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Norway Geography

Geography

Before the last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago, Norway was covered by a thick ice sheet. When that ice finally retreated (or melted) its movement across the land formed islands, lakes, rivers and mountains. It also etched-out deep valleys that then filled with sea water forming Norway's fjords.

Norway is one of Europe's most mountainous countries, and dominated north to south by the many ranges of the Scandinavian Mountains.

It's a rugged land of elevated plateaus, deep forested valleys and a few remaining ice age glaciers, including Folgefonna, Hardangerjokulen and Jostedalsbreen - the largest glacier on the continental Europe landmass.

Its toothy-edged western coastline is a jagged expanse of (over 50,000) islands and dozens of long, deeply indented fjords; the most significant of which include Baknafjord, Geirangerfjord, Hardangerfjord, Moldefjord, Sognefjord, Trondheimfjord and Vestfjord.

In the far northeast above the Arctic Circle, frozen arctic tundra dominates the landscape, from Vardo, south and west. This tundra receives little precipitation and has a very short growing season, so it is generally a treeless plain of low shrubs and hearty grasses.

A south central plateau slopes into the Trondelag, a hilly and mountainous farming area with strips of fertile land on the edges of the Trondheim Fjord. Additional lowlands are found in the southeast, and along parts of the southern coastline.

There are reportedly over 150,000 (counted) lakes, most quite small, with the largest being Lake Mjosa.

Significant rivers include the Glama, the country's longest, and the Dramselva, Lagen (two of them) and the Tana in the far north.

Geography Norway

Location:

Northern Europe, bordering the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden

Geographic coordinates:

62 00 N, 10 00 E

Map references:

Europe

Area:

total: 324,220 sq km
land: 307,860 sq km
water: 16,360 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries:

total: 2,542 km
border countries: Finland 727 km, Sweden 1,619 km, Russia 196 km

Coastline:

25,148 km (includes mainland 2,650 km, as well as long fjords, numerous small islands, and minor indentations 22,498 km; length of island coastlines 58,133 km)

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 10 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm

Climate:

temperate along coast, modified by North Atlantic Current; colder interior with increased precipitation and colder summers; rainy year-round on west coast

Terrain:

glaciated; mostly high plateaus and rugged mountains broken by fertile valleys; small, scattered plains; coastline deeply indented by fjords; arctic tundra in north

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Norwegian Sea 0 m
highest point: Galdhopiggen 2,469 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, titanium, pyrites, nickel, fish, timber, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 2.87%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.13% (2001)

Irrigated land:

1,270 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

rockslides, avalanches

Environment - current issues:

water pollution; acid rain damaging forests and adversely affecting lakes, threatening fish stocks; air pollution from vehicle emissions

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

about two-thirds mountains; some 50,000 islands off its much indented coastline; strategic location adjacent to sea lanes and air routes in North Atlantic; one of most rugged and longest coastlines in world

Note: The information tabled directly above was researched by and provided by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

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This page was last modified on August 13, 2015.