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Daily News Analysis


1st July, 2024 Geography


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  • Hydrothermal vents at depths of 3,000 meters off Svalbard are being investigated.


  • Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, situated north of mainland Europe, about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole.
  • It lies approximately 650 miles (1,050 km) from the North Pole and is one of the northernmost inhabited areas of the world.


  • Svalbard consists of several islands, the largest of which are Spitsbergen, Nordaustlandet, Edgeøya, and Barentsøya.
  • The terrain is characterized by rugged mountains, fjords, and glaciers, with much of the land covered in ice and snow year-round.


  • Svalbard has a polar climate, with long, cold winters and cool summers. Temperatures in winter can drop below -20°C (-4°F), and in summer, they range from 0°C to 10°C (32°F to 50°F).
  • The archipelago experiences polar day and polar night phenomena due to its high latitude, where the sun does not set for about four months in summer and does not rise for about four months in winter.

History and legal status:

  • Svalbard has a history of exploration dating back to the 17th century when it was used as a base for whaling and trapping.
  • It became part of Norway in 1925 through the Svalbard Treaty, which grants Norway sovereignty while allowing signatory countries equal rights to conduct commercial activities such as mining.
  • Governed by Norway, Svalbard enjoys a special status under the Svalbard Treaty, which guarantees equal rights to signatory countries for economic activities while maintaining Norwegian sovereignty.
  • The treaty also mandates demilitarization and environmental protection, emphasizing Svalbard's role as a global commons for scientific research and environmental preservation.

Hydrothermal vents

●Hydrothermal vents are fissures on the seabed from which geothermally heated water discharges. They are commonly found near volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart at mid-ocean ridges, ocean basins, and hotspots.

●They are seeps on the sea floor from which hot liquids escape. "Water penetrates into the ocean floor where it is heated by magma. The overheated water then rises back to the sea floor through cracks and fissures.

●On its way up the fluid become enriched in minerals and materials dissolved out of the oceanic crustal rocks.

●These fluids often seep out again at the sea floor through tube-like chimneys called black smokers, where metal-rich minerals are then precipitated.

Emission from hydrothermal vents

●Methane emissions from hydrothermal vents indicate a vigorous interaction of magma with sediments.

●On its journey through the water column, a large proportion of the methane is converted into carbon dioxide, which increases the concentration of CO2 in the ocean and contributes to acidification, but it also has an impact on climate when it interacts with the atmosphere.




Q)  Consider the following statements about Svalbard:

  1. Svalbard is located approximately 650 miles (1,050 km) south of the North Pole, making it the southernmost inhabited area of the Arctic region.
  2. Svalbard has been under Norwegian sovereignty since the 17th century, initially claimed for its strategic military value.
  3. The Svalbard Treaty of 1925 grants Norway full sovereignty over Svalbard while allowing signatory countries equal rights to exploit its natural resources.
  4. Svalbard is demilitarized under the terms of the Svalbard Treaty, which also mandates strict environmental protections.


A) Statements 1 and 2 are correct.

B) Statements 2 and 3 are correct.

C) Statements 3 and 4 are correct.

D) All statements 1, 2, 3, and 4 are correct.

Answer: C) Statements 3 and 4 are correct.


Statement 1 is incorrect. Svalbard is actually located approximately 650 miles (1,050 km) north of the North Pole, not south. It is one of the northernmost inhabited areas of the world, not the southernmost. Therefore, Statement 1 is incorrect.

Statement 2 is incorrect. Svalbard did not come under Norwegian sovereignty until the signing of the Svalbard Treaty in 1925. Before that, it was primarily used as a base for whaling and trapping activities by various nations, but it was not under Norwegian sovereignty in the 17th century. Therefore, Statement 2 is incorrect.

Statement 3 is correct. The Svalbard Treaty of 1925 grants Norway full sovereignty over Svalbard, while also ensuring that signatory countries have equal rights to conduct commercial activities, particularly mining and resource extraction. This treaty is crucial in defining the legal framework for Svalbard's governance. Therefore, Statement 3 is correct.

Statement 4 is correct. One of the key provisions of the Svalbard Treaty is the demilitarization of the archipelago, meaning military activities and installations are prohibited. The treaty also emphasizes environmental protection, aiming to preserve Svalbard as a global commons for scientific research and environmental conservation efforts. Therefore, Statement 4 is correct.