Bedrock Geology

Bedrock geology deals with the Earth's change over time and the various geological processes that have resulted in the current distribution of rocks on the Earth's surface and deep below. The oldest rocks in Norway are the gneisses in Finnmark which are over 2.9 billion years old. On the continental shelf, we have rocks that are a few million years old. This time span covers a large part of the Earth's history, from the formation of the planet about 4.6 billion years ago, and up to the present.
This bedrock, nearby Karasjok in Finnmark, is 2,9 billon years and the oldest in Norway.
This bedrock, nearby Karasjok in Finnmark, is 2,9 billon years and the oldest in Norway.

Norway's bedrock reflects a long history, that extends nearly 3 billion years. In the rocks, we find traces of ancient mountain ranges that had risen and have eroded down to sediments as Earth has undergone changes and the gradual rise new continents. During the same time, the physical conditions on the Earth have been in constant change.  The oxygen rich atmosphere that we have today began about 2.4 billion years ago, and already 5-600 million years ago animal and plant life began to emerge.

Norway is part of the Fennoscandinavian shield that constitutes the precambrian bedrock of Scandinavian. The oldest rocks date back 2,5 billion years and can be found in Finnmark and along the coast in Troms and Vesterålen. Moving south and west the bedrock becomes gradually younger;  nevertheless, it dates back more than 900 million years in southern Norway.  Above the bedrock lies remnants of the 400-500 million-year-old Caledonian mountain range, which is a distinct belt along the Western Scandinavia. The youngest rocks to be found in Norway, on land, are in the Oslo Rift and provide evidence of volcanic activity 250-300 million years ago. This knowledge is the basis for understanding how the rocks and landscapes have changed through time and in line with the changes in tectonic conditions (continental drift), the climate and the evolution of the Earth's life forms.

In the bedrock lies vital natural resources, in the form of stone building materials, ores and minerals, which are all necessary for the functioning of modern society. The key to understanding how we can best find these valuable resources is to improve our knowledge of the origin and composition of various rock types.

The bedrock map of Norway, along geophysical maps, shows the geographic position and depths of rocks of varying age and origin. This map can be generated in various scales and to meet different needs. Regional maps in small scale gives us the big picture; while more detailed maps are used by municipalities to gain necessary information about bedrock in their area, and used for a variety of purposes.