from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Barentsøya coast
Barentsøya coast
Waters Barents Sea
Archipelago Spitsbergen
Geographical location 78 ° 25 '  N , 21 ° 27'  E Coordinates: 78 ° 25 '  N , 21 ° 27'  E
Location of Barentsøya
length 50 km
width 50 km
surface 1 288  km²
Highest elevation Solveigdomen
666  m
Residents uninhabited
main place (Würzburgerhytta)
Stalkless catchfly (Silene acaulis) on Barentsøya
Stalkless catchfly ( Silene acaulis ) on Barentsøya

Barentsøya ( German  Barents ) is the fourth largest island of the to Norway belonging Spitsbergen -Archipels (Svalbard) in the Arctic Ocean . It is located east of the island of Spitsbergen (the main island of the archipelago) and north of the slightly larger island of Edgeøya . Barentsøya has an area of ​​1288 km² and is 50 kilometers long and 50 kilometers wide. The island is uninhabited.


As on the entire Svalbard Archipelago, the climate is high arctic due to the high geographical latitude. While the West Spitsbergen Current (the last northern branch of the warm Gulf Stream ) on the west coast of Svalbard still brings relatively high temperatures and a lot of precipitation for arctic conditions, the cold East Spitsbergen Current on Barentsøya ensures much lower temperatures and fixed ice even in the summer months.


The island is made up of uniform sediments from the Triassic . These include sandstone , siltstone and claystone , which were deposited in shallow shelf seas and in coastal areas. The storage is largely unchanged, so the layers are more or less horizontal. In places the island is very rich in fossils (especially ammonites ), sometimes thin coal seams appear, which are economically uninteresting.


The landscape is strongly influenced by the geology and consists of extensive mountain plateaus, table mountains and soft slopes at 300 to 600 m altitude. The interior of the island is covered by several ice caps , the largest of which is called Barentsjøkulen and is 570 km² in size. Several outlet glaciers from these ice caps reach the sea and have calving fronts. However, Barentsøya is less glaciated than parts of Svalbard that are higher up and / or receive more precipitation.

Flora and fauna

Despite the hostile conditions, the island is quite diverse. There are a number of saxifrage and buttercups , Scheuchzer's cottongrass and other plant species. There are also large quantities of mushrooms . Especially kittiwakes nest on narrow ledges of rock on mammals there is the Arctic fox , the polar bear and Svalbard reindeer .


Barentsøya is named after Willem Barents , the official discoverer of Svalbard. The island has been used significantly less as a hunting ground than most other parts of Svalbard. Trappers hibernated during the winter only from 1894 .

Between 1959 and 1967 there were a number of scientific expeditions to Spitsbergen under the direction of the Würzburg geography professor Julius Büdel . Participants included Alfred Wirthmann , Gerhard Furrer, Otfried Weise and Arno Semmel .

The Southeast Svalbard Nature Reserve

Barentsøya is entirely located in the Southeast Svalbard Nature Reserve . Any technical intervention (construction of buildings, operation of mines, etc.), any leaving of rubbish and any disturbance or introduction of animals and plants is prohibited there. In addition, motorized vehicles are not allowed to enter the country. The Sysselmann can also completely block areas for visitors.

Web links

Commons : Barentsøya  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Barentsøya . In: The Place Names of Svalbard (first edition 1942). Norsk Polarinstitutt , Oslo 2001, ISBN 82-90307-82-9 (English, Norwegian).
  2. ^ Helmut Jäger : Geography at the University of Würzburg 1593–1981. In: Peter Baumgart (Ed.): Four hundred years of the University of Würzburg. A commemorative publication. Degener & Co. (Gerhard Gessner), Neustadt an der Aisch 1982 (= sources and contributions to the history of the University of Würzburg. Volume 6), ISBN 3-7686-9062-8 , pp. 637–664; here: p. 658.