16 June 2008

Life on the Rift Margin

The island of Sotra lies on the coast of Norway just west of Bergen. Sotra is a magically place, it has a real island feel, similar to the Outer Hebrides or Lofoten but is within 15 minutes of the country's second city. I moved there because its close to the climbing, there is great kayaking on the west side of the island and because it reminded me of mid-Wales (its a sheep thing). I also ended up there because the evil-lear cost less than a very small flat in town, has tons of space and a great view.

Geologically the islands are made up of granite which is pretty old, very hard and great for climbing on. The landscape results from glacial erosion of a series of tilted fault blocks that represent the rift-margin of the North Sea - we are literally living on the last North Sea fault block.

The image below is from google-earth and unfortuantly the resolution is pretty crappy, but you can see the eastward (towards left) dipping footwall dip-slopes and the much steeper cliffs in the west that are the faults.

These faults and the scarp retreat cliffs associated with them form the climbing crags which therefore also face west, meaning that all the crags get the evening sun. Know if I were going to design a perfect island it would have west facing crags that got the sun in the evening....

It would also get a bit less rain!

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