“The coal mining industry is very destructive and it doesn’t have to be.”
The geological history of Svalbard is very rich and diverse. There oldest formations, the so-called Basement, including Precambrian, Cambrian and Ordovician rocks, are the base for younger sequence of sediments, from Silurian to Quaternary. The Precambrian bedrock of Svalbard is more than 570 million years old.
Paleogene and Neogen sediments are visible near Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. These are mainly sandstones with numerous coal seams, which form the basis for commercial coal mining in Svalbard. At present, the only mines exploited are mine 7 near Longyearbyen (extraction of about 100,000 tons of coal per year) and a Russian mine in Barentsburg (extraction of about 140,000 tons per year). Both coal-mines supply heat and electricity to Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. In addition, coal is exported to Europe.
Mining industry and the repeated glaciations in Quaternary had a major impact on the present shape and relief of the archipelago area. The last mayor glaciation on Svalbard was during the so-called Late Weichselian and left traces in the landscape in the form of nunataks, fjords, valleys, cirques, arêtes, screes and glacier moraines, among which fossils of plants can be found. The large meandering rivers draining glacier water are found in most of the valleys, transporting large amounts of sediments.
The series was taken in Svalbard, in the summer of 2018.