This location was the site of a Norwegian whaling station in the 1930's, where beluga whales were relentlessly hunted until they were nearly extirpated throughout the region.
Spitsbergen, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway.
Svalbard Archipelago, Norway.
This site is believed to have been used by British whalers from approximately 1618 to 1650. The bowhead whale population throughout the Svalbard region eventually collapsed during the 1700s due to over-hunting, and has never recovered. The bones of numerous bowhead whales, hundreds of years old, lie scattered on the ground in several places along this coastline in the vicinity of the whaling station relics. As they decompose, the bones release nutrients and support small communities of flora, including mosses and low-growing flowering plants.
An estimated 100,000 pairs of Brunich’s guillemots nest on the cliffs at Alkefjellet, along with tens of thousands of black-legged kittiwakes and a smaller number of several other bird species. Alkefjellet is within the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, which is the largest preserved area in Norway.
The site of Smeerenburg was first occupied and used for whaling operations in 1614, and was established as a permanent settlement and intensive whaling station in 1619. Whaling operations continued there until about 1660. The ruins of Smeerenburg are now part of Norway's North-West Spitsbergen National Park.
An enormous colony of cliff-nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) at Raddesletta within Diskobukta, on Edgeoya Island in the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway. All the eggs have hatched, and some of the young birds are beginning to fledge.
Edgeoya Island, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway.
Brasvellbreen is the third largest ice cap in the world, after Antarctica and Greenland.
This site is believed to have been used by British whalers from approximately 1618 to 1650. The bowhead whale population throughout the Svalbard region eventually collapsed during the 1700s due to over-hunting, and has never recovered. The bones of numerous bowhead whales, several hundred years old, lie scattered on the ground in several places along this coastline in the vicinity of the whaling station remains. As they decompose, the bones release nutrients and support small communities of flora, including mosses and low-growing flowering plants.
Barents Sea (Arctic Ocean), within the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway.
Svabard Archipelago, Norway.
The "patterned ground" phenomenon is caused by frost-heaving of the ground and sorting of rocks and soil particles during repeated freeze-thaw cycles.
Remains of blubber ovens from the 17th century Dutch whaling station called Harlinger Kokerij, and artifacts from the early 20th century attempt by Walter Wellman to reach the North Pole using an airship, at Virgohamna on Danskoya, in the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway. Amsterdamoya, including the site of the 17th century whaling station Smeerenburg, is in the distance across the narrow waterway.
A sign situated at the edge of Ny Ålesund, a tiny remote town in Spitsbergen, warns that it is dangerous to walk on the tundra without a weapon due to the possible presence of polar bears. Ny Ålesund is one of the northernmost settlements in the world, and is the location of a Norwegian Arctic research station. On May 11, 1926 polar explorer Roald Amundsen launched his airship Norge from Ny Ålesund, and landed in Alaska 72 hours later after crossing the North Pole. The anchor mast at his launch site is still standing on the outskirts of Ny Ålesund.
The mast from which the airship Norge was launched on 11 May 1926, carrying Roald Amundsen (expedition leader and navigator), Umberto Nobile (airship designer and pilot) and other crew members, remains standing at its original location near the shore of Ny-Alesund in Svalbard. The Norge passed over the North Pole on 12 May 1926, and arrived in Alaska the following day. Due to the disputed status of other prior claims to have reached the North Pole, the overflight of the Norge on 12 May 1926 is now considered by most historians to be the first confirmed arrival of explorers at the North Pole.
An adult Atlantic Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus) at Lä¨¸ya Island in the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway.
Edgeoya, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway.
Phippsoya is one of the northernmost islands in Svalbard, and is located within the Sjuoyane (the northernmost cluster of small islands known as"the seven islands"). The latitude was approximately 80.7-degrees North.
The island's ice cap is in the background, beyond the beach ridge.
Alkefjellet is within the Nordaust-Svalbard Nature Reserve, which is the largest preserved area in Norway.
Sunlight shining on disappearing fog created this optical phenomenon. There was only thin and scattered sea ice in this region of the Arctic Ocean north of the Svalbard Archipelago in late July, at a location near 81 degrees North -- far less ice than has covered the region historically. Climate change is rapidly shrinking the sea ice in this area and many other parts of the Arctic.