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Svalbard (territory of Norway) Geography

    Location: Northern Europe, islands between the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Greenland Sea, and Norwegian Sea, north of Norway

    Geographic coordinates: 78 00 N, 20 00 E

    Map references: Arctic Region

    Area:
    total: 62,049 sq km
    land: 62,049 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    note: includes Spitsbergen and Bjornoya (Bear Island)

    Area—comparative: slightly smaller than West Virginia

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: 3,587 km

    Maritime claims:
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm unilaterally claimed by Norway but not recognized by Russia
    territorial sea: 4 nm

    Climate: arctic, tempered by warm North Atlantic Current; cool summers, cold winters; North Atlantic Current flows along west and north coasts of Spitsbergen, keeping water open and navigable most of the year

    Terrain: wild, rugged mountains; much of high land ice covered; west coast clear of ice about one-half of the year; fjords along west and north coasts

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Arctic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Newtontoppen 1,717 m

    Natural resources: coal, copper, iron ore, phosphate, zinc, wildlife, fish

    Land use:
    arable land: 0%
    permanent crops: 0%
    permanent pastures: 0%
    forests and woodland: 0%
    other: 100% (no trees and the only bushes are crowberry and cloudberry)

    Irrigated land: NA sq km

    Natural hazards: ice floes often block up the entrance to Bellsund (a transit point for coal export) on the west coast and occasionally make parts of the northeastern coast inaccessible to maritime traffic

    Environment—current issues: NA

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: NA
    signed, but not ratified: NA

    Geography—note: northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)