Bouvet Island

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Bouvet Island
Satellite photo of Bouvet Island
Satellite photo of Bouvet Island
Waters South Atlantic
Geographical location 54 ° 26 ′ 0 ″  S , 3 ° 24 ′ 0 ″  E Coordinates: 54 ° 26 ′ 0 ″  S , 3 ° 24 ′ 0 ″  E
Bouvet Island (South Atlantic)
Bouvet Island
length 9 km
width 7.5 km
surface 49 km²
Highest elevation Olavtoppen
780  m
Residents uninhabited
Bouvet Island topographic map
Bouvet Island topographic map

The Bouvetinsel [ buˈve- ] ( Norwegian Bouvetøya ) is an uninhabited volcanic island on the South Atlantic Ridge in the South Atlantic , 2500 kilometers southwest of the South African Cape of Good Hope . Together with some secondary islands and rocks, including Larsøya , Store-Kari and Litle-Kari , it forms an area that is dependent on Norway (Norwegian Biland ), but is not part of the Kingdom of Norway.

Bouvet Island is one of the most difficult to reach and lonely islands on earth. The closest continent is Antarctica ( Cape Sedow , Queen Maud Land ) to the south, a good 1700 km away , the South American continent (easternmost tip of Tierra del Fuego ) is 4200 km away; the closest neighboring islands are Montagu Island in the South Sandwich Islands and Gough Island in the Tristan da Cunha Group, both around 1,850 km away. The Bouvet Island is thus the most remote piece of land of all.

Geography and climate

Edge of a glacier on the Esmarch coast (west)

The 9 km long and up to 7.5 km wide island has an area of ​​49 km² and is 93% covered by glaciers . In the western part of the island there is a volcanic crater , on the north-eastern edge of which is the 780 m high Olavtoppen, its highest point. The crater opens to the north where the Posadowsky Glacier calves into the sea. In the western part of the inside of the crater is the 700 meters wide and three kilometers long in north-south direction Wilhelm II plateau .

Bouvet Island does not have a natural harbor. Nyrøysa (New Sandefjord), the only bay where landings are possible, is on the ice-free west coast. This bay has an anchorage ground of around 20 m. Mooring maneuvers are only possible with a prevailing easterly wind. In the southwest of the island is the small island of Larsøya .

The coastline of Bouvet Island is subject to constant change. The cliff coast in the west in particular is losing land to the sea due to coastal erosion . In contrast, the basalt rocks in the south of the island are relatively resistant.

The mean annual temperature is −0.6 ° C. Even in summer temperatures of more than +5.0 ° C are rarely reached. The wind blows at an average speed of 5 m / s.

Average monthly temperatures for Nyrøysa, 35 m above sea level, 1977–1981
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Temperature ( ° C ) 1.6 1.5 1.5 0.3 −0.5 −1.1 −2.7 −2.5 −2.7 −1.7 −0.6 0.7 O −0.5
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


From a geological point of view, Bouvet Island is very young. It was formed about 1.3 million years ago through volcanic activity in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge . The last eruption was more than 2000 years ago. Current volcanic activity is limited to the occurrence of fumaroles , especially on the north and northwest coasts. In 1978 a temperature of 25 ° C was measured in the ground at a depth of 30 cm. On October 23, 2015, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded in the region . The epicenter was 178 km east of Bouvet Island.

About 250 km west of Bouvet Island is the plate-tectonically determined triple point at which the African Plate , the South American Plate and the Antarctic Plate meet.

Flora and fauna

Chinstrap penguins

Due to the harsh climate and the few ice-free areas, there is only a sparse vegetation consisting of lichens , mosses and mushrooms , of which around seventy species have been found. Vascular plants are missing on the island.

The terrestrial fauna includes only four species of mites and three species of springtails . The marine mammals are represented by two species of seals , the Antarctic fur seal and the southern elephant seal , and the birds are represented by penguins and other sea ​​birds . Twelve species of birds are known to breed on Bouvet Island. In addition to the chinstrap , Goldschopf- and Adeliepinguin which the are silver Petrel , the Cape Petrel , the pigeons Petrel , the Wilson's Sturmschwalbe , the black abdominal sea rotor ( Fregetta tropica ), the Brown Skua , the Giant Petrel , the Snow Petrel and the Antarctic Tern . The largest penguin colony is on Nyrøysa, an 800-meter-long and 400-meter-wide scree beach that was only formed between 1955 and 1958, probably as a result of a massive landslide .

Regular summer visitors include the king penguin , several albatross species, the blue petrel , various hooked shearwaters , the fairy petrel , the white-chin petrel ( Procellaria aequinoctialis ), the great shearwater , the Antarctic kua ( Catharacta maccormicki ) and the parasitic seagull .


