Online Encyclopedia

NORWAY (Norge)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 801 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
NORWAY (Norge), a kingdom of northern Europe, occupying the W. and smaller part of the Scandinavian peninsula. Its E. frontier marches with that of Sweden, except in the extreme N., where Norway is bounded by Russian territory. On the N., W., S. and S.E. the boundary is the sea—the Arctic Ocean, that part of the Atlantic which is called the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea and the Skagerrack successively. The S. extremity of the country is the island of Slettingen in 57° 58' N., and the N. that of Knivskjxrodden, off the North Cape in 71° 11' N. Of the mainland, the southernmost promontory is Lindesnxs, in 57° 59' N., while the northernmost is Nordkyn, in 71° 7' N. The S. of the country, that is to say, the projection between the Skagerrack and the North Sea proper, lies in the same latitude as the N. of Scotland and Labrador, and the midland of Kamchatka. The most western island, Utvxr, lies off the mouth of the Sogne Fjord (4° 30' E.), and the eastermost point of the country is within the Arctic lands, near Vardo (31° xi' E). The direct length of Norway (S.W. to N.E.) is about moo m. The extreme breadth in the S. (about 61° N.) is 270 m., but in the N. it is much less—about 6o m. on the average, though the Swedish frontier approaches within 6 m. of a head-branch of Ofoten Fjord, and the Russian within 19 M. of Lyngen Fjord. The length of the coast line is difficult to estimate; measured as an unbroken line it is nearly 1700 m., but including the fjords and greater islands it is set down as 12,000. The area is estimated at 124,495 sq. m. Physical Features. Relief.—The main mountain system of the Scandinavian peninsula hardly deserves its name of Kjdlen' (the keel). It may rather be described as a plateau deprived of the appearance of a plateau, being on the one hand grooved by deep valleys, while on the other many salient peaks tower above its average level. Such peaks, during the later Glacial period, stood above the ice-field. Peaks and ridges were formed by the action of small glaciers cutting out each its circular hollow (botn) just as they still work on the remaining snow-fields. But where the power of the main ice-mass was at work, the characteristic rounded forms of base rock are seen, close above the sea along the coast, but even as high as 5000 ft. in some inland localities. The high plateau lies along the W. side of the peninsula, so that except in the S.E. Norway is mountainous throughout. Even the part excepted is hilly, but it partakes of the character of the long eastern or Swedish slope of the peninsula. Beyond the coast line their floors sink far below sea-level, and thus are formed the fjords and the belt of rugged islands which characterize almost the entire seaboard of Norway. Where Norway marches with Russia, a few heights exceed 3000 or even 4000 ft., but the land is not generally of great elevation. But from the point of junction with Swedish territory the mountains increase considerably in height. For a short distance, as far south as Lake Torne, the loftiest points lie within Norwegian territory, such as Jxggevarre (6283 ft.), between Lyngen and Ulfs fjords, and Kiste Fjeld (5653 ft.) farther inland. Thereafter the principal heights lie approximately along the crest-line of the plateau and within Swedish territory. Sulitelma, however (6158 ft.), lies on the frontier. Southward again the higher summits fall to Norway. S. of Bodo, Svartisen (" the black ice "), a magnificent snow-field bordering the coast, and feeding many glaciers, culminates at 5246 ft. Thereafter, Okstinderne or Oxtinderne (6273 ft.), and the Store Barge Fjeld (5587 ft.) are the principal elevations as far as 64° N. A little S. of this latitude the so-called Trondhjem depression is well marked right across the central upland, the height of the mountains not often exceeding 4000 ft., while the peaked form characteristic of the heights which rose clear of the glaciers of the later Glacial period is wanting. It is from this point too that Norwegian territory broadens ' In Norwegian the definite article (when there is no epithet) is added as a suffix to the substantive (masc. and fem. en, neuter et). Geographical terms are similarly suffixed to names, thus Suldalsvandet, the lake Suldal. The commonest geographical terms are: elv, river; nand, lake; fjeld, mountain or highland; o, island; dal, valley; noes, cape; fos, waterfall; box, glacier; vik, vig, bay; eide, isthmus; fjord. Aa is pronounced aw.so as to include not only the highest land in the peninsula,, but a considerable part of the general E. and S.E. slope. The high plateau broadens and follows the S.W. sweep of the coast. Pursuing it S. the Dovre Fjeld is marked off by the valleys of the rivers Driva and Sundal, Laagen (or Laugen) and Rauma, and the fjords of the coastland of Nordmore. Here