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Annual Report 2013

Photo: Geir Mogen Design: Cecilie Bjerke Text: Gudmund Lovo, Erik Prytz Reitan and Morten Smelror


























We have a passion for fieldwork and are committed to dissemination.

To explain the future, we must understand the past.

NGU is mapping Norway. Our task is to collect, process and impart knowledge about the physical, chemical and mineralogical properties of the country’s bedrock, superficial deposits and groundwater. Since we have been doing this for 156 years, the job should perhaps have been completed?

LOOKING WITH NE W E YES AT OLD NOR WAY . Director General Morten Smelror . Whereas geological maps 100 years ago depicted obser-

In 2013, together with the Norwegian Mapping

vations made by geologists in the field, modern maps

Authority Hydrographic Service and the

are based on data acquired in a variety of ways.

Norwegian Institute of Marine Research,

In addition to traditional geological field map-

NGU has continued the task of obtaining

ping, NGU performs geophysical surveys from

the world’s best maps of the seabed in

planes and helicopters, and geochemical map-

prioritised parts of the Barents and Nor-

ping. The airborne mapping records magnetic

wegian seas. Since the start in 2005, 131

properties in bedrock, radioactivity emitted from

000 km² have been covered with tech-

the ground and electrical conductivity in rocks,

nically advanced measurements of the

while the geochemistry gives us information

depth of the sea. The geology, bio-

on the content of elements in soil and bedrock.

topes and environmental state have been mapped in detail. Along with the

NGU has steadily increased the coverage of geological

Norwegian University of Science and Technol-

bedrock maps: at the end of the 1990s, 100 per cent

ogy (NTNU), the Foundation for Scientific and

of Norway was covered by bedrock maps on a

Industrial Research (SINTEF) and the Norwe-

scale of 1:250 000. Today, we have covered some

gian Defence Research Establishment (FFI),

55 per cent of Norway in more detail, at 1:50

NGU has begun to use autonomous under-

000. This is about the average for Europe,

water vehicles to investigate conditions on

but somewhat behind Sweden and Finland.

the seabed, including gas leaks and places

The mapping programmes for mineral resources

where material has been dumped in the

in North Norway (MINN) and South Norway (MINS)

Barents Sea and Norwegian fjords. Modern

have raised the coverage of high-resolution geophysical

technology is helping us to illuminate the under-

data for the mainland from 14 per cent in 2010 to nearly

water world and obtain new knowledge.

33 per cent in 2013. At the same time, more effort has been put into geological and geochemical mapping in

Geological maps are essential in mineral explora-

both north and south Norway.

tion to choose the best solutions when building roads, railways and other infrastructure, and to

New airborne laser measurements enable us to read

be able to identify areas that are at risk of ava-

the landscape in a new way, giving better terrain

lanches, rock falls and radon emission. NGU also

models and images of the surface geology. We can

performs basic research. All this work enables

make good Quaternary geological maps more

us to acquire new knowledge on the geology

quickly than we could before using ordinary

of Norway and how the country was formed.

aerial photographs and topographical base

NGU supplies knowledge which makes

maps. However, we still need to make careful

users in the business community and

observations on the ground, and samples

management authorities better

of the bedrock and unconsolidated de-

equipped to solve their tasks. NGU

posits must be collected and analysed.

mapping creates value, saves money

A fully digital work flow now allows us to

for society and helps the country to

get geological information from the field

be safer. New technology and increas-

to the end users more quickly through

ing volumes of data mean that we can

good access to, and downloading solu-

look at Norway with new eyes, and

tions from the web,

supply still more and better ”Geology for Society” in the years to come.


All’s not gold that glitters.

The coffee’s soon ready.

The scientists carefully study all earlier bedrock mapping before doing fieldwork in the most interesting areas.

Better knowledge of the Precambrian basement in northern


Norway may prove to be worth its weight in gold. Gold mineralisation may, in fact, arise in zones of crushed rocks in the basement.

