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Map Sjuøyane

Gene­ral: The name Sjuøya­ne means ‘Seven Islands’ – the­re are some more or less, that depends on what is an ‘island’ for you. The Sjuøya­ne are the nor­t­hern­most part of the Sval­bard achi­pe­la­go; litt­le Ros­søya, more a sker­ry than an island, is on 80°50’N. It is the nor­t­hern­most land of the Sjuøya­ne and thus of Euro­pe. Ice con­di­ti­ons are often dif­fi­cult, but they are often ear­lier acces­si­ble than other parts of Sval­bard fur­ther sou­the­ast becau­se of the influence of the last drops of the Gulf Stream. The Sjuøya­ne belong to the Nor­the­ast Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ve.

For more, detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on: the Gui­de­book Spits­ber­gen-Sval­bard

Guidebook Spitsbergen-Svalbard


Ros­søya (to the right).

Vesle Tavleøya directly south of Rossøya

Ves­le Tav­leøya direct­ly south of Ros­søya.

Geo­lo­gy: Base­ment gneis and gra­ni­te and many erra­tic bould­ers from nor­t­hern Nord­aus­t­land. The colourful mix­tu­re of mag­ma­tic and meta­mor­phic rocks, both solid bed­rock and erra­tics, is quite attrac­ti­ve.

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

Erratic boulders on Phippsøya

Erra­tic bould­ers on Phippsøya.

Land­scape: Very bar­ren, rocks land­scape with some coas­tal plains, other­wi­se moun­tai­neous ter­rain with steep slo­pes and mar­kant pla­teaus on top; espe­ci­al­ly Nel­sonøya has a very con­spi­cuous shape simi­lar to an old-fashio­ned top hat. The low­lands are very attrac­ti­ve; very bar­ren when seen just from the distance, the­re is actual­ly a lot to see if you can get ashore: nice­ly visi­ble old beach rid­ges, ice wed­ges, lichens and some­ti­mes even some flowers, colourful rocks… all tho­se small details. The­re is a lot of drift­wood and unfort­u­na­te­ly also trash on many bea­ches, brought up here by curr­ents. The­re are no gla­ciers. The lar­gest island is Phippsøya. Other islands are so steep that it is not pos­si­ble to land the­re.

Barren polar desert on Phippsøya

Bar­ren polar desert on Phippsøya.

Flo­ra and Fau­na: High arc­tic envi­ron­ment, very bar­ren with litt­le vege­ta­ti­on. The­re are most­ly lichens and mos­ses which can be quite colourfull and in places Sval­bard Pop­py and saxif­ra­ges. The­re are small colo­nies of sea­birds inclu­ding Puf­fins and Ivo­ry gulls. Herds of wal­rus are some­ti­mes ashore, and polar bears are often around.

Histo­ry: The names of the indi­vi­du­al islands tell quite a bit about the histo­ry. Phippsøya was named after the Eng­lish­man Phipps, who was in the area in 1773 during an attempt to reach the north pole, as was Par­ry in 1827, after whom ano­ther island is named… which one was it… yes, Par­ry­øya. Nel­son (yes, the Nel­son) was on board one of his ships as a young mid­ship­man, as the name Nel­sonøya tells us. Legend has it that the young dare­de­vil almost fell vic­tim to an angry polar bear – that’s what the legend says, at least, be it true or not.



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last modification: 2019-01-31 · copyright: Rolf Stange