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Last updated: May 27, 2001 Unless otherwise specified; text, tables, photographs, maps and other graphics © 1999-2001 Gunnar Ljungstrand
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The larger glaciers of Øst-Svartisen

Austerdalsisen from SW Austerdalsisen from SW, July 27, 1997. (66 kB)

Øst-Svartisen is somewhat smaller than its western neighbor, but still very large; number 4 in Norway. It is not a very typical ice cap - rather it consists of two vast depressions with a number of peaks and ridges jutting up here and there. The highest peak at Øst-Svartisen is Sniptinden (1586 m) at the western edge. I also include Høgtuvbreen in this group.

Øst-Svartisen has a slightly more continental climate than its neighbor has, but still receives vast amounts of snow in winter. There has been a mass surplus here as well the latest years, if not as large as farther west, but only small outlets have so far begun to advance again.

Table over the larger glaciers of Øst-Svartisen with basic data

#Name Type Area (km2) Length (km) Lowest point (m) Highest point (m) Height difference (m)
1.Stormyrbreen Cirque glacier 1.09 1.2 890 1360 470
2.Gråtåeggbreen Cirque glacier 1.06 1.3 930 1495 565
3.Leiråbreen Cirque glacier 1.57 1.7 910 1440 530
4.Rundhompbreen Cirque glacier 1.06 1.2 1170 1515 345
5.Skjelåtindbreen Cirque glacier 2.70 2.4 930 1470 540
6.Hanspolsabreen Valley glacier 3.21 3.5 840 1620 780
7.Trollbergdalsbreen Cirque glacier 1.74 2.2 910 1255 345
8.Spidsbreen Glacier complex 14.00 6.2 745 1560 815
8a.of which Bogvassbreen Valley glacier 3.61 3.0 745 1550 805
8b.of which Spidstindbreen Ice cap 1.66 1.7 1250 1540 290
8c.of which Vestre Lappflyttarbreen Ice cap 4.51 3.5 920 1560 640
8d.of which Austre Lappflyttarbreen Ice cap 1.93 1.7 825 1300 475
8e.of which Nevernesbreen Valley glacier 2.29 3.0 835 1550 715
9.Øst-Svartisen Glacier complex 149.80 21.2 210 1555 1345
9a.of which Austerdalsisen Ice cap 55.06 15.6 210 1480 1270
9b.of which Kampliisen Ice cap 3.44 2.9 780 1390 610
9c.of which Søre Snipbreen Cirque glacier 1.52 1.8 950 1490 540
9d.of which Nordre Snipbreen Cirque glacier 3.96 3.1 840 1550 710
9e.of which Søre Nunatakbreen Ice cap 4.62 3.2 730 1455 725
9f.of which Nordre Nunatakbreen Ice cap 8.78 5.3 830 1550 720
9g.of which Sørdalsbreen Ice cap 20.02 8.8 690 1555 865
9h.of which Bogvassbreen Ice cap 2.38 2.3 800 1125 325
9i.of which Fingerbreen Valley glacier 25.67 14.4 450 1545 1095
9j.of which Finnryggbreen Ice cap 1.42 1.3 710 1260 550
9k.of which Lappbreen Ice cap 11.96 8.4 435 1355 920
9l.of which Austre Bjellådalsbreen Ice cap 2.13 2.8 835 1270 435
9m.of which Vestre Bjellådalsbreen Ice cap 3.33 2.7 790 1270 480
9n.of which Nordre Akslabreen Ice cap 1.95 2.6 410 1300 890
9o.of which Søre Akslabreen Cirque glacier 3.56 2.5 830 1300 470
10. Bogfjellbreen Ice cap 1.18 1.4 960 1250 290
11. Ismellomfjellbreen Ice cap 1.63 1.7 950 1350 400
12. Blakkåtindbreen Ice cap 1.84 1.2 975 1265 290
13.Høgtuvbreen Glacier complex 21.38 8.4 650 1280 630
13a.of which Gjervalbreen Cirque glacier 1.52 1.9 780 1240 460
13b.of which Østerdalsbreen Ice cap 0.88 1.3 925 1215 290
13c.of which Tjørnfjellbreen Ice cap 2.72 2.3 775 1200 425
13d.of which Leirdalsbreen Valley glacier 2.54 2.5 650 1190 540
13e.of which Tuvabreen Ice cap 2.97 1.4 855 1280 425
13f.of which Trolldalsbreen Ice cap 3.17 2.2 790 1190 400
13g.of which Sjunioogfemtiobreen Cirque glacier 2.70 3.3 840 1250 410
13h.of which Revtindbreen Ice cap 1.76 1.1 830 1230 400
13i.of which Trolldalsvassbreen Ice cap 3.12 2.9 775 1230 455
Total 202.26


