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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 Vest-Svartisen

Fonndalsbreen from N Fonndalsbreen from N, July 28, 1997. (88 kB)

Vest-Svartisen is the 2nd largest glacier of Norway; a vast more than 600 m thick shield covering the mountains, with steep icefalls in every direction. In the north down into Storglomvatnet, in the west down towards the sea, in the east towards Vesterdalen. The southernmost part of the ice cap, around Steintinden, is more irregular, with peaks and ridges jutting up from the ice masses. The highest point on Vest-Svartisen is Snøtinden (1594 m); a small nunatak almost covered by ice.

Vest-Svartisen enjoys a very maritime climate, with huge amounts of snow in winter. The latest decade it has snowed so much that the ice has grown a lot in thickness in the upper parts, and now it begins to show by some tongues starting to advance. Svartisen is also the lowest reaching continuos ice in Scandinavia - now just some 10 m asl.

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

#Name Type Area (km2) Length (km) Lowest point (m) Highest point (m) Height difference (m)
1.Glombreen Glacier complex 7.42 5.2 735 1165 430
1a.of which Ruffedalsbreen Ice cap 1.26 0.9 735 1060 325
1b.of which Vakkerdalsbreen Ice cap 1.65 1.8 700 1040 340
1c.of which Glomnesbreen Ice cap 1.07 1.4 790 1075 285
1d.of which Tverrfjellbreen Ice cap 2.00 1.9 775 1165 390
1e.of which Istindbreen Ice cap 1.44 1.6 760 1110 350
2.Sæterbreen Glacier complex 2.56 4.6 710 1255 545
2a.of which Vestre Sæterbreen Cirque glacier 0.46 1.0 760 1200 440
2b.of which Nordre Sæterbreen Ice cap 0.70 1.5 710 1255 545
2c.of which Midtre Sæterbreen Ice cap 0.47 1.0 810 1240 430
2d.of which Austre Sæterbreen Cirque glacier 0.93 0.9 740 1130 390
3.Fykanbreen Glacier complex 4.18 4.4 715 1185 470
3a.of which Bjerangsbreen Ice cap 1.74 2.1 715 1185 470
3b.of which Middagstuvbreen Ice cap 2.44 2.1 740 1155 415
4.Vest-Svartisen Glacier complex 220.88 27.0 10 1585 1575
4a.of which Flatisen Valley glacier 16.43 8.6 300 1470 1170
4b.of which Austre Glomdalsbreen Cirque glacier 3.24 2.9 745 1410 665
4c.of which Vestre Glomdalsbreen Ice cap 5.30 4.1 500 1440 940
4d.of which Søre Glomdalsbreen Ice cap 2.32 2.6 760 1070 310
4e.of which Svartisheibreen Valley glacier 5.40 4.6 735 1435 700
4f.of which Søre Steintindbreen Ice cap 1.18 1.3 1000 1405 405
4g.of which Vestre Steintindbreen Cirque glacier 0.34 1.2 765 1170 405
4h.of which Austre Steintindbreen Cirque glacier 6.79 2.7 635 1400 765
4i.of which Austre Nordfjordbreen Ice cap 7.89 5.2 190 1470 1280
4j.of which Midtre Nordfjordbreen Ice cap 6.42 3.6 125 1430 1305
4k.of which Vestre Nordfjordbreen Ice cap 3.17 4.0 610 1430 820
4l.of which Bjørnstigbreen Ice cap 3.24 2.6 755 1200 445
4m.of which Fonndalsbreen Ice cap 14.90 7.8 265 1430 1165
4n.of which Engabreen Ice cap 36.21 13.1 10 1575 1565
4o.of which Litlbreen Ice cap 1.80 2.5 895 1210 315
4p.of which Ettindsbreen Cirque glacier 0.96 1.8 680 1210 530
4q.of which Dimdalsbreen Ice cap 1.46 1.9 590 1210 620
4r.of which Frokosttindbreen Ice cap 8.64 4.2 690 1275 585
4s.of which Tretten-null-tobreen Ice cap 2.43 2.2 880 1275 395
4t.of which Middagstuvbreen Ice cap 2.60 1.8 825 1260 435
4u.of which Nordre Holmvassbreen Ice cap 6.03 2.9 700 1260 560
4v.of which Søre Holmvassbreen Ice cap 5.97 3.7 585 1270 685
4w.of which Storglombreen Ice cap 58.69 13.2 585 1585 1000
4x.of which Terskaldbreen Ice cap 7.97 5.8 730 1380 650
4y.of which Breitindsbreen Ice cap 2.17 2.7 755 1350 595
4z.of which Austre Gryttindbreen Ice cap 2.97 2.6 585 1390 805
4å.of which Vestre Gryttindbreen Ice cap 2.36 2.6 465 1470 1005
4ä.of which Snøtindbreen Cirque glacier 4.00 3.0 355 1580 1225
5.Stelåvassbreen Cirque glacier 1.14 1.7 785 1360 575
6.Skavikbreen Glacier complex 3.11 2.8 835 1300 465
6a.of which Steetbreen Ice cap 1.73 1.9 855 1300 445
6b.of which Rognabreen Ice cap 1.38 1.1 835 1300 465
Total 239.29


Map over Vest-Svartisen

Map over the glaciers in 
Vest-Svartisen Map over the glaciers in Vest-Svartisen. (144 kB)


1. Glombreen

Glombreen (7.42 km2) is an ice cap to the north of Glomfjorden and Vest-Svartisen.

1a. Ruffedalsbreen

Ruffedalsbreen (1.26 km2) is the easternmost part of Glombreen; a sloping ice cap.

1b. Vakkerdalsbreen

Vakkerdalsbreen (1.65 km2) is the part of Glombreen which lies above Vakkerdalsskardet.

1c. Glomnesbreen

Glomnesbreen (1.07 km2) is a southern outlet of Glombreen.

1d. Tverrfjellbreen

Tverrfjellbreen (2.00 km2) is the part of Glombreen that drains towards the southwest.

1e. Istindbreen

Istindbreen (1.44 km2), a pretty steep ice cap in Glombreen, hangs out over the northern edge.


2. Sæterbreen

Sæterbreen from NW Sæterbreen from NW, July 25, 2000. (54 kB)

Sæterbreen (2.56 km2) is a complex glacier complex of small glaciers in Sætertindan to the south of Glomfjorden.

2a. Vestre Sæterbreen

Vestre Sæterbreen (0.46 km2) is a steep cirque glacier in Sæterbreen.

2b. Nordre Sæterbreen

Nordre Sæterbreen (0.70 km2) in Sæterbreen sends down a steep tongue towards the fiord.

2c. Midtre Sæterbreen

Midtre Sæterbreen (0.47 km2) is a small ice cap in central Sæterbreen.

2d. Austre Sæterbreen

Austre Sæterbreen (0.93 km2) is the easternmost part of Sæterbreen, a rather irregular cirque glacier.


3. Fykanbreen

Fykanbreen (4.18 km2) is a small glacier complex just to the north of Vest-Svartisen. Not so long time ago Fykanbreen was a part of this very much bigger ice mass.

3a. Bjerangsbreen

Bjerangsbreen (1.74 km2) is the western part of Fykanbreen.

3b. Middagstuvbreen

Middagstuvbreen (2.44 km2), an ice cap, is the part of Fykanbreen that drains towards the east.


4. Vest-Svartisen

Engabreen from NW Engabreen from NW, July 28, 1997. (74 kB)

Vest-Svartisen (220.88 km2) is the western and largest of the two big ice caps, known by a common name as Svartisen. It covers the mountains between Glomfjord in the north and Melfjord in the south; Vesterdalen in the east and the sea in the west. The largest separate outlets are Flatisen, Fonndalsbreen, Engabreen, and Storglombreen. During the so-called Little Ice Age in the 18th century Svartisen, like other glaciers, advanced a lot and laid waste to fields, meadows and whole farms. Several outlets from Vest-Svartisen reached straight or almost down into the sea during this period.

Maps based on data from Sætrang, Arne; Kartlegging av istykkelse på Vestre Svartisen 1986 and Glasiologiske undersøkelser i Norge 1992-93 and 1994-95, supplemented by own observations.

