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.