Maps over Øst-Svartisen and Høgtuvbreen

Map over the glaciers in 
Øst-Svartisen Map over the glaciers in Øst-Svartisen. (147 kB)

Map over the glaciers in Høgtuvbreen Map over the glaciers in Høgtuvbreen. (40 kB)


1. Stormyrbreen

Stormyrbreen (1.09 km2) is a cirque glacier in two parts at the east side of Stormyrtinden (1546 m).


2. Gråtåeggbreen

Gråtåeggbreen (1.06 km2), a cirque glacier, lies W of Beiardalen.


3. Leiråbreen

Leiråbreen (1.57 km2) is a fairly large cirque glacier W of Beiardalen.


4. Rundhompbreen

Rundhompbreen (1.06 km2) is a cirque glacier at the east side of Gråtådalen.


5. Skjelåtindbreen

Skjelåtindbreen (2.70 km2) is a large cirque glacier west of southern Beiardalen.


6. Hanspolsabreen

Hanspolsabreen (3.21 km2), a mid-sized valley glacier, lies E of the neighborhood´s highest mountain; Skjelåtinden (1637 m).


7. Trollbergdalsbreen

Trollbergdalsbreen (1.74 km2) is a mid-sized cirque glacier S of Skjelåtinden. It has been the object for mass balance investigations by NVE.


8. Spidsbreen

Spidsbreen (14.00 km2) is a pretty large glacier complex just to the north of Øst-Svartisen. Den consists of 5 parts, and at its northern edge lies Lappflyttarskardet - (= the pass of the moving Lapps).

8a. Bogvassbreen

Bogvassbreen (3.61 km2) is a valley glacier in southern Spidsbreen, with a few small icefalls and ice avalanches from overlying plateau parts.

8b. Spidstindbreen

Spidstindbreen (1.66 km2) is a western outlet of Spidsbreen.

8c. Vestre Lappflyttarbreen

Vestre Lappflyttarbreen (4.51 km2), the largest of the outlets of Spidsbreen, glides down towards north and Lappflyttarskardet.

8d. Austre Lappflyttarbreen

Austre Lappflyttarbreen (1.93 km2) is an outlet of Spidsbreen in two parts at the eastern side of Lappflyttarskardet.

8e. Nevernesbreen

Nevernesbreen (2.29 km2) is a valley glacier at the east side of Spidsbreen. Its upper parts is quite steep.


9. Øst-Svartisen

Austerdalsisen and Austerdalsvatnet Austerdalsisen and Austerdalsvatnet, July 27, 1997. (71 kB)

Øst-Svartisen (149.80 km2) is the eastern of the two large ice caps collectively known as Svartisen. It lies covering the mountains between Vesterdalen and Blakkådalen, and consists mostly of two vast shallow depressions, creating very extensive ice streams.

The largest separate ice streams of Øst-Svartisen is Austerdalsisen, Sørdalsbreen, Fingerbreen, and Lappbreen. During the Little Ice Age Øst-Svartisen too was significantly larger than now and reached all the way down to 73 m asl.

9a. Austerdalsisen

Austerdalsisen from S Austerdalsisen from S, July 27, 1997. (267 kB)

Austerdalsisen (55.06 km2) is the largest outlet glacier from Øst-Svartisen, and the 2nd largest in Norway; only Storglombreen in Vest-Svartisen is larger. It has a vast, somewhat undulating accumulation area, which concentrates its ice in the most massive ice stream in Scandinavia.