The oldest Precambrian basement in Norway is in the north. High-angle shear zones, which may be several kilometres wide, divide the basement into blocks. These zones were formed by plastic deformation of the bedrock deep in the Earth’s crust nearly two billion years ago. The zones eventually reached the surface and stretch for hundreds of kilometres. Mapping shear zones is one of very many tasks in the four-year programme, Mineral Resources in North Norway (MINN), which began in 2011. This government-initiated programme, funded by special, annual grants of 25 million NOK, aims to acquire the basic geophysical, geological and geochemical data that are essential if we are to find and develop the country’s mineral resources. One reason for this programme is the increasing demand and exploration for resources of metals and minerals worldwide. Technological development is making good headway and densely populated countries in Asia are experiencing strong economic growth. Europe is largely dependent upon importing metals. The Nordic countries are regarded as the most promising area in Europe for future discoveries. In Sweden and Finland, new mines are already operating, existing ones are increasing production and old mines are re-opening. Gold is often closely associated with the development of shear zones. By mapping all the zones running through the basement, scientists believe it should be possible to exclude places where gold is unlikely to be found. The industry would then avoid spending money on unnecessary exploration in barren areas. But geologists face two problems. First and foremost, much of the basement is covered by overthrust sheets of rocks from the Caledonian mountain chain which arose about 425 million years ago. It is therefore not always so easy to locate and investigate these shear zones. The other problem is that when a shear zone is mapped in one place, how can we determine whether it is identical to a zone mapped 100 or 200 kilometres away? The scientists examine the results of geophysical measurements of the bedrock taken from fixedwing aircraft and helicopters. They then carefully study all earlier bedrock mapping before doing fieldwork in the most interesting areas. This is how research and mapping of geological processes are used directly in exploration for mineral resources.


. Geologist Tine Larsen .

A tough book for fieldwork.

How long is long enough?

Airborne laser scanning is a new aid for

in great detail with the help of laser scanning.

geological mapping. Whereas geologists

It can supply a great deal of geological

used to depend entirely on maps and

information that is otherwise unavailable in

three-dimensional (3D) aerial photographs,

the field or from aerial photographs.

they can now in addition depict the terrain

READING THE LANDSCAPE Data acquired by laser scanning in different parts of Norway are provided by the Norwegian Mapping Authority through its cooperation with Norway Digital. Using appropriate software, geologists can remove the vegetation to leave the terrain surface completely free of noise. Smooth surfaces and various formations in the superficial deposits are particularly clearly revealed, as are structures in the bedrock. This enables the scientists to direct their fieldwork at specific problem areas and ignore less important ones, thus enhancing their efficiency in the field. Laser scanning is very useful for mapping and research, and may also have direct socio-economic value. It helps geologists to better identify and demarcate natural resources like gravel and sand, because they stand out with a clear signal in the terrain image. Avalanche courses, alluvial fans and former river channels are examples of features which often are very distinct, and when laser scanning is used it makes no difference if they are in dense forest. The mapping of such landforms helps geologists to understand where avalanches and flood water can go. A wide range of deposits from the Ice Age, like terminal moraines, eskers and drumlins, stand out clearly from the surrounding landscape and show how the ice sheet retreated at the end of the last Ice Age. Many landforms that are distinct in the laser image are so small and diffuse that it would have been impossible to see them on an aerial photograph and perhaps not during fieldwork either. Many places along the Norwegian coast have old, raised shorelines. They are evidence of land uplift and how the sea excavated into earth, sand and clay leaving behind beach ridges and rock incisions which may now be located several tens of kilometres inland from the present coastline. Laser scanning gives geologists an overall view of these old strandlines so that they can distinguish them from one another. In 2013, Quaternary geologists from NGU began mapping the map sheet which covers Kvam, a village severely hit by a flood in May. Over a period of 11 000 years, the river flowing down the branch valley of Veikledalen has built up a large fan of alluvial and flood deposits. Laser scanning can aid scientists in demarcating such deposits more precisely and help them to study how water erodes, transports and deposits enormous quantities of sand, gravel and rocks.


Geologist Anders Romundset .


LOOKING SOUTH A number of investigations have so far

The helicopter flights

been carried out in this programme,

over Telemark aimed

which NGU hopes can last at least

to acquire geophysical

another four years. A geochemical

data to enable scientists

survey has been performed in

to have a better view into the

Nord-Trøndelag and on the Fosen


peninsula, and a helicopter has flown


over part of Telemark. There has also been

subsurface. The images are very useful for understanding the geo-

logy and for prospecting companies. The flights

fieldwork in the Trøndelag district.

covered the Seljord, Rjukan and Notodden district.

