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Must be travelled by boat or airtransport from Longyearbyen. There are some companies to choose between for guided tours and it is a common destination for most Longyearbyen visitors.
Wellcome to Pyramiden, an old Russian mining settlement, now abandoned. Actually it was the most northern mining operation in the world. As in most of Svalbard it was coal that was mined. It was abandoned 1998 after some 9 million tones had been excavated from 1954, and is now turned into a touristic visiting area and with a hotel for organizing excursions to the wilderness around (from October).
Its history begins as a Swedish mining settlement 1910 to 1927 when it was sold to the Soviet union. The soviets developed the site, and during its peak there were so much as 1200 workers here. Now it looks more like a ghost town, with all the big abandoned houses.
Svalbard presents an exceptional geological diversity from most of the geological time periods (from 3.3 billion years to the present), and with little soil and no forests or agricultural areas to hide the rock formations from view. The bedrock is exposed by fjords and valleys cutting in the high mountain sides.
On Pyramiden the ground consists of Carboniferous and Permian deposits. The lowermost Carboniferous sandstones contain coal seams, which was mined.
This coal had been formed in a transition period from the geological periods called Devon and Carbon, for about 360 million years ago. At that time the future Svalbard was situated in the tropical zone north of the equator.
In the beginning of the Carbon period, the land sank and the sea began flooding the land. The flooded land formed areas of shallow water, were the vegetation could be buried below large quantities of mud and sand during periodic flooding. This organic material was protected from bacterial degredation and could therefore be gradually converted into coal seams.
The surrounding landscape is marked of the wonderfull pyramid fjellet, with its peak resembling a maya step pyramid and over the fjord by the Nordenskiölds glacier.
Last note: Remember that this is a deserted place were polar bears might wander into. Do not be to far away from someone with a gun, as defence.
Also respect that no "souvenirs" might be taken from this site (except those bought at the shop :-)
Instructions to log the earth cache!
1. At the coordinates, what geological event has happened here and from which time period? Asking your guide is a good help.
2. Describe what the building close to theese coordinates was used for.
3. In what chemical way is the coal from Svalbard (Spitzbergen) better than coal from many other deposits.
Please email me the answers (by clicking on my nick on top of the page), and do not post them with your found note.
All photos published with logs are very wellcome :-) Let us show the different phases and faces of pyramiden over time.
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum