What Is A Skerry?

A skerry is another name for a small rock island.
A skerry is another name for a small rock island.

A skerry is a tiny rocky island which is not large enough for human habitation. These geological features are also known as low sea stacks and are usually found in clusters. Some skerries in the world have limited vegetation cover, mainly made up of mosses and grass and few are large enough to be temporarily inhabited by small marine mammals and birds. The term “skerry” is derived from an Old Norse word “sker” which when translated means “rock in the sea.” There are numerous skerries found all over the world, but most are found in the northern hemisphere.

Skerries In Russia

The Minina Skerries in Russia are examples of these geological features. The Minina Skerries are a series of islands situated in the Kara Sea in northern Siberia from the mouth of the Pyasina River to the Mikhailov Peninsula. The Minina Skerries were named after renowned Russian explorer, Fedor Alekseyevich Minin. The islands which make up the Minina Skerries include the Plavnikovyye Islands, the Kolosovykh Islands, and the Kolosovykh Peninsula. While these islands are individually separated, the extremely cold winters experienced in the region lead to the merger of all the islands by ice for many months. The Minina Skerries fall under the administration of Krasnoyarsk Krai, and flora and fauna found on the islands are part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve.

Skerries In The United Kingdom

A notable example of a skerry in the United Kingdom in Dubh Artach. The Dubh Artach skerry is situated on Scotland’s west coast and about 18 miles west of Colonsay. Dubh Artach is a Scottish Gaelic word which means “The Black Rock.” The skerry is a basalt rock which rises 35 feet above sea level and has a length of 240 feet and a width of 130 feet. The Dubh Artach skerry is part of the Isle of Mull, an island group which covers 32,000 square feet. Another skerry found on the Isle of Mull is Skerryvore. Skerryvore is a skerry situated 12 miles south of Tiree, in the west coast of Scotland. The 156-foot tall lighthouse constructed on Skerryvore is Scotland’s tallest lighthouse. The only structure on Dubh Artach is a 145-foot tall lighthouse which was constructed in the late 19th century. Another skerry in the United Kingdom is Staple Island, a small island situated in Northumberland, England. Staple Island is among the islands that make up the Farne Islands. The Staple Island skerry is uninhabited but is frequently visited by tourists who admire the wildlife diversity on Staple Island, which has significant populations of grey seals, kittiwakes, and Atlantic puffins.

Skerries In Norway

Norway has one of the highest concentrations of skerries in the world. Many of the skerries found in Norway were formed as a result of glaciation and are known as “skjaergard.” The skerries are found in clusters which are arranged parallel to the coast, stretching for many miles forming protected channels. The Blindleia channel, for example, is protected by numerous skerries and stretches from Lillesand to Kristiansand.

Formation Of Skerries

Most skerries are formed at the outlets of fjords after submerged valleys formed through glaciation, merge with other such valleys in a complex array.


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