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Expedition to find Amundsen’s plane fails

Roald Amundsen Latham 47 An expedition of the Royal Norwegian Navy that set sail at the end of August south of the Svalbard archipelago did not succeed finding the wreckage of Amundsen's plane.

The explorer disappeared on June 18, 1928 when his aircraft, a Latham 47, went down while flying on a rescue mission for another explorer, the Italian Umberto Nobile returning from the North Pole.

During the two weeks of the mission, documented by the German production company ContextTV, the search focused on a 40 square mile area of the sea floor based on the position given in the last radio message from Amundsen. Situated northwest of the island of Bjornoya (Bear Island), this area is located 500 kilometers north of Norway.


Barentsburg : Norway and Russia dispute over Svalbard history

BarentsburgThe Norwegian Governor of Svalbard asked the Pomor Museum in the Russian settlement of Barentsburg to give historical objects to Longyearbyen, as they require a special climate control to be preserved.

The Pomor Museum is in poor condition and was closed to the public this summer. Trust Arktikugol, the Russian mining company which owns the museum, refused to send the objects to the Norwegian town of Longyearbyen.


Conference in Paris : Svalbard and the Arctic today - global challenges

In connection with the exhibition SVALBARD, Escales en Terre Arctique from 10 June 2008 to 4 January 2009, the Palais de la découverte in Paris organizes a lecture/conference : Svalbard and the Arctic today - global challenges, Friday 17 October 14.30 hrs, conference room.

The conference is organised jointly by GAREF Océanographique and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Paris. Free entrance (limited to places available).

Reservations by email :, by fax : 01 40 74 81 50, by ordinary mail, adresse : Palais de la découverte - Direction de la communication/Conférences - Avenue Franklin Roosevelt - 75008 Paris.

Friday 17 October from 2.30 to 4.00 p.m. Conference rooms


New evidence on the cause of a tragedy at Kapp Thordsen

Kapp ThordsenIn winter 1872-1873, 17 trappers died at Svenskehuset (swedish house) at Kapp Thordsen, north of Isfjorden. A new research found that they died of lead poisoning.

The house, built in 1872 by a Swedish company, contained large supplies of hermetics and although the men had sufficient food, they all 17 died during the winter.

Scurvy has been assumed as a probable cause of their death but lead poisoning and botulisme have also been mentioned.

Last summer, scientists from University Hospital of Troms and Svalbard Museum excavated the graves at Svenskehuset. They took samples from two skeletons and bone analysis revealed high levels of lead, whereas the lead levels in the soil near the graves where neglectable.


Population boom in Svalbard for the next years ?

Population boom in Svalbard ?Svalbard authorities are expecting a population increase of 10 to 20 percent for the next five to ten years in the archipelago.

The leader of Longyearbyen local municipality Kjell Mork told the Norwegian radio NRK that many more people will move to Svalbard for the next years.

Both UNIS, the university at Svalbard, and the tourism in the archipelago will expand. There are also plans to open a new coal mine to ensure further production to the Norwegian mining company SNSK - Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani.

Mining plays a major role in the community. SNSK runs two coal mines in Longyearbyen and Svea, and coal mining employs about half the residents.


A polar bear attacked by a shark in Svalbard ?

Greenland shark (Iceland) Already threatened by the decrease of ice, is the first Arctic predator under challenge from Greenland shark ? Scientists searching how far in the North the sharks hunt seals had the surprise to find a part of the jaw of a polar bear in the stomach of a Greenland shark.

The discovery has been done in June in Svalbard waters. "We never heard about a case like this before", said Kit Kovacs of the Norwegian Polar Institute. The bone measures 10 centimeters and would belong to a young polar bear.

"We can't say whether or not the shark took a swimming young bear" or if it ate a carcass, she added. "We don't know how active these sharks are as predators."


Kayak : First attempt to circumnavigate Svalbard archipelago

Svalbard circumnavigation expedition websiteAlon Ohad and Tim Starr are attempting the first ever circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago : Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet, Edgeøya and a number of smaller islands.

The expedition began June 17 at Longyearbyen - Spitsbergen Island - and the two sea kayakers will paddle clockwise to circumnavigate the archipelago.

The 24 hours daylight in June will allow the team to navigate 18 hours par day during the 1800 kilometers around Svalbard.

The tour is expected to take 10 weeks. The latest updates of the team are on the progress page of the expedition website.


Norway's biggest quake hit Svalbard with 6.2 force in Richter scale

Norway's biggest quake hit Svalbard - Image NorsarAn earthquake hit Svalbard with 6.2 force in Richter scale on 21 February 2008, the Norsar seismic research institute said on Thursday.

The epicentre was located in Storfjorden, 10 km under the sea and 130 km south est of Longyearbyen. No damage has been caused in Longyearbyen.

Smaller shakes have been registered after the main one, has reported Norsar.

Norsar added that it was the strongest quake in Norway since it started keeping records about a century ago. The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed the magnitude of the quake was 6.2.


His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass in Svalbard

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass in SvalbardFour years after The Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Line Cinema (Time Warner) is bringing a second series of popular novels to the big screen: Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

The Golden Compass is the first novel in Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials. The trilogy tells the story of Lyra, a 12-year-old girl who embarks to Svalbard to battle the forces of evil and rescue her best friend. In Philip Pullman's trilogy, Svalbard is the kingdom of armoured bears Panserbjrne.

The project was announced in February 2002. Set for release on Dec. 7, The Golden Compass has been directed by Chris Weitz. With a budget of $200 million, this is the most expensive movie New Line Cinema has ever made.


Arctic ice is not a barrier for plants

Flowers in SvalbardArctic plants can migrate the distances needed to survive climatic changes, scientists have suggested in a study of flowering plant species found in Svalbard.

With climatic changes, habitats are expected to shift further north and plants' inability to move quickly enough is a cause for concern.

Researchers from University of Oslo, Norway and Alpine Ecology Laboratory of Grenoble, France analyzed more than 4 000 samples of nine flowering plant species of the Svalbard archipelago.


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