Mapping: Hopen Island in the Svalbard Archipelago


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Hopen Island, Barents Sea.

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

Researchers disclosed that one of Norway’s Hopen Island in the Svalbard Archipelago witnessed its first walrus death due to Bird Flu (H5N1).

About Hopen Island in the Svalbard Archipelago

  • Hopen Island is situated in the southern part of the Svalbard Archipelago, between the Barents Sea and the Greenland Sea.
  • The island covers an area of about 47 square km, making it one of the smaller islands in the Svalbard group.
  • The landscape mainly consists of low-lying tundra, rocky outcrops, and coastal cliffs.
  • Like the rest of Svalbard, Hopen Island experiences a harsh Arctic climate. Winters are long, dark, and extremely cold, while summers are short and cool.
  • It serves as an important breeding ground for seabirds such as guillemots, puffins, and kittiwakes. Polar bears are also occasionally spotted on the island, along with walruses, seals, and Arctic foxes.
  • It is uninhabited and largely inaccessible to humans due to its remote location and extreme weather conditions.
  • Historically, Hopen Island has been of strategic importance due to its location between the Barents Sea and the Greenland Sea.

H5N1 Bird Flu: Details

  • H5N1 originated from a virus outbreak on a goose farm in China in 1996 and has since evolved into a highly pathogenic strain.
  • The virus quickly spread from Europe to Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, and most recently, it reached mainland Antarctica.
  • H5N1 is a subtype of the influenza A virus that causes severe respiratory disease in birds, known as avian influenza or “bird flu”.
  • Influenza A viruses are classified by subtypes based on the properties of their surface proteins, with H5N1 being one subtype.

How widespread is it?

  • The virus has affected birds in over 80 countries, resulting in mass culling of poultry and wild birds.
  • Furthermore, it has now begun infecting mammals, including seals, sea lions, and marine mammals.
  • While humans rarely contract bird flu, those at risk are typically individuals who have extensive contact with infected birds at poultry farms.
  • Bird flu first broke out in Maharashtra in 2006.
  • The H5N1 virus led to the culling of millions of poultry so as to contain the virus. But it has resurfaced from time to time.



[2014] Which one of the following pairs of islands is separated from each other by the ‘Ten Degree Channel’?

(a) Andaman and Nicobar

(b) Nicobar and Sumatra

(c) Maldives and Lakshadweep

(d) Sumatra and Java

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20 days ago

New virus emerges in the human society, China be like “hum first, hum first”.


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