Surficial deposits

The surficial deposits that are layered over bedrock are one of our most important, non-renewable natural resources.

NGU conducts quaternary mapping projects (surficial deposit mapping) and has so far mapped out 2/3 of Norway's land area in scale 1: 250,000. In many areas, more detailed maps are available at the scale  1: 50,000.

In 2013, a new map service called Marine grense (MG) or Marine limits (ML) was launched that contains information that could be used land use planning and other activities.

In conjunction with the mapping of various surficial deposits and formations, studies were conducted on glacial history ( incl. climate change)  as well as sequencing surficial deposits and age determination. Such studies contribute to an increased understanding of the geological events that have shaped the landscape and how resources of surfical deposits, like sand and gravel, formed.

Use and availability

Knowledge of surficial deposits play an important role in the exploration and assessment of various raw materials and natural resources, and during planning (waste storage, farming, construction activities) and when assessing natural hazards.

Quaternary geology data is important for landslide assessment, particularly topographic data and data on past landslide events. Detailed surficial deposit maps (1: 50,000 and larger scale) show release areas, travel paths, and deposits of past landslides.

Quarternary  maps (surficial deposit maps) and systematic research on the properties, thickness, etc. of deposits  provide information that can be used during land-use and environmental planning.

Information on Norwegian surficial deposits are available on our maps, databases and various publications.

Important maps and publications:

  • Quaternary Map 1:50 000, NGU, series of section by the Norwegian Mapping Authority M 711
  • Surficial Deposit Map/Quaternary Map 1:250 000, NGU
  • Quaternary Map for Norway. Theme: Soil types. 1:1 mill, NGU 1990
  • Quaternary Map for Nordkalotten 1:1 mill, NGU 1986-1987
  • Quaternary Map for  Midt-Norden 1:1 og 1:2 mill, NGU 1999
  • Quaternary Map for Finnmark 1:500 000, NGU 1996
  • Book: Nord-Trøndelag og Fosen - Geology and Landscape
  • Book: Ka dokker mein førr stein! - Geology,  landscape and resources in Troms
  • Pamphlet: Quaternary Map for Norway. Theme: Soil types
  • Gråsteinen 13: Røros –World Heritage Site with copper, chromium and white sand dunes
  • Gråsteinen 10: Remnants of the Ice Age i Oslo og Akerhus
  • Gråsteinen 5: Trondheim from the Ice Age til now