A journey from the earth's interior to the surface
The island of Leka is Norway’s Geological National Monument and displays a section through the oceanic crust better than anywhere else in the world. You can actually walk or cycle on the interior of the Earth. Leka was formed in a mid-oceanic ridge close to Laurentia (America) 500 million years ago. A fragment of the oceanic crust was then forced up on land when America and Europe collided 400 million years ago.
The reddish-yellow bedrock that is so characteristic for Leka is ultramafic rock formed in the deepest part of the oceanic crust and the underlying mantle. Here you can see the MOHO, the boundary between the mantle and the crust.
The Drifting Apart project, financed by the EU North Periphery Project, aims to support the sustainable economic growth through innovative products and services that will be established, sustainability through the conservation, education and enhancement of geodiversity.
The Drifting Apart consortium is an unincorporated body made up of 7 main partners;
- Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust - Northern Ireland (leader)
- Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Northern Ireland -Republic of Ireland
- Magma Global Geopark – Norway
- Reykjanes Global Geopark – Iceland
- Shetland Global Geopark – Scotland
- Stonehammer Global Geopark – Canada
- Kenozero National Park- Russia
Sub partners are: North West Highlands Global Geopark- Scotland, The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Global Geopark- Republic of Ireland, Saga Geopark Project - Iceland, Katla Global Geopark- Iceland, Trollfjell Geopark Project - Norway and Cabox Aspiring Geoparks- New Foundland, Canada. Other sub partners are Geological Survey’s of Ireland, North Ireland and Norway.
- Identifying the common geological story that spans the region
- Encouraging research and use of innovative tools, including 3D Mapping and Laser Scanning, to illustrate the geological story.
- Making the common geological story accessible for use in interpretation and education initiatives.
- Capitalising on the tourism potential of the geological story through development of a transnational cultural route that provides opportunities for tourism based SMEs.
- Identifying and sharing good practise through a survey of existing Geopark activities.
- Developing and implementing a sustainable Geopark model based on existing good practise and innovation, to ensure the long term economic viability of Geoparks.
- Supporting the development of new and aspiring Geoparks within the region.
- Creating efficiencies in the operation of Geoparks, and communication between Geoparks.
- Employing and developing new technologies and innovative products to best advantage throughout every aspect of the project.
- Evaluating the benefits of the project to provide a roadmap for further development both within the region and beyond.
Skeisnesset cultural landscapes
Skei is one of 22 national selected cultural landscapes, granted special status and managment, because of its biological and historical values. These 22 landscapes give a cross-section of Norwegian cultural landscapes, from the mountains, to the coatsline.
Coastal heathland is predominant at Skeisnesset. The coastal heathland is a result of 4000 years of livestock grazing and heather burning. Before that time, large parts of the coast was coverd with forest.
When people introduced agriculture and animal husbandry, the forest was removed to provide pasture. Heather is valuable for livestock grazing outside through the winter.
In today´s highly productive agriculture, the coastal heathlands are in less use as pastures and therefore a threatedned habitat type. It is important to take care of some of the most representative areas that still exist in Norway. Among these are Skeisnesset, taken care of by planned management, clearing and burning, and grazing by cattle and sheep.
The Cultural Trails provides educational information about the area´s many qualities: cultural, management, geology, and much more. The paths are signposted, and there are information boards at key points.
Hiking map Skei and Skeisnesset selected cultural landscapes
The school project on Leka
The school project on Leka is a teaching program for primary and lower secondary schools based on Leka’s unique geology. Through field work at se- lected sites, the pupils have learned about how the geology and landscape are created and formed as well as how people have settled down within this landscape.
The teaching program consists of two distinct concepts: 1. A journey to the Earth’s interior, and; 2. If rocks could talk. The pupils have learned, experienced, observed, researched and experimented. The activities encompass hiking, easy climbing and biking to sites offering easily observable geological structures. The project is in collaboration with Nord-Trøndelag University Col- lege (HINT), Leka School, Leka Experiences and Trollfjell Geopark. HINT is also conducting norma- tive process research on the teaching.
>>> Film from the school project
A piece of America
The Vega islands are designated a World Heritage Area, famous for the strandflat archipelago where people tended semi-domesticated eiders to collect down from their nests.
Granitic intrusions forming the southern part of the main island Vega is dated to about 475 million years. The intrusive complex is a fairly homogeneous body several hundreds of km2 in extent, and consists mainly of granitic and granodioritic rocks. It is zoned, and from east to west, the rocks varies from biotite granite, through garnet bearing granite to rare types of granodiorite containing sillimanite and cordierite. Due to tilting of the intrusive complex after its formation, subsequent erosion has actually revealed a 7-17 kilometre thick crustal section. The mineral composition of the granite shows that it crystallised from a melt that was formed by partial melting of rocks similar to the sedimentary rocks occurring to the north of the granite (Horta Nappe). Varieties of migmatite (partially melted rock) can be found on the nortwestern part of the island, and it is possible to view the whole process from melting of sedimentary rocks to the formation of a huge batholith. Some of the rocks that resisted melting are present as dark clots and irregular inclusions unevenly distributed in the granite, trapped by the migrating melt.
This type of granite is fairly rare in mountain belts, the Vega granite being a world-class example and by far the largest occurrence of its kind in the Caledonian mountain belt in Norway.