Was discovered in the Bouvet Island on 1 January 1739 by the French navigator de Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet Lozier , who with his expedition to supply opportunities in the South sought and the country after the currently active anniversary of the circumcision of Jesus Christ as Cap de la circoncision named . Bouvet believed that he had come across the southern continent Terra Australis , but could not land on the island and therefore declared the southern continent, which must be at the South Pole , unsuitable. Accordingly, he gave the geographical location only imprecisely (54 ° S, 4 ° 20 ′ E). For a long time the sighted land, further known as Cape Circoncision , was considered to be the northern cape of the Terra Australis.

James Cook did not find any land in 1772, but sailed past further south and refuted the theory of a Terra Australis on his journey . He suspected Bouvet might have seen an iceberg. Even in 1775, on his second South Sea voyage, he did not find the island.

On October 6, 1808, whalers James Lindsay and Thomas Hopper met the island with the ships Swan and Otter and recorded it as Lindsay Island at 54 ° 22 ′ S, 4 ° 15 ′ E (not to be confused with Lindsay Island in the North Pacific), with a deviation of almost 60 kilometers from the actual position. However, due to bad weather and pack ice around the island, they were unable to land.

South-east coast of Bouvet Island, black and white photograph hand-colored by Fritz Winter (1898)

Benjamin Morrell , captain of the American schooner Wasp , claimed in his travelogue "A Narrative of Four Voyages", published in 1835, that on December 6, 1822 he was the first to land on Bouvet Island (Morrell calls it Bouvette's Island). His crew have captured numerous seal skins. Morrell is a less than credible reporter, however, as he also claimed to have discovered the non-existent islands of New South Greenland and Byers Island . His description of Bouvet Island is obviously borrowed from that of George Norris. George Norris, the captain of the English whaling ship Sprightly , landed on the island of Bouvet on December 10, 1825. He took possession of it for the British king and named it Liverpool Island .

Bouvet Island was not rediscovered until November 25, 1898 by the German Valdivia expedition , which carefully determined the location and first mapped the island. Geographical names such as Cape Valdivia and Wilhelm II Plateau are still reminiscent of this today . A thorough search with the Valdivia proved that there are no other islands in the larger area. This was confirmed in 1926 when the German research vessel Meteor sounded a depth of 1,579 m at the position specified for Thompson Island.

Annexation of Bouvet Island (1927)

On August 31, 1927, Harald Horntvedt (1879-1946), the captain of the research vessel Norvegia , occupied Bouvet Island for the Kingdom of Norway. After diplomatic negotiations, in which the Norwegian side took the position that British rights had been extinguished by failure to exercise, Great Britain waived on November 19, 1928 to assert its claims. Since February 27, 1930, the island has belonged to Norway as a dependent area ( tributary , Norwegian Biland ). Bouvet Island is not subject to the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty , which came into force in 1961 , as it is located north of the 60th parallel.

In 1971, Bouvet Island and the surrounding waters were declared a nature reserve.

On September 22, 1979, the so-called Vela incident occurred between Bouvet Island and the Prince Edward Islands . An American Vela surveillance satellite registered an explosion that may have been a joint atmospheric nuclear test between South Africa and Israel .

The first hut on Cape Circoncision

Efforts to establish a research station were unsuccessful for a long time. A depot hut built by the Norvegia expedition in 1928 disappeared the following year. The South African Bouvet expedition of 1955 found no suitable location for a manned weather station. It was not until 1977 that Norway put an automatic station into operation. From December 24, 1978 to March 8, 1979, a Norwegian research team stayed on the island and carried out biological and geological research. The huts brought to the island for this purpose were soon lost. In 1996 the Norwegians anchored a 36 m² living container as a temporarily occupied research station on the island. On October 19, 2007, the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) announced that the station could no longer be seen on current satellite images. During a visit in December 2007, scientists from the NPI discovered that the entire station area had fallen into the sea in a landslide.


The country-specific top-level domain (ccTLD) .bv exists for Bouvet Island, but it is currently unused. It is administered by the company UNINETT Norid AS , which is also responsible for the Norwegian ccTLD .no . Just like the ccTLD from Spitzbergen (norw. Svalbard) and Jan Mayen ( .sj ), the top-level domain of Bouvet Island is reserved for potential future use.

