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Jan Mayen(yän mī`ən), island, c.145 sq mi (380 sq km), in the Arctic Ocean, c.300 mi (480 km) E of Scoresby Sound, E Greenland. It was annexed by Norway in 1929. The island is barren tundra land rising abruptly to Håkon VII Toppen (c.7,450 ft/2,270 m) on Mt. Beerenberg, an extinct volcano. Fog and stormy weather characterize the island. Except for a radio-meteorological station, the island is uninhabited, but it is visited by sealers. It was discovered (1607) by Henry Hudson and named for Jan Jacobsz May, a Dutch whaler who landed there in 1614.
an island in the northern Atlantic Ocean; a possession of Norway. Jan Mayen Island has an area of 380 sq km. It is composed of basalts, tuffs, and ash. In the northeast the volcanic Mount Beerenberg rises to an elevation of 2,277 m. The volcano, which has a crater measuring 1.2–1.4 km in diameter, last erupted in 1970. The crater and the slopes above an elevation of 500 m are covered with ice, and individual outlet glaciers descend to the sea. The glaciated area is 117 sq km. The southwest section is a steplike plateau with volcanic craters to 840 m in elevation. Earthquakes occur frequently. The vegetation features moss and lichen tundras and oceanic meadows.
The island has colonies of shorebirds. Polar bears and white and blue arctic foxes abound, and harp seals inhabit the coastal waters. Radio navigation and meteorological stations are maintained.
The island was named for the Dutch navigator Jan Mayen, who in 1614 led a voyage that determined its precise position.