Sedimentation and characteristic of sediments of Hansbukta and Isbjørnhamna (Hornsund)

The project focuses on recognize the sedimentation processes and seabed in Isbjørnhamna and Hansbukta (Hornsund). Research will enable to know the impact of two factors (marine processes and the activity of Hansbreen) on the marine sedimentation processes during the Hansbreen retreat.

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Project type

  • field work


  • geology
  • oceanography

Project Keywords

  • oceans / coastal processes / sedimentation
  • oceans / marine sediments / sediment transport
  • oceans / marine sediments / suspended solids

Fieldwork information

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At the beginning XX-century (the end of the Little Ice Age), the warming triggered retreats of the glaciers in the fjords of Spitsbergen. This situation still continues. The retreat of the tidewater glaciers causes uncovering the new marine areas. In addition, the retreating tidewater glaciers are the most significant source of sediments in the fjords. The marine sedimentation processes change on the foreland of the tidewater glacier due to the activity of these glaciers (e.g. outflows, retreat, surge, calving) and dynamic marine processes (e.g. waves, sea currents). These two factors have a significant impact on these changes. The project focuses on recognizing these sedimentation processes and the seabed in the two bays of Hornsund Fjord- Isbjørnhamna and Hansbukta. The Hansbukta is a partly closed bay. It borders with Hansbreen from the north and with the terminal moraine from the south. This feature probably does not enable transport of many sediments behind the bay. Hansbreen retreats and delivers sediments to the bay. Hansbukta borders partly with Isbjørnhamna from the west. Isbjørnhamna is opened bay. Oceanic waves come to it. Therefore, these two factors such like the activity of Hansbreen and marine processes are important in the studies of the sedimentation. The main goal of the project is to recognize, how the sedimentation processes change under the influence of the dynamic marine processes and the activity of the tidewater glacier - Hans. The project will combine the following aspects: analysis of the modern sedimentation rate on the foreland of Hansbreen; analysis of the amount of suspension in the water column in different parts of the study area; analysis of the structure and thickness sediments of the seabed; recognition of the directions and velocities of sea currents and the outflows from Hansbreen in the study area. All data will be obtained by making oceanographic measurements (by use Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler), seismoacoustic measurements (by use sub-bottom profiler and interferometric echosounder) and sedimentation measurements (by use traps sedimentation, Niskin Bottle).

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