The surface topography of northern 
Vest-Svartisen The surface topography of northern Vest-Svartisen. (81 kB)
The bed topography of northern 
Vest-Svartisen The bed topography of northern Vest-Svartisen. (151 kB)
The ice thickness of northern 
Vest-Svartisenk The ice thickness of northern Vest-Svartisen. (133 kB)

Most of the bottom topography of Vest-Svartisen has been mapped, and it has turned out that there are several very deep ice-filled overdeepened basins, where up to 300 m deep lakes would form were the ice to disappear. The ice depth in a number of places is more than 500 m; the maximum is some 640 m - the very highest measured value anywhere in Scandinavia. The about 166 km2 large measured part contains some 35.8 km3 of ice and has an average depth of 215 m.

4a. Flatisen

Flatisen from E Flatisen from E, July 19, 2000. (66 kB)

Flatisen (16.43 km2) in Vest-Svartisen is actually more of a valley glacier with tributary plateau areas. It marks the borderline between the vast snow plateau in the north and the more chaotic icefield around Steintinden in the south. There are sometimes ice avalanches down the precipice on the south side, and the tongue gets a significant tributary from the 2.8 km wide and 900 m high icefall on the north side. Flatisen ends with a 600 m wide and 20 m high ice cliff in the deep lake Flatisvatnet. This lake has been uncovered in almost its entirety in the 20th century, starting around 1935.

The ice cliff of Flatisen The ice cliff of Flatisen, July 19, 2000. (76 kB)

Earlier Flatisen filled up the whole of the valley junction in a wide lobe and dammed another small lake at the upstream side. Since the lake is deep itense calving started, with the accompanying catastrophical retreat. The ice front now lies some 4.3 km behind its maximum position, and continues its retreat, if at a somewhat slower rate. The very latest years the large snow surplus on Svartisen has increased the ice flow in particular from the north, which possibly could result in an advance in a few years. Snøtindbreen was formerly continuos with Flatisen.

Flatisen and Flatisvatnet Flatisen and Flatisvatnet, July 19, 2000. (69 kB)

You can get up to Flatisvatnet after about half a day´s hike from the end of the road at Fisktjørna, but Flatisen proper is rather inaccessible. The northern and the southern valley sides both are very steep sheer rock slabs and a boat is necessary to get to the glacier tongue. Stereo image of Flatisen and Flatisvatnet.

4b. Austre Glomdalsbreen

Austre Glomdalsbreen (3.24 km2) is a small outlet in southern Vest-Svartisen. Earlier it was continuos with Vestre Glomdalsbreen, above which tongue it hangs.

4c. Vestre Glomdalsbreen

Glomdalsbreen from E Glomdalsbreen from E, July 18, 2000. (66 kB)

Vestre Glomdalsbreen (5.30 km2) is a rather large outlet from the southernmost part of Vest-Svartisen. Austre Glomdalsbreen formerly was a part of it, and the ice reached right down in and dammed the river in Glomdalen; a position some 1.7 km farther down than the current. Down on the tongue this glacier has a small 700 m wide and 100 m high icefall, and the ice front has started to advance again.

4d. Søre Glomdalsbreen

Søre Glomdalsbreen (2.32 km2) is a small ice cap in southernmost Vest-Svartisen.

4e. Svartisheibreen

Svartisheibreen (5.40 km2) is a mid-sized valley glacier in southwesternmost Vest-Svartisen. During the 1980s a lake started to form in the western part of the tongue, and through intense calving it grew fast. In April 1991 the ice-dammed lake was tapped in a jökulhlaup, but ever since then the water level has remained stable.

In the late 1990s the retreat has in principle stopped, and the lake does not grow any more. This might be a result of increased ice flow due to the snow surplus of the latest years. The middle part of the glacier is heavily crevassed, in spite of it not being particularly steep. Since the ice ought not to move with such a high velocity this is probably because of a very irregular bed. At Svartisheibreen mass balance measurements were performed by NVE during a few years.

Maps based on data from Kjøllmoen, Bjarne och Kennet, Mike; Breundersøkelser på Svartisheibreen 1988-94, supplemented with own observations.

