Geology fun facts about the Arctic Race of Norway
The Arctic Race of Norway transverses across the spectacular scenery in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Ofoten. What shaped this landscape? Why are there human settlements here? The region’s geology is one important reason. Each stage of the race provides us with a glimpse of the nature, landscape and the settlement history in this region of Norway.
Stage 1: Beginning at Å and the splitting of the continent
Lofoten is part of a large land mass - a bit of a continent that has split off. Some areas sunk to form the bottom of Vestfjorden. Another part become elevated, forming steep mountain sides and alpine peaks, characteristic of Lofoten. Water and ice exposed bedrock fractures, allowing the sea penetrate and divided Lofoten into several islands separated by fjords and straits.
At the finish line in Leknes, the landscape is not like the rest of Lofoten. The rocks are less hard, so they are easily worn down and contain more nutrients than the surrounding hard rocks. This has made Leknes area a green and lush "oasis" in the otherwise barren landscape. Leknes is one of the most important agricultural areas in the Nordland province.
Stage 2: The unique shoreline landscape
The landscape is flatter in the north, especially on the island of Austvågøya. The Norwegian coastal brim or "strandflaten" is a typical landscape feature found in areas where there has been glaciation. The landscape is formed in combination with weathering, wave erosion and excavation after glaciation.
Stage 3: Graphite in the bicycle and in Vesterålen
Newer bicycles contain a lot of mineral graphite. Graphite is used in electronics and is an important mineral for the ‘green shift’. Did you know that there are large deposits of graphite in Vesterålen? Production took place in the town of Jennestad in the 1800 century, and today there are several known deposits in the area the bicycles will pass. So, at this stage of the race, graphite bikes will travelling over graphite.
Stage 4: Ore and mining built the community
During the final stage, cyclists travel through an area where mining has been important for hundreds of years. In the Ofot region, a variety of metals and minerals have been mined for different uses. The city of Narvik is itself founded on mining. It was created as a port to facilitate the transport of iron ore from Kiruna in Sweden. The town, the harbour and the long railway from Kiruna to Narvik were major construction projects in their time. Access to iron ore was strategically important during World War II, as demonstrated by the important Battle of Narvik in 1940. Today, a substantial amount of iron ore is shipped out from Narvik to European industry.