Jan Mayen is a small (380 Km2) barren island with some moss and grass situated at 71°N , 8°30' W, suddenly rising from the North Atlantic ocean, 950km west of Norway, 600 km north of Iceland. It is the most remote place of the northern hemisphere, well north of the Arctic Circle. The upper part of mount Beerenberg is covered by an ice cap, which sends glacial tongues in all directions. The lower landscape is dominated by black lava stone and green moss. The island is a part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Jan Mayen became Norwegian in 1922. Only since 1921 has it become inhabitated - a total crew of 18 runs the navigation station, the meteorological station , radio and vulcanology stations, and maintains the infrastructure - buildings, airstrip, power station. The island and the stations are under the rule of Norway.
Beerenberg has erupted six times between 1732 and 1985. All of these eruptions produced lava flows and scoria cones. The most recent eruptions were in 1970 (the strongest), 1973 and 1985.
The 1970 eruption was the only one witnessed in modern times. It was large, erupting at least 0.5 km³ of basalt from a 6 km long fissure that ran from sea-level to an elevation of 1000 m.
Olonkinbyen (Olonkin City ) is the permanent settlement that houses the staff that operates the weather and radio stations. Besides full-equiped offices and labs, it has an unexpected comfort, with several relaxing rooms - library, bar, media room, gym and sauna, large living and dining rooms, decorated corridors, a museum and a swimming pool !
A place of mistery and desolation, of science and adventure, it could well be someone's Ultima Thule !