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Raudfjord

Photos and background information

Map Raudfjord

Raudfjord.

Pho­to gal­le­ries Raudfjord

The­re are several pho­to gal­le­ries at the bot­tom of this page to illus­tra­te the various beau­ti­ful sides of Raudfjord. Scroll down or click on one of the­se links:

Raudfjord

Inner Raudfjord. This branch is cal­led Ayerfjord.

Raudfjord: Gene­ral

Raudfjord is the wes­tern­most fjord on Spitsbergen’s north coast. It is a small fjord, at least com­pa­red to its neigh­bours fur­ther east, Woodfjord and Wij­defjord. Raudfjord is about 20 km long and 5 km wide.

Raudfjord – the name means “Red Bay”, which used to be the name in his­to­ri­cal times – is a very sce­nic fjord, and rich in con­trasts. Some parts are good for ship or Zodiac crui­sing, other pla­ces afford space for litt­le walks or moun­tain hikes. Raudfjord is part of the Nor­thwest Spits­ber­gen Natio­nal Park.

Pan­ora­mas Raudfjord

I have got a cou­p­le of pan­ora­mas which make it pos­si­ble to take a quick and easy vir­tu­al tour to some pla­ces in Raudfjord:

Geo­lo­gy

The­re ist a strong geo­lo­gi­cal con­trast bet­ween the east and the west side of Raudfjord, due to a lar­ge fault that runs along the fjord. It sepa­ra­tes a tec­to­nic uplift area in the west, whe­re old, stra­ti­gra­phi­cal­ly low, hard, crystal­li­ne base­ment rocks such as gneiss are expo­sed, from an area of anci­ent tec­to­nic sub­si­dence – a gra­ben – which is fil­led with sedi­ments, the so-cal­led Old Red sand­stone from the Devo­ni­an. Now, this is the geo­lo­gy of the who­le area in just one sen­tence 🙂

Landscape Raudfjord west side

Rug­ged, steep moun­tain walls on the west side of Raudfjord,
car­ved into hard base­ment rocks.

The base­ment rocks are real­ly old: geo­lo­gists have found signals of tec­to­ni­cal­ly inten­se events dating back as far as one bil­li­on years in long-lived crys­tals in the gneis­ses on the west side of Raudfjord. Com­pa­red to that, the Old Red on the east side of the fjord, appears almost young: being depo­si­ted during the Devo­ni­an, it is bet­ween 350 and 400 mil­li­on years old. Only! 🙂 The­se sedi­ments are collec­tively cal­led Old Red, which is a pro­per descrip­ti­on, alt­hough the red­dish colour is not necessa­ri­ly very inten­se in Raudfjord. It is stron­ger in parts of Lief­defjord and Woodfjord.

Landscape Raudfjord east side

Less steep and most­ly gla­cier-free land­s­cape car­ved in Old Red sand­stone
on the east side of Raudfjord.

Land­s­cape

The geo­lo­gi­cal con­trast is the main rea­son dif­fe­rent kinds of land­s­capes on eit­her side of the fjord: the west side, which con­sists of hard, uplifted base­ment rocks, is much stee­per and more rug­ged. The moun­tains are hig­her and the inland is hea­vi­ly gla­cia­ted. Depen­ding on how you count, the­re are 10-12 gla­ciers that reach sea level on the east side (inclu­ding the lar­ge ones at the bot­tom of the fjord), framed by more or less near-ver­ti­cal moun­tain walls.

Landscape contrasts, Raudfjord

Land­s­cape con­trasts in Raudfjord: View from the eas­tern shore
across the fjord to the steep wes­tern side.

Com­pa­red to the west side, the ice-free east side of the fjord appears almost mild, with less steep geo­mor­pho­lo­gy and more acces­si­ble ter­rain near sea level. The­re is at least some space for walks and hikes, inclu­ding some inte­res­ting moun­tains.

Flo­ra and Fau­na

The­re are some bird cliffs on the steep moun­tain sides with Brünich’s guil­lemots and kit­ti­wa­kes, for examp­le in Hamil­ton­buk­ta. Arc­tic foxes have their ter­ri­to­ry near the birdcliffs, and it is qui­te com­mon to see polar bears roa­ming around in Raudfjord.

Purple saxifrage

Pur­p­le saxif­ra­ge.

Histo­ry

Win­te­ring from Pomors (Rus­si­an hun­ters) and scan­di­na­vi­an trap­pers are known from the last cen­tu­ries. The hut in Alice­ham­na, aptly cal­led Raudfjor­dhyt­ta, wwas built by a Swe­de then known as Stock­holm-Sven. If you have read the Spits­ber­gen clas­sic A woman in the polar night writ­ten by Chris­tia­ne Rit­ter, then you will know that Stock­holm-Sven was Ritter’s next neigh­bour. But they didn’t mana­ge to visit each other.

Raudfjordhytta

Raudfjor­dhyt­ta: Stockholm-Sven’s win­te­ring hut.

Pho­to gal­le­ry Raudfjord 1: some impres­si­on from here and the­re wit­hin the fjord

Just as the name sug­gests.

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

Pho­to gal­le­ry Raudfjord 2: Hamil­ton­buk­ta

Steep moun­tain walls, gla­ciers, small islands and bird cliffs.

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

Pho­to gal­le­ry Raudfjord: east side – Alice­ham­na, Bruce­ne­set, Solan­derfjel­let

Stockholm-Sven’s old hut near the beach. It is only a short walk from the­re to skip­per Erik Mat­ti­las’ gra­ve on top of a litt­le hill, but the view is beau­ti­ful. And it is even bet­ter if you do a hike up to Solan­derfjel­let.

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

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last modification: 2020-08-30 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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