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Krossfjord

Map Kongsfjord

Kongsfjord.

Pho­to gal­le­ries Kongsfjord

The­re are a cou­p­le of pho­to gal­le­ries at the end of this page to illus­tra­te some of the beau­ti­ful aspects – some popu­lar visi­tor sites (and some less popu­lar ones). Just scroll down or click on the­se links:

View Kongsfjord

View from Blom­strand­hal­vøya into Kongsfjord.

Gene­ral: Kongsfjord and Ny-Åle­sund

Kongsfjord, in ear­lier days of its histo­ry known as Kings Bay, is a fjord area with beau­ti­ful and varied land­s­cape and a long histo­ry. Today, the area is fre­quent­ly visi­ted by sci­en­tists and tou­rists. Espe­cial­ly the sci­en­ti­fic sett­le­ment of Ny-Åle­sund attracts more and more visi­tors each year, inclu­ding lar­ge crui­se ships, which is not always very con­ve­ni­ent for the working sci­en­tists. This deve­lo­p­ment has, howe­ver, chan­ged at least to some degree when ships car­ry­ing hea­vy fuel were ban­ned from Spitsbergen’s pro­tec­ted are­as such as natio­nal parks in 2014. This keeps most of the lar­ge crui­se ships away from Kongsfjord and Ny-Åle­sund. The sett­le­ment its­elf is not loca­ted insi­de a natio­nal park, but the­re are the ship­ping rou­te to Ny-Åle­sund leads through at least one out of two natio­nal parks (For­lan­det Natio­nal Park (Prins Karls For­land) and Nord­vest Spits­ber­gen Natio­nal Park).

Houses in Ny Ålesund in front of glacier-scenery

Houses in Ny Åle­sund in front of the impres­si­ve moun­tain- and gla­cier-sce­ne­ry of inner Kongsfjord.

The smal­ler islands in the Kongsfjord and Guis­sez­hol­men near Kap Guis­sez bet­ween Kongs- and Krossfjord are bird sanc­tua­ries: ent­ry and approach clo­ser than 300 metres to the nea­rest shore are pro­hi­bi­ted during the bree­ding sea­son (15th May to 15th August).

Blom­strand­hal­vøya is ano­t­her popu­lar visi­tor site with varied flo­ra, fau­na, histo­ry and good hiking oppor­tu­nities. The­re are various oppor­tu­nities for more deman­ding hikes also in other pla­ces in Kongsfjord. The cal­ving gla­ciers in inner Kongsfjord such as Kronebreen are popu­lar for ship crui­sing.

Kongsfjord pan­ora­mas

Of cour­se, I do have a num­ber of pan­ora­mas on various pages, also inclu­ding a lot of infor­ma­ti­on about the indi­vi­du­al sites. Just click on the­se links for a quick visit to the­se beau­ti­ful pla­ces:

Roald Amundsen, Ny Ålesund

Roald Amund­sen in Ny-Åle­sund near the “Blau­es Haus”
(the “Blue House” used to be part of the Ger­man rese­arch sta­ti­on).

Geo­lo­gy

Varied and qui­te com­pli­ca­ted. On the nort­hern side of Kongsfjord, the­re are weak­ly meta­mor­pho­sed car­bo­na­tes (‘marb­le’) of the base­ment, for examp­le on Blom­strand­hal­vøya, whe­re opti­mists once star­ted mining (see below). In the inner­most Kongsfjord, the­re are a lot of Devo­ni­an and Per­mo­kar­bo­ni­fe­rous sedi­ments expo­sed, which have also been stron­gly defor­med during the lower Ter­tia­ry, but not meta­mor­pho­sed. This mosaic of brow­nish-red Devo­ni­an sand­stones and con­glo­me­ra­tes (‘Old Red’) and yel­lo­wish-brown, youn­ger car­bo­na­tes and clastics, which lie direct­ly next to and on top of each other and the base­ment, is very attrac­ti­ve. In inner Kongsfjord, you can see rocks from the base­ment and well into the upper Palaeo­zoic, with beau­ti­ful pat­terns from fol­ding and faul­ting. Enjoy! 🙂

Geological mosaic east of Kongsfjord

Geo­lo­gi­cal mosaic east of Kongsfjord. The red­dish Old Red with a steep cap of hard per­mo-car­bo­ni­fe­rous car­bo­na­tes are pro­mi­nent.

Brøg­ger­hal­vøya (Brøg­ger pen­in­su­la) bet­ween Kongsfjord and Engelskbuk­ta is also a geo­lo­gi­cal mosaic of base­ment rocks, Per­mo­car­bo­ni­fe­rous and lower Ter­tia­ry sedi­ments with con­glo­me­ra­tes, sand­stones and coal seams, the lat­ter ones being the foun­da­ti­on of mining acti­vi­ties of Ny-Åle­sund, which were aban­do­ned in 1962. The coal was most­ly mined below sea level. The mine area was a good kilo­met­re sou­the­ast of the sett­le­ment, a lot of remains – rub­bish more than anything else – can still be seen.

Land­s­cape

Very varied becau­se of the geo­lo­gi­cal mosaic. Moun­tai­ne­ous, ice-free low­land is limi­ted and most­ly con­fi­ned to Brøg­ger­hal­vøya bet­ween Kongsfjord and Engelskbuk­ta. The inte­riour is stron­gly gla­cia­ted, and several lar­ge gla­cier fronts calv into Lil­lie­höökfjord and Kongsfjord. Well-known moun­tains are the Tre Kro­ner (Three crowns), three striking moun­tains east of the Kongsfjord: Svea, Dana and Nora (Swe­den, Den­mark, Nor­way).