The icefall of Austerdalsisen The icefall of Austerdalsisen, July 27, 1997. (77 kB)

The tongue of Austerdalsisen is really not so very steep, but the speed of the ice combined with the stair-like bedrock causes the ice to crack up into a 1200 m wide and 700 m high icefall. Like the rest of Svartisen, Austerdalsisen too should have had large surpluses during the latest years, so it is fairly likely it eventually will start to readvance as well.

The tongue of Austerdalsisen The tongue of Austerdalsisen, July 27, 1997. (156 kB)

During the Little Ice Age Austerdalsisen was even bigger than it is now. It filled up the entire Austerdalsvatnet and was drained in two directions: Partly westward towards Glomdalen, and partly to the east in a tongue which stretched down to, and calving a good distance out into Svartisvatnet. At the western side the snout was at most some 4.5 km farther west than today, and to the east the difference is 3.0 km, and then the ice was more than 300 m thick in the eastern part of the current lake Austerdalsvatnet.

Austerdalsisen from SW Austerdalsisen from SW, July 18, 2000. (68 kB)

At the end of the 19th century the eastern branch had retreated enough so that it was not calving in the lake anymore, and right after the last turn of the century it had retreated out of Svartisvatnet entirely. Then the retreat accelerated, and around 1960 the eastern branch of Austerdalsisen had essentially disappeared.

The ice cliff of Austerdalsisen The ice cliff of Austerdalsisen, July 27, 1997. (86 kB)

Austerdalsisen now stands with an unusually high and savage ice cliff in Austerdalsvatnet, a lake almost entirely formed during the 20th century. The ice cliff is 700 m wide and a staggering 70 m high. A small lake appeared at the western branch of Austerdalsisen at the end of the 19th century. First the lake only grew slowly, but in the 1940s it was more than 1 km long and quite deep to boot. Therefore the ice started breaking up faster in catastrophic calving.

Austerdalsisen from W Austerdalsisen from W, July 18, 2000. (75 kB)

At the same time the lake grew, and starting in 1941 it was tapped eastward, below the ice. The draining of 0.15 km3 water, lowering the lake level by 60 m, happened during three weeks though so a flood disaster could be avoided. Then the lake was regularly emptied every year, and the jökulhlaup became larger and more intense for every year. A tunnel for stopping the uncontrolled drainings was finished in 1959 at first.

The meltwater tunnel from Austerdalsvatnet The meltwater tunnel from Austerdalsvatnet, July 27, 1997. (124 kB)

After the tunnel was finished the retreat slowed down somewhat, but in 1971 a lake started to form on the eastern side of the tongue as well. Since it had the same level as the larger western lake it was obvious that there was a connection beneath the ice. In 1982 the tongue lost contact with the southern mountain side; the two lakes joined into one, and the calving increased once more. In 1987 the whole floating part of the tongue disconnected in one event, and since then it has had approximately the same position as today.

Svartisvatnet from E Svartisvatnet from E, July 18, 2000. (50 kB)

Austerdalsisen calves fairly much in the lake and this can be a danger; in the summer of 1989 a tourist was drowned by powerful waves from a large calving. Starting from the end of the road at the east end of Svartisvatnet you can take the boat across the lake (expensive) and then walk up for half an hour to the glacier tongue. Alternatively you can hike along a path beside the lake; count on 2 hours in that case.

The ice front of Austerdalsisen The ice front of Austerdalsisen, July 18, 2000. (73 kB)

Stereo image of the ice front of Austerdalsisen.

9b. Kampliisen

Kampliisen from SW Kampliisen from SW, July 19, 2000. (64 kB)

Kampliisen (3.44 km2) is a small outlet at the western edge of Øst-Svartisen. It has quite a steep tongue with a 800 m wide and 400 m high icefall, descending down a series of staircase-like terraces. Kampliisen has started to advance again during the latest years.

9c. Søre Snipbreen

Søre Snipbreen (1.52 km2) is a small cirque glacier in western Øst-Svartisen with a small 300 m wide and 200 m high icefall.

9d. Nordre Snipbreen

Nordre Snipbreen (3.96 km2) is a cirque glacier in western Øst-Svartisen with an 800 m wide and 200 m high icefall down towards the tongue. This glacier too has begun to advance somewhat.