NGU geochemists have taken humus and

In a mineral context, Telemark is known for the huge

mineral soil samples in Nord-Trøndelag

limestone mine at Brevik. There are also several large

and on the Fosen peninsula in 2013 to

deposits of building raw materials like gravel, sand

analyse them for their content of many

and crushed stone. Undiscovered mineral resources

different elements. The content

can also most probably be found in this county.

of elements in the mineral soil largely

In 2013, geologists also carried out fieldwork in what

reflects the

they used to refer to as the Trøndelag district. In the


past, a high content of copper and iron pyrites in this

bedrock, where-

area formed a basis for mining at such places as Løkken,

as that in the

Røros and Folldal. Among other things, scientists now

humus is dominat-

want to learn more about how the bedrock was shaped

ed by biological and

when the Caledonian mountain chain formed some 400

climatic processes.

million years ago, and to examine the present lithologi-

The investigation tells

cal boundaries in more detail.

us more about the superficial deposits, the natural background level of various

The two mapping programmes in north and south

. Geologist Malin Andersson .

elements, human-induced

Norway are intended to assist Norwegian and international companies to carry out their prospecting

impacts, geotopes and geological anomalies. Special focus has

with the aim of locating new deposits, developing

been placed on rare-earth minerals, which have not previously

business activities and creating new jobs. Other aims

been studied with a view to mineral extraction.

are to learn more about the strategic mineral resources in Norway, ensure better management of the natural resources, develop better surveying

Geochemical maps can, for instance, be used by mining and

methods and increase recruitment to geoscience.

prospecting companies to define areas that may be of interest for more detailed investigations of mineral raw materials.


For three years, our geological investigations have focused on mapping the mineral resources in northern Norway. We are now directing our attention towards the south. In 2013, NGU started the Mineral Resources in South Norway (MINS) programme, funded by special government grants.

A trowel to sample soil.

Climate, organisms, minerals, topography and time help to form soil.

Even though more and more navigation takes place digitally, old charts are a trusted companion.

30 year old FF Seisma is still undertaking survey cruises in the fjords.

COMBING THE FJORD Hardly anything characterises Norway more than the long, narrow, deep fjords along the coast. Tourists come from all over the world to get a taste of the fantastic scenic experience you can enjoy in a fjord flanked by precipitous mountains. Nevertheless, they miss most of it, and perhaps the best: the unbelievable underwater scenery and wildlife.

When NGU's research vessel, FF Seisma, sails into a fjord to uncover and survey the landscape beneath the water it is not only with a view to tourism. It is also essential to obtain a thorough knowledge for good management of the natural resources. Commercial life in coastal communities is largely linked to fishing and aquaculture. Six municipalities in the two Astafjords in the southern part of the county of Troms are keen to pave the way for successful commercial life. At the turn of the millennium, these two fjord arms were full of aquaculture plants and the municipal boundaries were an obstruction to developing good plans to use the area jointly. The solution was to draw up a joint municipal land-use plan and pave the way for the aquaculture firms to operate jointly. Some years ago, NGU was commissioned to carry out detailed mapping of the sea floor in these fjords, and later in most of southern Troms. By degrees, as good maps were prepared showing the relationship between the underwater landscape, the bottom sediments and the biology, it became possible to develop the businesses in a more efficient and environmentally friendly manner. Good information was provided on where conditions were favourable for anchoring aquaculture facilities, where the current is strong enough to ensure oxygen for the fish, and where a facility can be located without obstructing other commercial activities such as trawling. The basic marine map was a valuable tool for managing the local resources. The Astafjord project ended in 2012, and the target was achieved. Southern Troms is the best-mapped stretch of coast in the country. The municipal councils and business community have now a valuable tool. The local communities are very enthusiastic to use the knowledge that has become available, and to recruit people to their businesses. To a large extent the key to success has been the local initiative some years ago, and the keenness to press ahead with the Astafjord project. However, an important element has been the effort put in by NGU and its expertise in mapping the sea floor. With its equipment to acquire seismic data, a multibeam echo sounder, sampling gear and video cameras, FF Seisma can go right up to the shoreline in its hunt for knowledge of the sea floor. So far, only a very small part of the shallow Norwegian coast has been mapped. We hope to put this right in the years to come.

