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Into blackness: Svalbard’s 12 biggest stories of 2015

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It was already a shell-shocked community beginning to say their farewells to possibly a quarter of the town’s residents, with those left behind worrying about the future of a town with a decimated economic foundation.

Then the avalanche struck.

Either alone ranks among the most significant events in Longyearbyen’s history. Together they may reshape the town more dramatically than at any time since it was almost entirely destroyed during World War II.