9e. Søre Nunatakbreen

Søre Nunatakbreen (4.62 km2), an ice cap at the western edge of Øst-Svartisen, has slowly begun to advance again. It has a 1.1 km wide and 400 m high icefall in its tongue and was during the Little Ice Age continuos with Breitindsbreen in Vest-Svartisen.

9f. Nordre Nunatakbreen

Nordre Nunatakbreen (8.78 km2) is a quite large even outlet of Øst-Svartisen. It lies at the northwestern edge of the glacier complex, and glides out across a cliff in its lowermost part.

9g. Sørdalsbreen

The tongue of Sørdalsbreen The tongue of Sørdalsbreen, July 20, 2000. (31 kB)

Sørdalsbreen (20.02 km2) is the 3rd largest outlet of Øst-Svartisen, a 3 km wide ice stream moving northwards in a wide depression to the east of Istinden (1572 m). The eastern part of the accumulation area is drained eastwards to Fingerbreen, but a bit more than half continues to the north until the tongue is split in two by Glomvassfjellet. The snout is even and gently sloping, suggesting the glacier is still in retreat. This glacier is despite its size very unknown, but it should be relatively free of crevasses due to its gentle and even slope. The glacier lies pretty far out in the wilderness, but you can reach it after one day´s hike around the east side of lake Storglomvatnet from the end of the construction road.

9h. Bogvassbreen

Bogvassbreen (2.38 km2) is a small outlet from northern Øst-Svartisen, in a valley leading eastward towards Bogvatnet.

9i. Fingerbreen

Fingerbreen from NE Fingerbreen from NE, July 21, 2000. (62 kB)

Fingerbreen (25.67 km2) is a mighty valley glacier in Øst-Svartisen, which shares its accumulation area with the almost as big but less spectacular Sørdalsbreen. The ice stream makes a very sharp 90-degree turn to the east in a 700 m wide and 200 m high icefall and then calmly flows southeastward in the marked valley almost out into Blakkådalen.

The tongue of Fingerbreen from SE The tongue of Fingerbreen from SE, July 21, 2000. (61 kB)

During the Little Ice Age Fingerbreen crossed Blakkådalen and dammed Blakkåga; a position some 2.2 km farther out than now. Fingerbreen is probably still retreating, but the tongue has become both thicker and more crevassed some distance upwards, so it is possible that it will begin readvancing in 10 years or so. Probably the glacier got its name late, since it is primarily in aerial images the similarity to a finger is obvious.

The moraines of Fingerbreen in Blakkådalen The moraines of Fingerbreen in Blakkådalen, July 21, 2000. (47 kB)

From Blakkådalshytta (which you reach after a day´s hike from the road in Raudvassdalen) it takes about half a day to come up across to Fingerbreen. Then you must cross the stream Blakkåga (above the tributary from the glacier). Earlier there has been a bridge here, but it is gone. However, there is a dam in Blakkåga 5 km upstream, leading over water to Storglomvatnet, so usually the stream is fordable. At intense snowmelt or heavy rain the capacity of the tunnel is exceeded though and a lot of water from upper Blakkådalen rushes across the dam and down the valley, making it impossible to ford the stream.

9j. Finnryggbreen

Finnryggbreen (1.42 km2) is a small part of Øst-Svartisen, above the nameless valley of Lappbreen.

9k. Lappbreen

The tongue of Lappbreen from E The tongue of Lappbreen from E, July 21, 2000. (77 kB)

Lappbreen (11.96 km2) is a large outlet at the eastern side of Øst-Svartisen. It sends down a long and pretty narrow tongue in a nameless side valley to Blakkådalen, where it formerly dammed a lake. In the lower part of the tongue there is a 600 m wide and 300 m high icefall.

The icefall of Lappbreen The icefall of Lappbreen, July 21, 2000. (57 kB)

The outermost terminal moraine from the Little Ice Age lies some 2.4 km ahead of the current position. Lappbreen has not yet begun to advance again. From Fingerbreen you can get to the snout of Lappbreen in a little more than an hour.