In 1990 the island was visited by an international amateur radio expedition and from there the callsign 3Y5X was activated. Another such expedition was planned for 2018 under the callsign 3YØZ. However, it failed due to the weather conditions and technical problems. In March 2019, another amateur radio expedition set out for the island. The callsign for activation from the end of March should be 3Y0I. Due to the prevailing weather conditions, the operation was canceled on March 27, 2019, and the ship was forced to turn back.

The 2004 film Alien vs. Predator is largely set in a fictional, newly discovered pyramid below the island's ice-covered layer.

Esmarch coast (west) of Bouvet Island December 2011

See also


Web links

Commons : Bouvetinsel  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Bouvet Island  - geographical and historical maps

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A Thousand Miles from Nowhere: Image of the Day. In: May 26, 2013, accessed May 13, 2017 .
  2. a b c d Lauritz Sømme: Bouvetøya . In: Beau Riffenburgh (Ed.): Encyclopedia of the Antarctic , Routledge, New York / London 2007, ISBN 0-415-97024-5 , p. 176 f. (English).
  3. ^ Wilhelmplatået (Bouvetøya). In: Place names in Norwegian polar areas. Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), accessed September 28, 2016 .
  4. a b c d Torstein Engelskjøn: Botany of Bouvetøya, South Atlantic Ocean. II. The terrestrial vegetation of Bouvetøya . In: Polar Research . tape 5 , no. 2 , January 12, 1987, ISSN  0800-0395 , p. 129–163 , doi : 10.3402 / polar.v5i2.6872 (English).
  5. Bouvet in the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program , accessed May 13, 2017.
  6. ^ The geology of Bouvetøya (Bouvet Island). Norwegian Polar Institute, accessed May 13, 2017 .
  7. Bouvetøya (Bouvet Island). Norwegian Polar Institute, accessed May 13, 2017 .
  8. Strong likes. 6.1 earthquake - Bouvet Island Region on Friday, October 23, 2015. In: Retrieved May 13, 2017 (English).
  9. John George Sclater et al. a .: The Bouvet Triple Junction . In: Journal of Geophysical Research . tape 81 , no. 11 , April 10, 1976, pp. 1857–1869 , doi : 10.1029 / JB081i011p01857 , bibcode : 1976JGR .... 81.1857S (English).
  10. Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bouvetøya (Bouvet Island). In: BirdLife Data Zone. BirdLife International , accessed May 13, 2017 .
  11. a b Feliks Burdecki: Establishment of a weather station on Bouvet Øya? In: Polar Research . tape 35 , 1965, pp. 38-41 , doi : 10.2312 / polar research . 35.1-2.38 .
  12. Carl Chun : From the depths of the ocean. Descriptions of the German Deep Sea Expedition . Second revised and greatly increased edition. Gustav Fischer, Jena 1905, X. From Cape Town to Bouvet Island, p. 179 ( online in the university library of the Humboldt University , branch library Museum für Naturkunde).
  13. ^ Benjamin Morrell: A Narrative of Four Voyages to the South Sea, North and South Pacific Ocean, Chinese Sea. J. & J. Harper, New York 1835, pp. 58-59
  14. ^ Edward Brooke-Hitching: Atlas of Invented Places. DTV-Verlag, Munich 2017, p. 167
  15. ^ Beau Riffenburgh (ed.): Encyclopedia of the Antarctic (Vol. 1) . Routledge, New York 2007, p. 380
  16. J.-D. Bloch: The newest annexations of Norway in the polar regions . In: Journal for Foreign Public Law and International Law . tape 2 , 1931, p. 160–166 ( online [PDF; 872 kB ]).
  17. ^ William James Mills: Exploring Polar Frontiers - A Historical Encyclopedia . tape 1 . ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara / Denver / Oxford 2003, ISBN 1-57607-422-6 , pp. 96–97 (English, limited preview in Google Book Search).
  18. Alister Doyle: Building on world's most remote island “gone with the wind”. In: Environment Forum. Reuters , October 19, 2007, accessed May 13, 2017 .
  19. Elin Vinje Jenssen: Weather, wind and activity on Bouvetøya (Bouvet Island). Translated from Norwegian by Marte Lundberg. (No longer available online.) Norwegian Polar Institute, January 3, 2008, archived from the original on January 19, 2015 ; accessed on May 13, 2017 (English).
  20. About Norid. UNINETT Norid AS, accessed on May 13, 2017 .
  21. Wayne Beck: Bouvet Island 3Y5X. In: Retrieved May 13, 2017 (English).
  22. DXpedition Bouvet Island. Retrieved February 3, 2018 .
  23. News, Updates & Information. Retrieved February 11, 2018 .
  24. News, Updates & Information. Accessed March 26, 2019 .
  25. 3YØI POSTPONED. Accessed March 31, 2019 .