News ID: 234380
Published: 0929 GMT November 17, 2018

Scientists want to make holes in Norwegian fjords

Scientists want to make holes in Norwegian fjords
Sognefjord, which at 1,300 meters in depth is the deepest fjord in Norway.

French researchers from the University of Bordeaux are leading an international effort to bore holes in the bottom of Norway’s deep fjords.

British and South Korean researchers will also participate in the project, along with researchers from the Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), the Norwegian Polar Institute, the University of Bergen and UiT — The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, reported.

"The main purpose is to find out what has happened in Norwegian fjords since the last ice age," said Matthias Forwick, the head of Department at the Department of Geosciences at UiT.

"People mostly see the surface of the fjords. But there is a lot of hidden information in the depths of the fjords,” Forwick said.

The scientists will 'punch holes' in the bottoms of eight Norwegian fjords, from western Norway in the south to Svalbard in the north.

The sediments at the bottom will hopefully give them answers about the Norway's climate in the past climates and could provide more details as to the processes that shaped Norway.

"To put it simply, there is a lot of mud at the bottom of the fjords. That means it’s not even necessary to drill. Instead, you can shoot or push a pipe down into this mud,” Forwick said. 

"The sediments in the pipe will be able to tell us about the past, from the last ice age to the present day.”

Forwick himself came to Norway 20 years ago. In 2001, he delivered his dissertation on deposits at the bottom of the Balsfjorden fjord in Troms County. Since then he has continued to study Norwegian fjords.

Forwick said a fjord can be compared to a small ocean.

“You can study geological, biological and oceanographic processes in a fjord,” he said.

“You can do everything from basic research to applied social research.”

In terms of research, the fjords are like an archive of the past, with lots of information in the layers upon layers of sediments in the bottom, he said.

"The fjords are also important for Norwegian society," Forwick added.

“They are important for infrastructure, communication and security.”

In Norway, the fjords also play an increasingly important role as tourist attractions.

Forwick is the head of department in Tromsø, and thinks that Norway should conduct more studies in its fjords and that the country’s researchers should play a more active role in what is called the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).



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