Snehxtta reaches a height of 7615 ft., and the Romsdal (the name under which the Rauma valley is famous among tourists) is flanked by many abrupt jagged peaks up to 6000 ft. high. The valley of the Laagen forms the upper part of Gudbrandsdal. East of this and S.E. of the Dovre is another fjeld, Rondane, in which Hogronden rises to 6929 ft. South of the Otta valley is Jotunheim or Jotun Fjeld, a sparsely peopled, in parts almost inaccessible, district, containing the highest mountains in Scandinavia, Galdhopiggen reaching 8399 ft. On the seaward side of Jotunheim is Jostedalsbrx, a great snow-field in which Lodalskaupen reaches a height of 6795 ft. South of Sogne Fjord (61° N.) mountains between 5000 and 6000 ft. are rare; but in Hallingskarvet there are points about 6500 ft. high, and in the Hardanger Vidda (waste), a broad wild upland E. of Hardanger Fjord, Haarteigen reaches 6063 ft. The highland finally sinks towards the S. extremity of Norway in broken masses and short ranges of hills, separated by valleys radiating S.E., S. and W. Glaciers.—The largest glacier in continental Europe is Jostedalsbrae, with an area of 58o sq. m., the snow-cap descending to 4000 or 4500 ft. Several of its branches fall nearly to the sea, as the Boiumsbrx above the Fjxrland branch of Sogne Fjord. The largest branch is the Nigardsbrx. Skirting Hardanger Fjord, and nearly isolated by its main channel and two arms, is the great glacier of Folgefond (io8 sq. m.). Two branches descending from the main mass are visited by many who penetrate the Hardanger—Buarbrx on the E., falling towards Lake Sandven above Odde, and Bondhusbrx on the W. The extreme elevation of the Folgefond in 5270 ft. Continuing N. other considerable snow-fields are those of Hallingskarvet, the Jotunheim, Snehxtta in Dovre Fjeld, and Store Barge Fjeld at the head of the Namsen valley. Next follow Svartisen, second in extent to Jostedalsbrx (nearly 400 sq. m.), the Sulitelma snow-field and Jokel Fjeld, between Kvxnang and Oxfjords. One glacier actually reaches the edge of Jakel Fjord, a branch of Kvxnang Fjord, so that detached fragments of ice float away on the water. This is the only instance of the kind in Norway. The Seiland snow-field, on Seiland island near Hammerfest, is the most northerly nave in Europe. The snow-line in Norway is estimated at 3080 ft. in Seiland, 5150 ft. on Dovre Fjeld, and from 4100 to 4900 ft. in Jotunheim. The lowness of the snow-line adds to the grandeur of Norwegian mountains. Coast.—The flanks of the plateau fall abruptly to the sea almost throughout the coast-line, and its isolated fragments appear in the innumerable islands which fringe the SkJurmainland. This island fringe, which has its counter- gaard or part in a modified form along the Swedish coast, is island. called in Norwegian the skjeergaard (skerry-fence, fence. pronounced shargoord). This fringe and the fjord-coast are most fully developed from Stavanger nearly as far as the North Cape. The channels within the islands are of incalculable value to coastwise navigation, which is the principal means of communication in Norway. The voyage northward from Stavanger may be made in quiet waters almost throughout. Only at rare intervals vessels must enter the open sea for a short distance, as off the port of Haugesund, or when rounding the promontory of the Stat or Statland, S. of Aalesund, passing the coast of Hustadviken, S. of Christiansund, or crossing the mouth of some large fjord. At some points large steamers, following the carefully marked channel, pass in deep water between rocks within a few yards on either hand. Small ships and boats, fishing or trading between the fjord-side villages, navigate the ramifying " leads " (leder) in security. In some narrow sounds, however, the tidal current is often exceedingly strong. The largest island of the skjxrgaard is Hindo of the Lofoten and Vesteraalen group. Its area is 86o sq. m. The number of islands is estimated at 150,000 and their area at 8500 sq. in. Many of them are of great elevation, especially the more northerly; thus the jagged peaks characteristic of Lofoten culminate at about 4000 ft. Hornelen, near the mouth of Nordfjord, 3000 ft. high, rises nearly sheer above the Frbjfjord, and vessels pass close under the towering cliff. Torghatten (" the market hat "), N. of Namsos, is pierced through by a vast natural tunnel 400 ft. above the sea; and Hestmando (" horseman island "), on the Arctic circle, is justly named from its form. The dark blue waters of the inner leads and fjords are clouded, and show a milky tinge on the surface imparted by the glacier-fed rivers. Bare rock is the dominant feature of the coast and islands, save where a few green fields surround a farmstead. In the N., where the snow-line sinks low, the scenery at all seasons has an Arctic character. Christiania Fjord, opening from the N. angle of the Cattegat and Skagerrack, differs from the great fjords of the W. Its Fjords shores are