The surface topography of 
Svartisheibreen The surface topography of Svartisheibreen. (10 kB)
The bottom topography of Svartisheibreen The bottom topography of Svartisheibreen. (13 kB)
The ice thickness of 
Svartisheibreen The ice thickness of Svartisheibreen. (11 kB)

In addition the bottom topography has been mapped, and Svartisheibreen has turned out to be unusually thick for its size with a maximum depth of about 310 m. Svartisheibreen's volume is about 0,59 km3 with an average ice thickness of 109 m.

4f. Søre Steintindbreen

Søre Steintindbreen (1.18 km2) is a small ice cap in southwesternmost Vest-Svartisen.

4g. Vestre Steintindbreen

Vestre Steintindbreen (0.34 km2), a small cirque glacier, lies in the southwesternmost part of Vest-Svartisen.

4h. Austre Steintindbreen

Austre Steintindbreen (6.79 km2) is a large and wide cirque glacier to the north of Steintinden and south of Nordfjordbotn in southern Vest-Svartisen. It ends in a 500 m wide and 200 m high icefall above the precipice towards the valley.

4i. Austre Nordfjordbreen

Austre Nordfjordbreen (7.89 km2), an ice cap in southern Vest-Svartisen, sends down a steep tongue towards Nordfjordbotnen, with a 1.6 km wide and 700 m high icefall, forming two regenerated glaciers below. During the Little Ice Age the ice tongue down in the valley was pretty large and reached far down towards Nordfjordbotnen.

4j. Midtre Nordfjordbreen

Midtre Nordfjordbreen (6.42 km2) is the middle part of Nordfjordbreen, an ice cap in southern Vest-Svartisen, which glides forward straight to a high precipice with a 1.2 km wide and 300 m high icefall. Formerly there was a regenerated glacier below, which possibly reached all the way down into Nordfjorden during the Little Ice Age´s climax.

4k. Vestre Nordfjordbreen

Vestre Nordfjordbreen (3.17 km2) is a small outlet in southern Vest-Svartisen, which slides forward to a high precipice above Nordfjorden, with a 500 m wide and 400 m high icefall. This ice stream too created a regenerated glacier, which may have reached all the way down into the fiord.

4l. Bjørnstigbreen

Bjørnstigbreen (3.24 km2) is a small outlet of western Vest-Svartisen.

4m. Fonndalsbreen

Fonndalsbreen from N Fonndalsbreen from N, July 28, 1997. (240 kB)

Fonndalsbreen (14.90 km2) is a large outlet from westernmost Vest-Svartisen. Its upper part is an even snow plateau, with up to slightly more than 300 m thick ice, which glides down to the NW to the edge of the mountain plateau, where the ice masses flow down in a magnificent icefall.

The icefall of Fonndalsbreen The icefall of Fonndalsbreen, July 28, 1997. (136 kB)

The icefall of Fonndalsbreen is 500 m high and 1000 m wide (the central, continuos section 300 m wide). During the great retreat in the 20th century the icefall almost completely disappeared, but since 1980 it has reformed and the glacier tongue readvanced almost 1 km. The icefall has a central continuos part with ice cliffs on either side, where ice masses avalanches down.

The tongue of Fonndalsbreen from NW The tongue of Fonndalsbreen from NW, July 28, 1997. (118 kB)

During the Lttle Ice Age Fonndalsbreen reached much further down the valley. The outermost terminal moraine lies some 1.8 km further down the valley than the current position, down at some 80 m asl.

The advancing tongue of Fonndalsbreen The advancing tongue of Fonndalsbreen, July 23, 2000. (97 kB)

In those times the upper icefall was continuos in its entire width (1.2 km), the ice filled up the basin of the current lake Fonndalsvatnet, and there was a lower 200 m high icefall across the cliffs damming up the lake. The lower icefall existed well into the mid-1930s. The glacier is currently (2000) advancing rapidly.

Avalance ice on Fonndalsbreen Avalanche ice on Fonndalsbreen, July 28, 1997. (118 kB)

In icefalls which are steep enough for large chunks of ice to fall off and tumble down as ice avalanches the material creates so-called avalanche cones below the ice cliffs. The longer the ice falls before it hits ground the more completely it is crushed. Usually the avalanche cones consist of crushed ice reminiscent of snow in its consistency, with embedded larger chunks of ice.