. Geologist Oddvar Longva .


Large amounts of data are stored in a small box.

HUGIN: This remote controlled underwater vehicle has found bombs and ammunition in Trondheimsfjord.

DUMPED IN DEEP WATER Furthest out in Trondheimsfjord, an underwater dump of ammunition, bombs and wrecked ships lies on the sea floor. Because the dump is so open, there is a potential risk that contaminants will spread in the sea.

Ammunition and other war equipment were dumped in many places in Norwegian fjords after the Second World War. One of these dumps is between Rissa and Agdenes, in the deepest part of Trondheimsfjord, at a depth of more than 600 metres. Frequently, the seabed at such great depths is dominated by soft mud. Things dumped there will thus disappear into the mud and eventually be covered by new deposits. But this is not always the case. In some places, strong currents flow just above the sea floor, and this is the case at the site in Trondheimsfjord. Here, the current is so strong that the sediments are being eroded and removed from the area, and no new sediment is being deposited there. Consequently, the materials dumped there about 65 years ago are still clearly visible on the sea floor. Photographs show large numbers of cylinders, some of which are very rusty and corroded. This means there is a risk that contaminants may disperse into the water. The scientists have acquired extremely clear images of the sediments and objects on the sea floor using HUGIN, a self-propelled autonomous underwater vehicle. The images show that the wartime rubbish lies on the sea floor without being covered by mud. These investigations are part of NGU's efforts to use the best available new technology to map and document geological conditions and processes on the sea floor. This technology will be used to tackle environmental problems, which have wide interest for Norwegian society. The investigations in Trondheimsfjord are part of a cooperative project with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, which enables NGU to help develop new technology and methodology that can give still better results. NGU and NTNU plan to study the dump in more detail in 2014. A remote-controlled mini-submarine will be used to obtain new, even more detailed, images and data, and to take samples which can tell us whether undesirable contamination is leaking into the marine environment.



Geologist Terje Thorsnes .

A traditional map. Digital versions are now available on the web.

A tablet and a mobile phone. Digital everyday life.

MY MUNICIPALIT Y Norway has 428 municipalities. NGU's databases contain a great deal of geological data on all of them. "Geologien i min kommune" (“The geology in my municipality�) is a service we have set up so that those who are interested in the geology of just a specific, limited area will gain easy access to everything we have about it.

NGU has been mapping the country for 156

information is important when they are drawing

years. Geologists have mapped on foot and

up their land-use plans. Geology does not follow

bicycle, and from planes, helicopters, boats and

municipal boundaries. "The geology in my munici-

motor vehicles. Enormous amounts of data are

pality" web service simplifies the acquisition of data

gathered in databases and made available on

from neighbouring municipalities. Planners can

maps and photographs, and in reports and other

download data sets for use in their own analyses, or

publications. Most of our data can be accessed

link the service to their own case-handling system.

completely free of charge on our web site,

We are satisfied with the work done, which resulted in the launching of "The geology in my

There may be a risk that people become

municipality" service in the spring of 2013.

overwhelmed by all the information, or

A subsequent inquiry last year among

be unable to find their way to what is

some targeted municipalities showed

most relevant. "The geology in my

that they were also satisfied. Good feed-

municipality" web service aims to make

back means that in the future we can

it simpler for users around the country

make improvements that the

to access data in NGU's databases and

municpal authorities would like to see in

map services.

this service.

In their planning processes, some municipal councils don't make enough use of the available geological information. They actual-

. Senior adviser Berit F. Moen .

ly say they want data on the superficial deposits and bedrock in their area. This is valuable for finding out where there is a potential for exploiting resources. It is important for coastal municipalities to learn about the geology of the coastal zone. Municipal planners are also keen to obtain information that is relevant for landslides and rock falls so that they can undertake obligatory risk and vulnerability analyses. All this


Just before Christmas 2013, a well sunk in bedrock in Ringsaker, in the county of Hedmark, was recorded as number 80 000 in Norway. Probably more than 150 000 wells for water and groundsource-energy have been drilled on land in Norway. Even more information about subsurface Norway will now be registered and collected in databases.