neither so high nor so precipitous as theirs; it is shallower, and contains a great number of little islands. From its mouth, round Lindesnxs, and as far as the Bukken Fjord (Stavanger) there are many small fjords, while the skjmrgaard provides an inner lead only intermittently. Immediately S. of Bukken Fjord, from a point N. of Egersund, the flat open coast of Jiederen, dangerous to shipping, fringing a narrow lowland abundant in peat-bogs for some 30 m., forms an unusual feature. Bukken Fjord is broad and island-studded, but throws off several inner arms, of which Lyse Fjord, near Stavanger, is remarkable for its extreme narrowness, and the steepness of its lofty shores. The Hardanger Fjord, penetrating the land for 114 m., is known to more visitors than any other owing to its southerly position; but its beauty is exceeded by that of Sogne Fjord and Nord Fjord farther N Sogne is the largest and deepest fjord of all; its head is 136 m. from the sea, and its extreme depth approaches 700 fathoms. Stor Fjord opens inland from Aalesund, and one of its head branches, Geiranger Fjord, is among the most celebrated in Norway. Trondhjem Fjord, the next great fjord northward, which broadens inland from a narrow entrance, lacks grandeur, as the elevation of the land is reduced where the Trondhjem depression interrupts the average height of the plateau. The coast N. of Trondhjem, though far from losing its beauty, has not at first the grandeur of that to the south, nor are the fjords so extensive. The principal of these are Namsen, Folden and Vefsen, at the mouth of which is Alsten Island, with the mountains called Syv Sostre (Seven Sisters), and Ranen, not far S. of the Arctic circle. Svartisen sends its glaciers seaward, and the scenery increases in magnificence. Salten Fjord, to the N. of the great snow-field, is connected with Skjerstad Fjord by three narrow channels, where the water, at ebb and flow, forms powerful rapids. The scenery N. of Salten is unsurpassed. The Lofoten and Vesteraalen islands are separated from the mainland by the Vest Fjord, which is continued inland by Ofoten Fjord. If these two be considered as one fjord, its length is about 175 m., but the actual penetration of the mainland is little more than a fifth of this distance. The main fjords N. of Vesteraalen have a general northerly direction; among them is Lyngen Fjord near Tromso, with high flanking cliffs and glaciers falling nearly to the sea. Alten Fjord is re- markable for the vegetation on its shores. From Lofoten N. From Hardanger N. to Romsdal the streams of the W. slope are there is a chain of larger islands, Senjen, Kvalo, Ringvadso, Sorb, insignificant, but there are several splendid valleys, such as the Stjerno, Seiland, Ingo and Magero. These extend to the North sombre Nnrodal, which descends to the Naero branch of Sogne Cape, but hereafter the skja:rgaard ends abruptly. The coast to the Fjord, or the valleys which sink S.. and N. from the Jostedalsbrae to E. is of widely different character; flat mountain wastes descend the head branches of Sogne Fjord and Nordfjord respectively. precipitously to the sea without any islands beyond, save Vardo Above those of Nordfjord is a series of lakes, Olden, Loen and Stryn, whose milky waters are supplied almost directly from the with two low islets at the E. extremity of Norway. The fjords are I Jostedal glaciers, while above Eidsfjord a corresponding trough broader in proportion to their length. The chief are Porsanger, contains Lake Hornindal. The next important valley is the Romsdal, Laxe and Tana, opening N., and Varanger opening E. N. of this fjord the land is low and the landscape monotonous; on the S. a few island and branch fjords break the line of the shore. Stavanger Fjord has an extreme depth of 380 fathoms; Hardanger Fjord 355, Sogne Fjord 67o, Nordfjord 340, Trondhjem Fjord 300, Ranen Fjord 235, Vestfjord 340, Alten Fjord 225, and Varanger Fjord 230. Marine terraces are met with in the E. of the country, and near Trondhjem, at 600 ft. above sea-level; and they are also seen at a slighter elevation at the heads of some western fjords. Moreover, at some points (as on the Jideren coast) " giant kettles " may be observed close to sea-level, even below the level of high tide; and these glacial formations indicate the greater elevation of the land towards the close of the Glacial epoch. Former beach-lines are most commonly to be observed in northern Norway (e.g. in Alten Fjord), and in some cases there are two lines at different altitudes. The land above the raised beach is generally bare and unproductive, and human habitation tends to confine itself in consequence to the lower levels. Hydrography.