Photo: Wolfgang Kriegel/Hurtigruten
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Svartisen Glacier

With it's 369 square kilometres, Svartisen is Norways second largest glacier. It is located in the county of Nordland in Northern Norway, south of the costal city Bodø.

"Svartisen" is actually the collective term for two separate glaciers, Vestisen and the Østisen. These two glaciers are separated by the 1 km. long Vesterdalen valley and collectively make up the Svartisen Glacier.

Svartisen is located in the Saltfjell mountain range, one of the largest mountain ranges in Norway. The Arctic Circle cuts through the southern part of the glacier and there are also a number of minor glaciers around Svartisen, including Glombreen and Simlebreen.

Runoff water from the glacier is used for hydropower production and Svartisen Power Plant is one of Norway's largest power plants. The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) has monitored the glaciers mass balance since the 1970s and also operates a sub-glacial laboratory beneath Engabreen. Here researchers can study the glacier from beneath 200 meters of ice.

Facts about Svartisen

  • Svartisen is 369 sq.km big and consists of Vestisen (221 sq.km) and Østisen (148 sq.km)
  • Mount Snøtinden is the largest mountain that protrudes from the ice and has a height of 1594 metres
  • The glacier has changed and shrunk considerably the last 50 years, mainly due to climate changes
  • The name Svartisen comes from the old Norwegian word "svartis", which denotes the deep blue color of the ice, and the contrast of the white snow and newer ice on the ice plateau
  • You can explore Svartisen on several glacier hikes, but always remember to book through a certified provider with professional guides. Hiking on the glacier on your own is very dangerous and not recommended 

Tours in Northern Norway

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