RIGHT TO THE BOT TOM The subsurface is being used more and more. Many road and railway tunnels are being driven, waste dumps excavated, and sewage plants, various kinds of storage halls, hydroelectric power plants as well as industrial and defence installations are being built. There is a great need for good knowledge of the subsurface, preferably in three dimensions. Vast amounts of drilling data already exist from various kinds of subsurface investigations, including geotechnical drilling in superficial deposits, all the wells and numerous investigations of bedrock quality. The problem is that such data are largely unavailable, because they are in the hands of many different owners and users. NGU, for instance, manages the national groundwater well database as required by the Water Resources Act. Drilling companies have to report all drilling that takes place on land. After the Act became law in 2001, the number of new wells reported has increased greatly. In the last four years alone, 30 000 new ones have been reported. The last one recorded in 2013 was that water well in Hedmark. However, the demands are growing. NGU, in close cooperation with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate and Jerbaneverket (the Norwegian agency for railway services), has therefore started to build up a national database for subsurface investigations. This database, with the acronym NADAG, will provide a full overview of investigations that have been carried out. Such facts are of great value to permit the best possible management of land areas, both above and beneath the surface. At the same time, data can be re-used to save society a great deal of money. The first version of the database, containing data from a test area in Oslo, was prepared in 2013. The NADAG database will gradually be expanded with more functions and adjusted to the requirements of the users. The location of the well, the type of drilling, the depth, the name of the company, the date and the report number are minimum information in the database. In some cases, much more data will be available.

. Geologist Inger Lise Solberg .

This work means that society will acquire more information about subsurface conditions in three dimensions.


You need to write quite a lot to see what you should not write.

The map agrees with the terrain. We are moving steadily ahead!

We call a spade a spade.

Aggregate: crushed stone is, for instance, a product of granite, gabbro or gneiss.

CRUSHED STONE Each year, each and everyone of us uses, on average, a big lorry load of gravel and crushed stone. Crushed stone is the most important mineral resource in the country in terms of value, quantity and jobs.

Trade in building raw materials

The NGU rock mechanics laboratory analyses

like aggregates, gravel, sand

samples from crushed stone quarries and sand

and clay has increased in

and gravel pits. In the Los Angeles test, the mi-

recent years and, with the

cro-Deval test and the mill method, the rocks are

help of more than 2500

tumbled and crushed with steel balls. The tests

workers around the country,

simulate crushing, wear and tear, and other loads

it now far exceeds five bil-

the material will be exposed to in a road. The work

lion NOK. Aggregates are

of testing rocks used in the base course and sub-

also a major export article

base of Norwegian roads has already resulted in

with a first-hand value of

the Norwegian Public Roads Administration mak-

1.3 billion NOK.

ing new demands on abrasive strength.

NGU maps these resour-

It is the properties of the rock which determine

ces, tests their quality and

what it can be used for. A sandstone in the Bre-

gives advice to, among

manger district in the county of Sogn & Fjordane

others, municipal councils,

has proved to be of great interest on the Conti-

the Norwegian Public Roads

nent. Quality testing has meant that a dream has

Administration and the many

become reality; the sandstone is very suitable for

firms working the deposits. The

asphalt on roads where no-one drives with stud-

databases contain information on 1746 deposits of crushed rock and 8944

ded tyres and it is vital to maintain good friction to avoid slippery roads.

deposits of sand and gravel. All of them have been classified: Nationally important,

Plenty of good stone is important, but so are infra-

Regionally important and Locally very im-

structure and profitability. A good stone crushing

portant, Important, Not very important or

plant should be located on the coast, hidden from

Not evaluated.

view, have a good harbour, be close to the European market and have enough reserves to last more

NGU now wants to expand this information. The aim is to achieve still better quality and, at the same time, map the deposits in three dimensions.

. Geologist Eyolf Erichsen .


than 50 years.

Every centimetre counts. How deep the contamination is found in the sediment tells us how long ago it was deposited on the seabed.

Good clothing is required when samples from the ocean floor are divided and packaged for analysis.

ANALYSING NE W NOR WEGIAN SEABED NGU has never taken as many samples from the seabed as in 2013. 1500 samples from 29 stations on different parts of the seabed are the result of survey cruises in the Norwegian Sea and in the portion of the Barents Sea that Norway recently acquired along the border with Russia.