Fonndalsbreen and Fonndalen Fonndalsbreen and Fonndalen, July 23, 2000. (108 kB)

In the below image a crevasse clearly shows the layering in the snout of Fonndalsbreen. At the top lies a half a meter thick layer of smashed ice, presumably from ice avalanches that summer. Under it there is a layer of winter snow, and at the bottom the crushed ice from the previous year can be glimpsed.

Layering in Fonndalsbreen Layering in Fonndalsbreen, July 28, 1997. (83 kB)

The river Fonndalselva nowadays has much less water than before, since a tunnel in below Fonndalsbreen has been blasted out, tapping most of the water. It runs to the hydroelectric lake Storglomvatnet to increase the energy production there. From the boat at Engen it takes slightly more than 2 hours to get up to upper Fonndalen and Fonndalsbreen, mostly on good path, but some easier scramling is required in the cliffs below the lake.

Fonndalsbreen from N Fonndalsbreen from N, July 23, 2000. (75 kB)

Stereo image of Fonndalsbreen from N.

The steep front of Fonndalsbreen The steep front of Fonndalsbreen, July 23, 2000. (62 kB)

Stereo image of the steep front of Fonndalsbreen.

4n. Engabreen

Engabreen and Engabrevatnet Engabreen and Engabrevatnet, July 23, 2000. (102 kB)

Engabreen (36.21 km2), or Engenbreen, as it is locally known as, is the widest known and second largest of the outlets of Vest-Svartisen.

The tongue of Engabreen from N The tongue of Engabreen from N, July 28, 1997. (149 kB)

From an extensive accumulation area the ice is concentrated at the same time it is bent into S-shape. From some 900 m asl and all the way down to the snout at 10 m (!) the ice is very heavily crevassed, here and there in up to half a km wide and a couple of hundred m high icefalls. The upper parts of Engabreen has a thickness of up to some 450 m.

Contorted crevasses on Engabreen Contorted crevasses on Engabreen, July 28, 1997. (108 kB)

The reason Engabreen´s surface is so shattered by crevasses is primarily that the bed is irregular and that the ice moves very rapidly; the tongue is after all not extremely steep. In 1928 J. Rekstad measured a speed of 1.75 m in a day, and as late as 1990 the velocity some distance up the tongue (at 700 m asl) was still 1.0 m/day. The stream from Engabreen now has a much smaller discharge than before, since tunnels have been blasted out under the ice.

Ice towers in Engabreen Ice towers in Engabreen, July 23, 2000. (41 kB)

The water now runs down to the hydroelectric dam of Storglomvatnet slightly more than 10 km to the east, in order to increase the energy production there. Since Engabreen extends so far down it was not possible to tap the water at the snout, so they had to tunnel in below the ice, at a level higher than the dam, where the ice is 180 m thick. These tunnels are also used for glaciological research. Stereo image of ice towers in Engabreen.

The heavily crevassed front of Engabreen The heavily crevassed front of Engabreen, July 28, 1997. (77 kB)

Engabreen retreated all the way into the 1950s; thereafter it was in principle stable until the mid 1990s when it started advancing rapidly, with up to 100 m a year. Now the vast snow surpluses from the early 1990s evidently is starting to come down to the snout. An advancing ice front is often very crevassed, and Engabreen is no exception; wild ice towers loom over tumbled ice blocks. Stereo image of the heavily crevassed front of Engabreen.

The snout of Engabreen from the delta The snout of Engabreen from the delta, July 28, 1997. (111 kB)

The snout of Engabreen reaches farthest down at the western side, in a small cleft. As of this writing (Aug 2000) the ice extends all the way down to the tiny delta at the south end of Engabrevatnet; the ice has not been as far advanced since the 1950s.

The front of Engabreen with 'push-moraine' The front of Engabreen with 'push-moraine', July 23, 2000. (91 kB)

If the current advance continues the glacier will begin calving in the lake within a few years. The mass balance of Engabreen has been measured every year since 1970 by NVE, and in that time (up to 2000) the net surplus has been a massive 24.1 m water equivalent, distributed over the entire ice stream. This is a very high number (the highest among all measured glaciers), and Engabreen should therefore be able to advance quite some distance in coming years.

