Aim and partner institutions

The Svalbox2020 project focuses on utilizing digital tools to innovate teaching and outreach on Arctic Geology, with a secondary benefit also for circum-Arctic geological research. Svalbox2020 provides a major step forward that will allow interactive usage of the portal for education, outreach and research.

The project has received UArctic funding from UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Currently, the project is a collaboration between University Centre in Svalbard, University of Oslo, Thematic Network on Arctic Geology, University of Bergen, University of Alaska, Dartmouth College, Aarhus University, Virtual Outcrop Group, DiSTAR, Unisinos University, and Norwegian Technical and Natural University.

Project results and activities

The Svalbox2020 project ran from September 2020 to August 2022 and was led by Kim Senger, a geologist at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) in Longyearbyen. Together with a team of dedicated UNIS colleagues and geoscientists from twelve other partner institutions, Kim used this opportunity to make the Arctic Geology become more accessible for everyone. Through the active usage of high-resolution digital outcrop models (DOMs) - essentially digital representations of rocks and outcrops - the team has made it possible to work on Svalbard's geology throughout the year. The field season is usually constrained to the short snow-free summer, but now geoscientists can work with DOMs from Svalbard irrespective of the seasons.

In addition to DOMs, the Svalbox portal ( also provides a growing number of stories about Svalbard's geology. These are often framed around topics such as deep-time paleoclimatic evolution or the coal mining history from Svalbard. Technically these represent virtual field trips that can augment traditional fieldwork conducted by UNIS and its partner institutions in the Arctic. By studying the geology digitally prior to going out in the field, field work is often more efficient. Similarly, the DOMs represent an opportunity for conducting quantitative analyses on outcrops, such as fracture mapping or sedimentological studies.

Over the project period, the Svalbox portal was marketed nationally and internationally, with participation at major conferences and through webinars, and a large number of peer-reviewed scientific papers were published. The Svalbox project does not end with the culmination of the Svalbox2020 project - in autumn 2021 networking funding has been secured from the Norwegian Research Council to include a sample database within Svalbox. The project partners are also working closely with iEarth to build virtual field trips using mostly photospheres (

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