A casual drive around Norway…no biggie.

Hey y’all! Haley here. After having worked our little behinds off for the past two weeks, we decided it was time for a little group R&R. With the arrival of mentor and geologist Joel Johnson this previous week, who will be taking sabbatical in Norway this coming year (even farther north than Abisko; how cool!), it was about time to cross the border and see what all the fuss is about in our neighbor to the west.

Joel teaching us all a little Norwegian geology

Joel teaching us all a little Norwegian geology

Driving along two fjords and making stops along highways with one lane for both traffic directions to share, Joel gave us a roadside geology tour of an incomprehensibly beautiful place–seriously, our pictures nowhere near give it justice.

norway1

Norway’s geology is heavily influenced by glaciers. There are fields of unsorted sediment deposits known as till, rounded hills smoothed by years of massive amounts of ice, snow, and whatnot moving on top of them, and rocks imprinted with the memory of glaciers past via striations–tiny grooves you’d miss if you didn’t know for what you were looking.

Discussing rocks while sitting on some striations

Discussing rocks while sitting on some striations

The other neat thing about Norway is some of the bedrock is incredibly old. We’re talking Cambrian and Silurian old! A lot of this old rock is also primary sedimentary rock, such as limestone, making it even cooler. It’s pretty much this 400 to 500 million year old raw relic. 500 million!  I cannot even comprehend what that number truly means, let alone imagine 500 million years ago! Ruth asked if there might be fossils, and the biologist in me couldn’t help but imagine all the bizarre, fantasy-like creatures of the Cambrian Explosion.

Standing on ancient ground...

Standing on ancient ground…

For me, however, the truly wonderful part of the trip was the mixture of colors. The greens of mosses and the purples, blues, and yellows of wildflowers contrasted vibrantly against the grays of rock and clouds in a way that would make you want to stop, close your eyes, and take in all of it with one single breath. If that wasn’t enough for some, the water we encountered certainly pushed us into the realm of the surreal. On the tip of the peninsula we drove around, we even happened upon what at first glance appeared to be a docked tall ship, but with further inspection turned out to be a sculpture called Morgan’s Skipp in the little community of Lille Jamaica (and yes, that translates to “Little Jamaica”). The shoreline there was unbelievable.

Pirates of the Nor-ibbean?

Pirates of the Nor-ibbean?

Some of the gals!

Some of the gals!

So, the verdict: Norway is a pretty exciting place!

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