Changes at Peter I Øy

  • Robert K. Headland


Peter I Øy, a remote Norwegian territory, is one of the most rarely visited of the peri-Antarctic islands. Since the last Norwegian research visit, in 1987, approximately 10 tourist ships have been to the island, and about half of these have made landings. Where practical, reports have been sent to the Norwegian Polar Institute and other interested parties. I have made five visits, landing during four of them, while employed by Quark Expeditions to lecture on Antarctic history and geography aboard Kapitan Khlebnikov . My most recent visit, on 21 November 2006, demonstrated the continual geological erosion of the coast. In 2004 at Pingvinholet there was a splendid triple natural arch: the outer arch was formed by black basaltic deposits, and the inner one was capped by a stratum of red oxidized larva. The third arch was the result of a basalt flake slipping and propping itself against the middle column. The sea penetrated through all three arches so that it would have been possible, although reckless, to take a small boat through the largest of them. In late 2006, while sailing from South America to New Zealand near the Antarctic coast, I noted the entire inner section had collapsed. Only one large arch now remains and this no longer admits the sea. The collapse of both the cap of red larva and supporting pillar has formed a pile of rubble several metres above the sea.


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How to Cite
Headland, R. (2007). Changes at Peter I Øy. Polar Research, 26(2), 204.