DANGEROUS DRIVE: Governor issues warning about large meltwater opening on glacier in east Svalbard

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With the winter/spring tour season about to hit full speed, The Governor of Svalbard is warning travelers to exercise extreme caution on Ulvebreen is east Svalbard due to a large meltwater channel across the glacier that may not be easily seen due to snow cover or other reasons.

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An east Svalbard glacier where a large meltwater channel was observed is highlighted in red. Map by The Governor of Svalbard.

The gap was spotted during a recent flight over the glacier that ends at Dunerbukta. Pictures taken from the helicopter show a large meltwater channel across the glacier. The governor’s office stated the crack may have existed for many years, but not been as large or noticeable.

“There will be melt water channels occasionally – and perhaps more often now than before – but we have not seen a crack as bad as now,” said Police Chief Lt. Arnt Rennan, who took the photos of the opening, in an interview with Svalbardposten.

He emphasized people are responsible for their own safety when traveling and should not assume areas are safe if an alert about them has not been issued.

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