The tongue of Engabreen from NW The tongue of Engabreen from NW, July 28, 1997. (85 kB)

During the Little Ice age Engabreen advanced far and in 1723 it destroyed the farm of Storsteinøren, which should have lied some distance further in the valley compared to where the farm of Svartisen lies today. It reached all the way out into the sea and calved in Holandsfjorden, and at the latest turn of the century the ice front was still only a few hundred m behind the shore.

The tongue of Engabreen from NW The tongue of Engabreen from NW, July 23, 2000. (80 kB)

It is likely that Engabrevatnet did not exist before this big advance, but that its basin was filled with sediments deposited during many hundreds of years, and that the advancing ice bulldozed all this material ahead, depositing it out in the fiord as massive moraines. Stereo image of the tongue of Engabreen from NW.

The tongue of Engabreen above Engabrevatnet The tongue of Engabreen above Engabrevatnet, July 23, 2000. (102 kB)

Even when the tongue had retreated from the waterfront proper the river carried large amounts of ice blocks out into the sea, where local fishermen picked them up, using them for fish refrigeration. Until the early 1930s the retreat was fairly slow, but then Engabrevatnet started to form. Intense calving began, with catastrophic retreat as the consequence, and at the end of the 1940s the entire lake was visible. As its most extensive the front of Engabreen stood some 2.7 km farther out than now.

Svartis poppy at Engabreen Svartis poppy at Engabreen, July 28, 1997. (71 kB)

Next to Engabreen, as well as up on Helgelandsbukken (1454 m), the very rare Svartis poppy (Papaver radicatum ssp. subglobosum) grows. From Holand or Braset there are regular boats over to the south side of the fiord, from where it is an easy hour´s walk on a wide path to the glacier tongue.

4o. Litlbreen

Litlbreen from W Litlbreen from W, July 28, 1997. (55 kB)

Litlbreen (1.80 km2) is a small outlet of Vest-Svartisen. The tourist hut Tåkeheimen lies at its northern edge.

4p. Ettindsbreen

Ettindbreen from N Ettindbreen from N, July 27, 1997. (46 kB)

Ettindsbreen (0.96 km2), a cirque glacier, lies at the northern edge of Vest-Svartisen, at the east side of Helgelandsbukken. Its lower part is a 400 m wide and 300 m high icefall.

4q. Dimdalsbreen

Dimdalsbreen from N Dimdalsbreen from N, July 24, 2000. (54 kB)

Dimdalsbreen (1.46 km2) is a small steep tongue on the north side of Vest-Svartisen, with a 1.1 km wide and 300 m high icefall.

4r. Frokosttindbreen

Frokosttindbreen from W Frokosttindbreen from W, July 24, 2000. (47 kB)

Frokosttindbreen (8.64 km2), a quite large outlet of Vest-Svartisen towards the north and Holandsfjorden, ends at a steep cliff, where the very ice front is a 1.6 km wide and 200 m high icefall. Here ice avalanches may fall down into the valley threatening life and property, especially if this glacier continues advancing as it has the latest years. In the upper part the ice is 400 m thick.

The ice front of Frokosttindbreen The ice front of Frokosttindbreen, July 24, 2000. (61 kB)

4s. Tretten-null-tobreen

Tretten-null-tobreen (2.43 km2) is a small outlet of northernmost Vest-Svartisen.

4t. Middagstuvbreen

Middagstuvbreen (2.60 km2), a small ice cap, lies at the north edge of Vest-Svartisen.

4u. Nordre Holmvassbreen

Nordre Holmvassbreen from E Nordre Holmvassbreen from E, September 28, 2000. (57 kB)

Nordre Holmvassbreen (6.03 km2) is a fairly large outlet from the northern part of Vest-Svartisen.

4v. Søre Holmvassbreen

Søre Holmvassbreen (5.97 km2) is a quite large ice cap in northern Vest-Svartisen. Due to the rise of the dam level in Storglomvatnet this glacier now once more calves in that lake.

