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Europe :: Jan Mayen Print
Page last updated on October 07, 2020
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  • Introduction :: Jan Mayen
  • Background field listing
    This desolate, arctic, mountainous island was named after a Dutch whaling captain who indisputably discovered it in 1614 (earlier claims are inconclusive). Visited only occasionally by seal hunters and trappers over the following centuries, the island came under Norwegian sovereignty in 1929. The long dormant Beerenberg volcano, the northernmost active volcano on earth, resumed activity in 1970 and the most recent eruption occurred in 1985.
  • Geography :: Jan Mayen
  • Location field listing
    Northern Europe, island between the Greenland Sea and the Norwegian Sea, northeast of Iceland
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    71 00 N, 8 00 W
    Map references field listing
    Arctic Region
    Area field listing
    total: 377 sq km
    land: 377 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 206
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly more than twice the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries field listing
    0 km
    Coastline field listing
    124.1 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
    Climate field listing
    arctic maritime with frequent storms and persistent fog
    Terrain field listing
    volcanic island, partly covered by glaciers
    Elevation field listing
    lowest point: Norwegian Sea 0 m
    highest point: Haakon VII Toppen on Beerenberg 2,277
    note: Beerenberg volcano has numerous peaks; the highest point on the volcano rim is named Haakon VII Toppen, after Norway's first king following the reestablishment of Norwegian independence in 1905
    Natural resources field listing
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 0% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
    forest: 0% (2011 est.)
    other: 100% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    0 sq km (2012)
    Natural hazards field listing

    dominated by the volcano Beerenberg

    volcanism: Beerenberg (2,227 m) is Norway's only active volcano; volcanic activity resumed in 1970; the most recent eruption occurred in 1985

    Environment - current issues field listing
    pollutants transported from southerly latitudes by winds, ocean currents, and rivers accumulate in the food chains of native animals; climate change
    Geography - note field listing
    barren volcanic spoon-shaped island with some moss and grass flora; island consists of two parts: a larger northeast Nord-Jan (the spoon "bowl") and the smaller Sor-Jan (the "handle"), linked by a 2.5 km-wide isthmus (the "stem") with two large lakes, Sorlaguna (South Lagoon) and Nordlaguna (North Lagoon)
  • People and Society :: Jan Mayen
  • Population field listing
    no indigenous inhabitants

    note: military personnel operate the the weather and coastal services radio station

  • Government :: Jan Mayen
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Jan Mayen
    etymology: named after Dutch Captain Jan Jacobszoon MAY, one of the first explorers to reach the island in 1614
    Dependency status field listing
    territory of Norway; since August 1994, administered from Oslo through the county governor (fylkesmann) of Nordland; however, authority has been delegated to a station commander of the Norwegian Defense Communication Service; in 2010, Norway designated the majority of Jan Mayen as a nature reserve
    Flag description field listing
    the flag of Norway is used
  • Economy :: Jan Mayen
  • Economy - overview field listing
    Jan Mayen is a volcanic island with no exploitable natural resources, although surrounding waters contain substantial fish stocks and potential untapped petroleum resources. Economic activity is limited to providing services for employees of Norway's radio and meteorological stations on the island.
  • Communications :: Jan Mayen
  • Broadcast media field listing
    a coastal radio station has been remotely operated since 1994
  • Military and Security :: Jan Mayen
  • Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of Norway
  • Transportation :: Jan Mayen
  • Airports field listing
    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 225
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 1 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    Ports and terminals field listing
    none; offshore anchorage only
  • Transnational Issues :: Jan Mayen
  • Disputes - international field listing