nevertheless, rein­de­er mana­ge to sur­vi­ve the­re, no idea how they do that. Local­ly, bird breed, among others Ivory gull and Sabine’s gull. The­re are several haul-out sites (res­ting pla­ces) of wal­rus, and the area is home to polar bears. Fema­le bears give birth to their youngs­ters on Nord­aus­t­land in the win­ter.

Histo­ry: Due to its remo­teness and the dif­fi­cult ice con­di­ti­ons, the wha­lers did rare­ly visit Nord­aus­t­land and they didn’t estab­lish any shore sta­ti­ons the­re. The Pomors appre­cia­ted the Hin­lo­pen Strait area becau­se of its rich wild­life as a good hun­ting ground. Nor­we­gi­an trap­pers stay­ed on Nord­aus­t­land rela­tively few times only, some­ti­mes the win­te­rings ended with desas­ter due to scur­vy or acci­dents. The Eng­lish expe­di­ti­ons of Phipps (1773) and Wil­liam Edward Par­ry (1827) pas­sed through nor­thwes­tern and nort­hern parts of Nord­aus­t­land during their attempts to reach the north pole. A lot of map­ping was done in the Hin­lo­pen Strait area and up to Sjuøya­ne was done 1899-1904 by the Rus­si­an-Swe­dish Arc de Meri­di­an expe­di­ti­on. The bra­ve Swe­de Adolf Erik Nor­dens­kiöld was the first one to push into the inte­riour during an expe­di­ti­on 1872-73 after a can­cel­la­ti­on of an attempt to reach the pole; later expe­di­ti­ons which did fur­ther rese­arch in the lar­ge­ly unknown inner parts of Nord­aus­t­land were the Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Arc­tic Expe­di­ti­on with Geor­ge Bin­ney 1924 and the Swe­dish-Nor­we­gi­an Expe­di­ti­on with Ahl­mann in 1931. In 1912, a par­ty of the ill-fated Schrö­der-Stranz-expe­di­ti­on got lost in the north of Nord­aus­t­lan­ded, their exact fate is not known. 1944-45, a Ger­man war wea­ther sta­ti­on ope­ra­ted in the Rijpfjord (»Haudegen«-station). During the inter­na­tio­nal polar year 1957-58, Swe­den estab­lis­hed the sta­ti­on Kinn­vi­ka in Murchi­son­fjord, which was aban­do­ned in 1959.

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Storøya Sjuøyane Lågøya Rijpfjord Bråsvellbreen, Austfonna Føynøya Hinlopen Wahlenbergfjord Murchisonfjord Augustabukta, Vibebukta

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