Kongsvegen and Kronebreen
Kongsvegen ("Kings Way") and Kronebreen ("Crown Glacier") share a common tidewater terminus at the head of Kongsfjorden, providing an inspiring view from Ny-Ålesund. They originate from separate icefields, the former flowing NW from a shared ice-divide with glaciers in Isfjorden, and the latter flowing SW and west from the icefield of Holtedahlfonna. Kronebreen currently dominates the terminal zone and is a totally crevassed fast-flowing glacier (measured velocities of 700 m/yr). In contrast Kongsvegen is a surge-type glacier in an almost stagnant state, having very few crevasses and a well developed supraglacial stream network. Kongsvegen last surged around 1948, when it extended several kilometres down the fjord, cut-off Kronebreen and reached Ossian Sarsfjellet. All photos from 14. July 2009 unless otherwise mentioned.
Calving fronts of Kongsvegen, Kronebreen and Kongsbreen seen from the south; telephoto aerial view taken during a flight from Longyearbyen to Ny Ålesund; 13. July 2009 (JA).
Aerial view of a group of ice-dammed lakes on a pass between Uvêrsbreen (lower left) and Kongsvegen (centre); 13. July 2009 (JA).
Near-vertical aerial view on to the calving front. The reddish colour of the seawater is caused by a plume of iron-rich sediment delivered by a submarine stream outlet (JA).
Ground view of the calving front of Kongsvegen on 14. July 2009; seagulls are attracted by nutrients in the glacial runoff and rich marine life (JA).
Panoramic view of Kronebreen (centre) and Kongsvegen (far right), viewed from the end moraine produced by the latter during its 1948 surge (JA).
Medium telephoto of the Kronebreen glacier front from the same viewpoint showing the heavily crevassed nature of this glacier (JA). Dronningfjella (1264 m) is the highest peak in the background (JA).
Telephoto of the zone of convergence between heavily crevassed Kronebreen (left) and Kongsvegen (right), with medial moraines (JA).
Outlet stream from Kongvegen cutting deeply into a newly formed ground-line fan which developed in the last decade (JA).
Supraglacial drainage on Kongvegen is deeply incised into the glacier before plunging over a waterfall into the sea (JA).
This vertical layering is foliation with debris, which forms as a result of shearing between two ice flow units (JA).
A small calving event at the front of Kongsvegen causes a considerable splash and... (JA).
...startles a group of seagulls which take to the air immediately (JA).
The dark blue shallow cavern is fresh ice containing debris, and contrasts markedly with the foliated weathered ice surrounding it (JA).
An ice-cored moraine ridge, comprising reddish sediment dervived from red Carboniferous sandstone and conglomerate. It is located in front of Kongsvegen and is subject to rapid marine erosion (JA).
Meltwater pond with by ice-cored moraine, the reddish water reflecting high ferric iron content of the Carboniferous rocks surrounding it (JA).
A calm day at Kongsvegen / Kongsbreen; the beach in the foreground shows signs of wave action after calving events. The hill is Collethogda, made up of horizontal Carboniferous strata, with reddish rocks at the base (JA).
Looking back at the calving front of Kongsvegen and Kronebreen whilst returning to Ny-Ålesund after a day exploring the terminus of these two fine glaciers (JA).
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