Hopen's geology and landscape

About 38 km in length, straight and only 1.5 km wide on average (2.5 at its widest), the island of Hopen resembles a backbone emerging from the sea. The whole area is but 46 km2. Apart from a few scattered strandflats, there is a very narrow beach that surrounds the entire island, from which the landscape majestically rises. At the very top there are steep cliffs with horizontal shelves, which are ideal for breeding seabirds.

At the top of the island there are several definite mountain plateaus. Four valleys and passes cut through the mountain ridge in an east–west direction. The bedrock is from the Triassic and consists mostly of sedimentary rocks such as grit, siltstone and shale. These rocks were formed by deposits in estuaries and in shallow shelf areas in the sea. During the Triassic and Jurassic, plant and animal life were abundant here, as indicated by the fossils yielded by the deposits. Oil may occur at deeper levels, but exploratory wells failed to find any.

Updated April 2009

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Norwegian Polar Institute
Fram Centre
NO-9296 Tromsø