Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Oct. 20, 2015


Expert: numerous buildings at risk of foundation damage  
The collapse of the ground under the historic Gruvebadet building in Ny-Ålesund is an indicator numerous other buildings in Svalbard are at risk due to changes in meltwater patterns and faulty foundations, according to Sverre Barlindhaug, a geologist who examined the damaged structure. The damage to Gruvebadet, currently used as a research facility, occurred when what are known as ice lenses melted because excavation nearby had redirected water flow into the ground under the building. Barlindhaug said more stable foundation material is also needed to prevent a reoccurrence of the damage and that numerous buildings in Longyearbyen have similar problems. “What you should have done is to have raised platforms under the buildings so that all the melted snow drains away and avoids decay,” he said. “Having a dump under the building I would say is a design error.”

Tips sought in theft of tusks from walrus in Ny-Ålesund
A person or persons who stole the tusks from a walrus carcass a few kilometers west of Ny-Ålesund remains at large, according to The Governor of Svalbard. “During September there was probably someone who had sawed off its teeth,” wrote Trond Olsen, a police chief lieutenant for the governor, in an e-mail to Svalbardposten. Police announced last week they are seeking tips, but still have no clues in the case. Taking animal parts is a violation of the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act, which states the governor’s office is responsible for wildlife management and removal of carcasses when necessary.

Sirkus Svalnardo reaches semis of TV talent contest
They reached the semifinals of a nationwide talent competition hosted by TV2, but seven girls with Sirkus Svalnardo failed to advance further despite praise for their nationally broadcast performance. “What you are doing is very unusual and it is very beautiful to watch,” said Bjarne Brøndbo, one of the judges. “I assume everyone in Svalbard is very proud of you.”