A geological map reveals variations in properties of bedrock and debris. Geology is a major source of variation in nature. Variations in the bedrock and the processes of erosion are manifest in the variety of landforms around us. Biodiversity is the result of the various mineral nutrients found in the bedrock; for example, lime, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and heavy metals. From an aerial view we can see how the change in flora corresponds with changes in geological structures. Calcareous-rich rocks give a more robust and diverse flora than quartz-rich rocks. Therefore, geological maps may provide us with information about biological diversity.
Geological diversity is also our geological heritage - specifically, sites that convey the significance of geological processes for the creation and development of the biosphere, human life and culture. A petrified moraine that is 600 million years old was witness to past ice ages. Layers of fossils in the rock tells us about the biodiversity that existed hundreds of millions of years ago, illustrating stages in evolution, and providing us with an opportunity to study long extinct life forms. In many parts of Norway, we can study the ancient volcanoes, view remnants of seafloors whose waters have long since disappeared, and find the bases great mountain ranges that have been devoured by erosion. The geology also allows us to visualize how the country looked like when the first people settled here, in Norway, and about the numerous ice ages and climate changes the earth has witnessed the past three million years.
Many such mysteries can be solved by examining the natural world. Certain designated natural areas are of great importance for international research while others mark milestones in understanding of Geology as a Science. Other sites can be an extraordinarily beautiful illustrations geological processes, or simply tales to entertain you on your evening hike along a trail. Nature-based tourism can benefit from the 'value-added' by geological diversity.
NGU anticipates that non-geologists will appreciate the rich geological diversity and geoheritage of Norway, and is committed, therefore, to document, preserve and communicate the geological diversity.