—In S.E. Norway there are long valleys, carrying rivers of considerable size, flowing roughly parallel but sometimes uniting as they approach the sea. The Glommen, rising N. of Roros in Aursund Lake, and flowing with a southerly curve parallel with the frontier for 35o m. to the Skagerrack, is the largest river in the Scandinavian peninsula. Its upper middle valley is called Osterdal,i the richest timber district in Norway. Its drainage area is 16,000 sq. in. Seven miles above its mouth it forms the fine Sarpsfos, and not far above this it traverses the large lake Oieren. A right bank tributary, the Vormen, has one of its sources (under the name of Laagen) in Lake Lesjekogen, which also drains in the opposite direction by the Rauma. The stream, after watering Gudbrandsdal, enters Mjosen, the largest lake in Norway. It is 6o m. long, but, like most of the greater Norwegian lakes, has no great breadth. It has, however, an extreme depth of 1500 ft. The Drammen river, which enters a western arm of Christiania Fjord below the town of Drammen, is the common outlet of several large rivers. The Hallingdal river drains the valley of that name, and forms Lake Kroderen, which is connected with the Drammen river by the Snarum. A short distance above the junction the Drammen flows out of Lake Tyrifjord, 5o sq. m. in area, into which flow the united waters of the Rand, from the valley district of Valdres, and the Baegna. The whole basin of the Drammen has an area of 6600 sq. in, The rivers between Christiania Fjord and Lindesnns preserve the characteristics of those of the Glommen and Drammen systems. They rise on the Hardanger Vidda or adjacent uplands. The most important are the Laagen (to be distinguished from the river of that name in Gudbrandsdal), draining the Numedal; the Skien, the Nid and the Otter. Lakes are very numerous, the chief, beyond those already named, being Nordsjo on the Skien river, Tinsjo in the same system, which receives the river Maan, famous as forming the Rjukanfos (smoking fall) of 415 ft., and Nisservand on the Nid. The larger lakes lie, with a certain regularity, at elevations about 400 ft. above the sea, and it is considered that their basins were the heads of fjords when the land lay at a lower level, and were formed during an earlier glacial period than the present fjords. The great Lake Faemund, lying E. of the Glommen valley and drained by the river of the same name, which becomes the Klar in Sweden, to which country it mainly belongs, is similar in type to the lakes of the northern highlands of Sweden. The streams of the coast of Jaederen reach the sea through sluggish channels, brown with peat. Not only do the valleys of the W. far surpass in beauty those of the S. and E., but they carry streams of much greater volume in proportion, owing to the heavier average rainfall of the W. slope. The first to be noted is that of the Sand or Logen river, a brilliant, rapid stream, famous for its salmon-fishing, which debouches at Sand into Sands fjord. The valley which opens from Odde at the head of a branch (Sor fjord) of Hardanger Fjord, is noted as containing two of the finest waterfalls in Norway. The one, Lotefos (which is joined by the smaller Skarsfos), is a powerful cataract following a tortuous cleft. The other, Espelandsfos, is formed by a very small stream; it falls quite sheer and spreads out like a fine veil. The only other considerable river entering Hardanger Fjord is the Bjoreia, with its mouth at Vik in Eidfjord. On this stream is the magnificent Voringsfos. Lesser streams within the basin of the Hardanger form the Skjaeggedal and several other beautiful falls. the stream of which, the Rauma, forms the W. outlet of Lake Lesjekogen, as the Laagen forms the E. This lake, which lies 2011 ft. above sea-level, is the most remarkable example of an indefinite watershed to be found in S. Norway. N. from Romsdal the Driva debouches into Sundals Fjord, while the Orkla, draining Orkedal, the Gula draining Guldal, and the Nea or Nid, draining Lake Selbu, and The middle and upper parts of many valleys in Norway are known by different names from those of the rivers which water them, and such names may extend in common usage over the district on either side of the valley. forming the Lerfos, enter Trondhjem Fjord from the S., and range in The Mesozoic era is represented only by the sandy deposits with length from 70 to loo M. The Stjordal, a beautiful wooded valley, leads up from the fjord to the lowest pass over the Trondhjem depression (at Storlien), and is followed by the railway from Trondhjem into Sweden. N. of) Trondhjem Fjord, in spite of the close proximity of the mountains to the W. coast, several considerable rivers are found, flowing generally about N.E. or S.W. in valleys nearly parallel to the coast. Such are the Namsen (85 m. in length) and the Vefsen, discharging into Namsen Fjord and Vefsen Fjord respectively, and the Dunderland, flowing into Ranen Fjord. In the basin of the same fjord is the short Ros river,which drains Ros Vand, second in extent of the Norwegian lakes. In the extreme N., where the coastward slope is longer, there are such large rivers as the Alten, 98 m. long, discharging into the fjord of that name, and the Tana, also giving name to the fjord into which it flows, and forming a great part of the Russo-Norwegian frontier. It is 18o m. long, and drains an area of 4000 sq. m. Though the lakes of Norway are not comparable with those of Sweden as regards either number or size, they are very numerous and are estimated to cover somewhat less than one-fortieth of the total area. Glacial Action.