Glacier front of Kronebreen, Kongsfjord

The gla­cier Kronebreen and two of the three famous moun­tains Tre Kro­ner in late sep­tem­ber.

Flo­ra and Fau­na

Rich tun­dra vege­ta­ti­on in low­lands and on islands, and local­ly very fer­ti­le vege­ta­ti­on with rare plant spe­ci­es near bird cliffs. Becau­se of the rela­tively favoura­ble cli­ma­te can flowers beco­me com­pa­ra­tively lar­ge. The bird fau­na is also qui­te rich, with a num­ber of sea­b­ird colo­nies on the steep cliffs with Brünich’s guil­lemots, kit­ti­wa­kes and glau­cous gulls. An orni­tho­lo­gi­cal high­light is the long-tail­ed skua which has its only con­fir­med bree­ding sites in Sval­bard here in Kongsfjord.

The tun­dra are­as are important fee­ding sites for geese, most­ly bar­na­cle geese. The islands are home to lar­ge num­bers of com­mon eider ducks. Rein­de­er and arc­tic fox roam over the tun­dra. Even the sett­le­ment Ny-Åle­sund has a good num­ber of spe­ci­es to offer, inclu­ding arc­tic terns which are likely to attack you (just lea­ve them alo­ne, never try to hit them!), pos­si­b­ly Arc­tic fox, geese, long-tail­ed duck and may­be even the ivory gull, if you are lucky.

Seabird colony at Ossian Sarsfjellet

Sea­b­ird colo­ny at Ossi­an Sarsfjel­let with kit­ti­wa­kes and Brünich’s guil­lemots.

Histo­ry

Alrea­dy the 17th cen­tu­ry wha­lers knew Kongsfjord – they cal­led it Kings Bay – and the­re are gra­ves and remains of blub­ber ovns in Engels­buk­ta, south of Kongsfjord. They also knew that the­re was coal on the sou­thern side of the Kongsfjord, becau­se they found bits on the beach. But mining didn’t start in Kongsfjord until the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. It never went smooth, only with inter­rup­ti­ons and was aban­do­ned in 1962 after a seri­es of acci­dents with casu­al­ties, the last ones even lea­ding to a govern­men­tal cri­sis in Nor­way, as the sta­te was and still is the owner of Kings Bay Kull Kom­pa­ni. This com­pa­ny is now cal­led just ‘Kings Bay’, as the­re is no ‘kull’ (coal) mining any­mo­re, but Kings Bay is still run­ning the sett­le­ment of Ny-Åle­sund, which has been deve­lo­ped to beco­me an inter­na­tio­nal rese­arch vil­la­ge.

Koldewey-Station (Blaues Haus), Ny Ålesund

Cul­tu­ral acces­soire at the Ger­man “Blau­es Haus”.

Very important wit­hin the histo­ry of polar explo­ra­ti­on are the attempts of Roald Amund­sen (& Co), Richard Byrd and Umber­to Nobi­le, to fly to the pole in the 1920s.

Airship mast of Amundsen and Nobile, Ålesund

The famous air­s­hip mast whe­re Amund­sen and Nobi­le star­ted their expe­di­ti­ons in the 1920s”.

The histo­ry of Blom­strand­hal­vøya, then known as Marb­le Island, is also inte­res­ting. The Bri­tish Nort­hern Explo­ra­ti­on Com­pa­ny estab­lis­hed here a mine to extract marb­le, the qua­li­ty of which was drasti­cal­ly over­esti­ma­ted, though. After a few years of tri­al mining, ever­ything was aban­do­ned, as first loads that had been ship­ped had tur­ned out to be worth­less. Remains are still visi­ble (see the Blomstrand/Ny London/Marble Island pan­ora­ma page for impres­si­ons and more infor­ma­ti­on).

Ny London/Camp Mansfield/Marble Island, Blomstrandhalvøya

Houses dating back to the days of the marb­le tri­al mine on Blom­strand­hal­vøya: Ny Lon­don
(also known as “Marb­le Island” or “Camp Mans­field”).

When coal mining in Ny-Åle­sund was histo­ry, sci­en­tists soon dis­co­ve­r­ed the area as per­fect­ly sui­ted for polar rese­arch, of rela­tively easy access and alrea­dy equip­ped with a lot of infra­st­ruc­tu­re. The sett­le­ment was soon deve­lo­ped to beco­me a sci­en­ti­fic vil­la­ge (see the Ny-Åle­sund pan­ora­ma pages for impres­si­ons and more infor­ma­ti­on).

The­re was a Nor­we­gi­an wea­ther sta­ti­on (“geo­phy­si­cal sta­ti­on”) at Kva­de­hu­ken at the ent­ran­ce to Kongsfjord from 1920 to 1924.

Kongsfjord gal­le­ry 1: Amund­sen & Co – Ny-Åle­sund

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

Kongsfjord gal­le­ry 2: Ny Lon­don & Co – Blon­strand­hal­vøya

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

Kongsfjord gal­le­ry 3: Kong­s­ve­gen, Kronebreen & Co – the gla­ciers

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

Kongsfjord gal­le­ry 4: Jutt­ahol­men, Sig­rid­hol­men & Co – the islands (Lové­nøya­ne)

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

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last modification: 2020-08-28 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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