The chemical analyses from these Norwegian waters

Dating of sediment cores shows that such elements

reveal traces of industrialisation on the mainland

began to appear at the end of the 19th century and

and pollution from other parts of the world,

the beginning of the 20th century. It is therefore

but on the whole the seabed is clean.

likely that the input of these two heavy metals is related to the use of coal and leaded petrol.

In 2011, Norway and Russia reached agreement on their border in the

The radioactive element Cesium-137 was

Barents Sea. Last summer, the sea-

found in a sediment core obtained off

bed of this new piece of Norway

Lofoten. Scientists believe that this derives

was sampled for the first time. In

from the nuclear tests performed on Novaya

addition to filming a large area to

Zemlya in northern Russia in the 1950s and

study the geological conditions visually,

1960s, or from the Chernobyl accident

samples were obtained from 10 stations.

in 1986.

A further 19 stations in the Norwegian Sea were sampled. This is a new record for MAREANO in

Mapping contamination in the formerly

the course of a single season of cruises.

disputed area of the Barents Sea is part of the major survey programme, MAREANO, which

The samples are now being analysed to find

NGU is carrying out together with the Institute

out whether the seabed sediments are con-

of Marine Research and the Norwegian Mapping

taminated, and the results from the previous-

Authority. Maps of the depth, biology, geology

ly disputed area will be ready during 2014.

and pollution are being prepared for coastal and

The NGU laboratory is responsible for this

more distant offshore waters from the Møre dis-

work. The samples are being analysed for a

trict northwards to the border with Russia.

number of heavy metals and are being dated to enable us to say when the contaminants first appeared in the sediments. On the whole, the Norwegian seabed is clean. Analyses from areas mapped in recent years show this, but they are not entirely free of traces left by people. Increased contents of mercury and lead have been found. These elements have been carried here in the atmosphere or by ocean currents.


. Geologist Henning Jensen .

NGU The Geological Survey of Norway (NGU) is the national institution for knowledge about Norway's bedrock, mineral resources, superficial deposits and groundwater. NGU is a government agency under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries (NFD). NGU's aim is to ensure that geoscience knowledge is used for effective and sustainable management of natural resources and the environment. As a research-based management agency, NGU also has to assist other ministries requiring information on geological matters. Under its motto “Geology for Society”, NGU aims to improve its mapping and to provide quality-assured geological information in national databases.

NGU has the following principal objectives: •

Long-term added value from geological resources

Increased use of geoscience knowledge in land-use planning and development

Better knowledge of geological development and –processes in Norway

Good management and customization of geological knowledge

Good communication and dissemination of geological knowledge

Improving effectiveness through cooperation






Øystein Nordgulen

GEOMATICS & IT Frank Haugan

Berte Figenschou Amundsen Communication, Gudmund Løvø


Mineral resources, Henrik Schiellerup

Marine geology, Reidulv Bøe

Natural construction materials, Rolv Dahl

Groundwater and urban geology, Hans deBeer

Applied geophysics, Jan Steinar Rønning

NGU-Laboratory, Ana Banica

Geochemistry, Belinda Flem

Bedrock geology, Ane Engvik Quartenary geology, Astrid Lyså Geodynamics, Susanne Buiter Geohazards, Reginald Hermanns Continental shelf geophysics, Odleiv Olesen Network and cooperation, Jan Høst


Geomatics, Gisle Bakkeli

HR, Ingunn Kringstad

IT, Jacob Solvoll

Resource management, Per Gunnar Ørndahl

Accounts 2009-2013 (NOK million) Income






Ministry of Trade and Industry.






Other income






Total income


















Other expenses

















Total expenses

NGU´s total production of reports, publications, presentations and maps for 2009-2013 Produkttype










































Total number of employees






With MSc Degree






With PhD Degree






Non-Norwegian citizens






Articles, refereed journals Other published articles Presentations and teaching Bedrock and surficial deposits maps

NGU´s employees

27 NGU Geological Survey of Norway PO Box 6315 Sluppen NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway Visiting address: Leiv Eirikssons veg 39 Phone: +47 73 90 40 00 E-mail:

Annualreport NGU 2013  
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