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Life on the strandflat

The Vega Archipelago is part of the largest continuous stretch of strandflat in Norway, which extends for about 50 km from the mainland to the edge of the platform. The strandflat was eroded in the bedrock in the zone between the open sea and the mainland when the ice retreated at the end of the last Ice Age. The strandflat comprises belts of predominantly flat land and areas of flat, shallow seabed. Archipelagos comprised of numerous small islands, islets and skerries are common on coasts with a broad strandflat. Such landscapes are only found on the Norwegian west coast, in Svalbard, Greenland and a few other parts of the world.

The strandflat and the concurrence of several geological phenomena have laid the basis for people since time immemorial finding Vega a good place to live. Lofty granite mountains in the south protected them from winter storms. In the north, the bedrock is dominated by calcareous rock that weathers to produce rich soil for crops. The richest flora is therefore found in the northern part of Vega. The barren, grey granite in the south is some 475 million years old. It is resistent to erosion, but slowly disintegrates to form rocky screes, gravel and sand.

The ice ages and the subsequent land uplift had a great deal to say for the moulding of the landscape and for Vega’s history. Read more The varied bedrock also makes the Vega Archipelago an especially interesting area for studying Caledonian geology. Read more

Photo: Inge Ove Tysnes