Let’s take a quick geologic tour to the beautiful fjords of Norway as well as learn of a site that gives some great information about the country of Norway. Estuaries.gov (2005) defines a fjord as, “a glacial trough valley now flooded with seawater to create a steep-walled inlet.” There are fjords in the northern hemisphere in other places, but the Norwegian fjords are the most stunning an prominent of these coastal features.
According to Everything Norway (2000), these fjords were formed during the ice ages. Everything Norway (2000) goes on to tell that the weight of the glaciers not only caused the earth to sink in spots causing deep flood valleys, but the glaciers themselves ripped into the Norwegian coastline and shape the fjords which were not revealed until the ice melted away towards the arctic. “The ice covering Norway during the Ice Ages was about 3.2 km thick,” (Everything Norway, 2000). Can you imagine a covering of ice that thick? You would need a lot of salt!
Since fjords were formed during the ice ages it is not likely that people will see many new fjords during their lifetime, but with nature on a rampage this past decade it makes one wonder. Also, with global warming becoming quite prevalent, there are ancient glaciers that are once again making a retreat towards the arctic. The retreat may reveal new fjords that have been hidden by the glaciers in various parts of the world.
Due to the natural beauty presented by fjords, tourism has become prominent in these areas with some companies offering cruises and tours to the Norwegian fjords. What an exciting tour that must be. According to Tourtellot (2007), the fjords of Norway lead the top-scoring destinations for tourism. Tourtellot (2007) goes on to tell that, “Geography dealt the Norwegian coastline a good hand when it comes to remaining unspoiled.” It a wonderful thing to know that these beautiful coastal features have remained practically unchanged for centuries. This gives many people an opportunity to visit these nearly pristine fjords today and in the future. One thing that helps keep the Norwegian fjords in such an unspoiled state, according to Tourtellot (2007), is that Norway has one of the best environmental track records in the world. Tourtellot (2007) does add that even with this good environmental record, some experts give Norway a lower score on their care of their environment due to excessive cruise-ship traffic and threats to native salmon.
In summation, the fjords are a very prominent feature of the Norwegian coastline, but may also be found around other areas that were subject to glacial activity during the ice ages. The fjords are an awe aspiring feature with cliff faces raising many hundreds of feet in the air and with very deep ocean depths as well. According to Everything Norway (2000), some of the deepest areas in the coastal waters of the fjords are those found furthest from the ocean. Tourism is prevalent in the fjord areas and continues to rise as more cruise companies are jumping into the the market to offer cruises in the fjords of Norway. The most interesting feature of the Norwegian fjords to the author of this piece is the near pristine conditions that the fjords have maintained since their formation many centuries ago.
Everything Norway, “Fjord Structure and Formation, Everything Norway
Jonathan B. Tourtellot, “Destination Scorecard: 115 Places Rated” National Geographic Traveler
Estuaries.gov, Glossary , Estuaries.gov