—While the coast is considered to owe its fjords and islands to the work of former great glaciers, the results are even more patent inland. The actual tracks of the old glaciers are constantly to be traced. Nowhere are the evidences of glacial action better illustrated than in the barren tract behind the low coastal belt of Jaederen. Here are vast expanses of almost naked rock, often riven and piled up in fantastic forms; numerous small lakes or bogs occupy the rock basins, and vast numbers of perched blocks are seen, frequently poised in remarkable positions. The great valleys of Norway are of U-section and exhibit the irregular erosive action of the glaciers, as distinct from the regular action of the rivers. If a main glacier, after working steadily in the formation of its trough for a considerable distance, be imagined to receive an accretion of power at a certain point, it will begin from that point to erode more deeply. The result of such action is seen in the series of ledges over which the main rivers of Norway plunge in falls or rapids. Geology.—Norway consists almost entirely of Archaean and Lower Palaeozoic rocks, imperfectly covered by glacial and other recent deposits. The whole of the interval between the Devonian and the Glacial periods is represented, so far as is known, only by a small patch-of Jurassic beds upon the island of Ando. An archaean zone stretches along the W. coast from Bergen to Hammerfest, interrupted towards the N., by overlying patches of Palaeozoic deposits. Gneiss predominates, but other crystalline rocks occur subordinately. The Lofoten Islands consist chiefly of eruptive granite, syenite and gabbro. S. of a line drawn from the head of the Hardanger Ford to Lake Mjosen is another great Archaean area. Here again gneiss and granite form the greater part of the mass, but in Telemarken there are also conglomerates, sandstones and clay-slates which are believed to be Archaean. Between these two Archaean areas the Lower Palaeozoic rocks form a nearly continuous belt which follows approximately the watershed of the peninsula and extends from Bergen and Stavanger on the S. to the North Cape and Vardo in the N. They occur also as a broad strip inlaid in the Archaean floor, from the Christiania Fjord northward to Lake Mjosen. A line drawn from the Nase to the North Cape coincides roughly with a marked change in the character and structure of the Palaeozoic beds. East of this line even the Cambrian beds are free from overfolding, overthrusting and regional metamorphism. They lie flat upon the Archaean floor, or have been faulted into it in strips, and they are little altered except in the neighbourhood of igneous intrusions. W. of the line the rocks have been folded and metamorphosed to such an extent that it is often difficult to distinguish the Palaeozoic rocks from the Archaean. They form in fact a mountain chain of ancient date similar in structure to the Alps or the Himalayas. The relations of the two areas have been studied by A. E. Tornebohm in the Trondhjem region, and he has shown that the western mass has been pushed over the eastern upon a great thrust-plane. The relations, in fact, are similar to those between the Dalradian schists of the Scottish Highlands and the Cambrian beds of the W. coast of Sutherland. In Scotland, however, it is the eastern rocks which have been pushed over the western. Corresponding with the difference in structure between the E. and the W. regions there is a certain difference in the nature of the deposits themselves. In the Christiania district the Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian beds consist chiefly of shales and limestones. Farther north sandstones predominate, and especially the Sparagmite, a felspathic sandstone or arkose at the base of the Cambrian ; but the deposits are still sedimentary. In the Trondhjem district, on the other hand, belonging to the folded belt, basic tuffs and lavas are interstratificd with the normal deposits, showing that in this region there was great volcanic activity during the early part of the Palaeozoic era. In both the E. and the W. region the Devonian is probably represented by a few patches of red sandstone, in which none but obscure remains of fossils have yet been found. It may be noted here that in the extreme N. of Norway, E. of the North Cape, there is a sandstone not unlike the Sparagmite of the S., which is said by Reusch to contain ice-worn pebbles and to rest upon a striated pavement of Archaean rocks.
End of Article: NORWAY (Norge)
[back]
NORWAY
[next]
NORWEGIAN

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.