The moraines of Lappbreen The moraines of Lappbreen, July 21, 2000. (70 kB)

9l. Austre Bjellådalsbreen

Austre Bjellådalsbreen (2.13 km2) is a small tongue at the south side of Øst-Svartisen with a discontinuos 1.5 km wide and 300 m high icefall.

9m. Vestre Bjellådalsbreen

Vestre Bjellådalsbreen from SE Vestre Bjellådalsbreen from SE, July 22, 2000. (58 kB)

Vestre Bjellådalsbreen (3.33 km2) is an ice cap in the southeastern part of Øst-Svartisen. It has a small 600 m wide and 200 m high icefall, and formerly was continuos with Nordre Akslabreen.

9n. Nordre Akslabreen

Akslabreen from E Akslabreen from E, July 21, 2000. (66 kB)

Nordre Akslabreen (1.95 km2) is a small ice cap in southern Øst-Svartisen. It now ends above a precipice with a 1.1 km wide and 400 m high icefall, but used to be continuos with Vestre Bjellådalsbreen. Down below in the valley there is a regenerated glacier.

9o. Søre Akslabreen

Søre Akslabreen (3.56 km2), a small cirque glacier, lies at the south edge of Øst-Svartisen. It has a 1.7 km wide and 200 m high icefall.

  • Svartisen Research Project, University of Manchester

  • 10. Bogfjellbreen

    Ismellomfjellbreen (1.18 km2) is an ice cap just north of Fingerbreen.


    11. Ismellomfjellbreen

    Ismellomfjellbreen (1.63 km2) is an ice cap on the mountain between Fingerbreen and Lappbreen in Øst-Svartisen.


    12. Blakkåtindbreen

    Blakkåtindbreen (1.84 km2) is an ice cap next to the south end of Øst-Svartisen.


    13. Høgtuvbreen

    Høgtuvbreen from E Høgtuvbreen from E, July 27, 1997. (50 kB)

    Høgtuvbreen (21.38 km2) is a complex ice cap complex in the southwesternmost Svartisen area. It has an extremely maritime climate with a precipitation of 5000 mm a year, and is seldom visited.

    Høgtuvbreen from S Høgtuvbreen from S, September 27, 2000. (50 kB)

    13a. Gjervalbreen

    Gjervalbreen (1.52 km2), a cirque glacier, is the northwesternmost part of Høgtuvbreen.

    13b. Østerdalsbreen

    Østerdalsbreen (0.88 km2) is a small outlet from Høgtuvbreen, which hangs above the steep Østerdalen.

    13c. Tjørnfjellbreen

    Tjørnfjellbreen (2.72 km2) is an ice cap in northern Høgtuvbreen.

    13d. Leirdalsbreen

    Leirdalsbreen (2.54 km2) is a small valley glacier in central Høgtuvbreen. This glacier tongue reaches furthest down, and has been an object for mass balance investigations, performed by NVE.

    13e. Tuvabreen

    Tuvabreen (2.97 km2) is an ice cap in central Høgtuvbreen.

    13f. Trolldalsbreen

    Trolldalsbreen (3.17 km2), an ice cap in southern Høgtuvbreen, hangs over the edge towards S and E.

    13g. Sjunioogfemtiobreen

    Sjunioogfemtiobreen (2.70 km2), a cirque glacier in southern Høgtuvbreen, glides down towards Sjunioogfemtiovatnet.

    13h. Revtindbreen

    Revtindbreen (1.76 km2) is the southwesternmost part of Høgtuvbreen.

    13i. Trolldalsvassbreen

    Trolldalsvassbreen (3.12 km2), the southernmost part of Høgtuvbreen, fills up a cirque.


    Start page Top
    Top of
    document
    Previous
    The larger glaciers
    of Vest-Svartisen
    Up
    The larger glaciers
    of Svartisen
    Next
    The larger glaciers
    of Saltfjellet
    Site map
    Site
    map
    Email
    Email the
    author
    Copyleft
    Copyleft
    information
    På svenska
    Detta dokument
    på svenska
    Last updated: May 27, 2001 Unless otherwise specified; text, tables, photographs, maps and other graphics © 1999-2001 Gunnar Ljungstrand
    Images with size information (xx kB) leads to the corresponding image in 4 x better resolution.