Where on Earth? - January 2011

Clues for January 2011:
1. This frozen archipelago (the second-largest of the islands is pictured here) was mentioned in ancient sagas as early as the 12th century, but was “officially” discovered by a Dutch explorer in the 16th century.
2. The rock types on the island in the picture range from crystalline basement to Permian era dolomites to Mesozoic dolerite dikes. The undulating ground is one of many strandflats in the archipelago, the result of frost weathering and wave action. On a different island within the archipelago, a fossil plesiosaur was discovered in 1973, containing the remains of a last meal (squid and plants) in its stomach.
3. The archipelago is home to many natural tourist attractions, including polar bears and many types of seabirds. Although polar bears are protected in this place, anyone leaving settlements on any island is required to carry a rifle for self-defense.
Name this archipelago and its country.
Scroll down for the answer
Answer: Svalbard archipelago in Norway was “officially” discovered in 1596 by Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who was searching for a northeast passage to China. Barents named the islands Spitsbergen, or “sharp mountains.” But Svalbard, first mentioned in an Icelandic saga dating to 1194, comes from the Old Norse for “cold coast.” Photo by Daniel Snare.
January winners
Amy Cadge (Williamsburg, Va.)
Sandy Deiber (Carol Stream, Ill.)
William R. Edwards (Houston, Texas)
R.J. Gauthier-Warinner (Interlochen, Mich.)
Richard E. Gray (Monroeville, Pa.)
Albert L. Lamarre (Dublin, Calif.)
Phil OKunewick (Idaho Springs, Colo.)
Stephen Poklemba (Hailey, Idaho)
David Pratt (Centre Hall, Pa.)
Jose Saraiva (Lisbon, Portugal)

To submit your photographs to our Where on Earth? contest, send them via e-mail to

01 Jan 2011