4w. Storglombreen

Storglombreen from N Storglombreen from N, September 28, 2000. (48 kB)

Storglombreen (58.69 km2) is the largest ice stream of Vest-Svartisen, indeed of entire Norway. It is almost rectangular, and claims the bigger part of the northern snow plateau as accumulation area. In the western part the ice is more than 600 m thick - the highest value measured anywhere in Norway! A 5 km wide (!) ice stream slowly glides towards the NE, before it just before the drop before Storglomvatnet splits up into three tongues.

Storglombreen (middle tongue) from N Storglombreen (middle tongue) from N, September 28, 2000. (48 kB)

The two western ones throw themselves down into the lake in savage, up to 300 m high and 2 km wide icefalls, and form tens of meters high ice cliffs, 800 and 600 m wide, respectively. The eastern tongue is somewhat calmer, only extending down into the lake a little, and this only because of the rise of the water level. Between 1985 and 1988 mass balance measurements were performed here by NVE, and they were restarted in 2000. The measurements showed that Storglombreen too has increased in thickness, even if the tongues not yet have begun to readvance. The higher water level has made the ice tongues retreat instead, due to increased calving.

Storglombreen (western tongue) from N Storglombreen (western tongue) from N, September 28, 2000. (140 kB)

From Fykan at the north mouth of Svartistunnelen a work road leads up to the northwestern inlet of Storglomvatnet. From there you can walk along the shore to the westernmost tongue of Storglombreen in an hour. The middle and eastern ones are more inaccessible and demand either that you cross the extremely heavily crevassed western tongue some distance up, walk around the entire lake on its eastern side (one day´s hike), or have a boat in the lake.

Storglombreen (western tongue) and Storglomvatnet Storglombreen (western tongue) and Storglomvatnet, September 28, 2000. (58 kB)

4x. Terskaldbreen

Terskaldbreen (7.97 km2) is an ice cap in eastern Vest-Svartisen. This one too has increased some during later years.

4y. Breitindsbreen

Breitindsbreen (2.17 km2), a small ice cap, lies at the eastern edge of Vest-Svartisen. This glacier, which has a 700 m wide and 400 m high icefall, was continuos with Søre Nunatakbreen in Øst-Svartisen during the Little Ice Age. During the last few years this glacier tongue has started to advance again.

4z. Austre Gryttindbreen

Austre Gryttindbreen from S Austre Gryttindbreen from S, July 19, 2000. (96 kB)

Austre Gryttindbreen (2.97 km2) is a steep and crevassed small outlet glacier at the east side of Vest-Svartisen, with an 1100 m wide and 800 m high icefall. The ice front has advanced more than 200 m the last few years.

Austre Gryttindbreen from E Austre Gryttindbreen from E, July 19, 2000. (76 kB)

4å. Vestre Gryttindbreen

Vestre Gryttindbreen from E Vestre Gryttindbreen from E, July 19, 2000. (85 kB)

Vestre Gryttindbreen (2.36 km2), a small outlet glacier in the eastern part of Vest-Svartisen, hangs in the mountain wall above Vesterdalen, with a 600 m wide and 200 m high icefall. Below a small regenerated glacier has formed from ice avalanches in the last few years.

4ö. Snøtindbreen

Snøtindbreen from S Snøtindbreen from S, July 19, 2000. (70 kB)

Snøtindbreen (4.00 km2) is a very steep cirque glacier at the south side of Snøtinden, the highest peak of Vest-Svartisen. In the latest years this glacier has advanced much and formed a significant tongue down in the valley towards Flatisvatnet.

Snøtindbreen from E Snøtindbreen from E, July 19, 2000. (79 kB)

Many ice avalanches rush down from the eastern part, and the entire glacier except the tongue is virtually a huge, 3 km wide and 900 m high icefall. Formerly this glacier was a part of the large Flatisen.


5. Stelåvassbreen

Stelåvassbreen (1.14 km2) is a steep cirque glacier in two parts to the north of Svartisheia (1469 m).


6. Skavikbreen

Skavikbreen (3.11 km2) is a small ice cap to the west of the southern part of Vest-Svartisen.

6a. Steetbreen

Steetbreen (1.73 km2) is the part of Skavikbreen which slides down northward.

6b. Rognabreen

Rognabreen (1.38 km2), a part of Skavikbreen, lies on the slope above Rognavatnet.


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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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