When high school student Arne Handegard collected plants for a herbarium in 1962, he didn’t know what kind of rarity he had pressed into his notebook. 30 years later he attended a botanical lecture, where a picture was shown of a plant he recognized: “Norwegian Sagebrush, which in Norway is only found in a large area of Dovre and in Trollheimen, and in a little area in Ry county”. Arne Handegard raised his hand: “That plant grows on Mt. Jonstein in Jondal”.
Many mountain plants are well prepared to face cold and wind. Some would surely rather face an easier life in the lowlands, but they cannot compete with the higher-growing plants living there. Most mountain plants manage to compete for light and space only if they cling to the bedrock and gravel in the harsh high alpine climate.
The gneiss landscape west and north of Bergen viewed in profile can remind us of a saw blade of the kind that has long, slanted sides that get broken off shorter transverse sides. It has taken several hundred million years to file this saw blade, an enduring interplay between various geological processes.
There are coal bits hidden in the sand under Vatlestraumen. These remains from a geological layer from the Jurassic Period were discovered when the undersea Bjorøy Tunnel was built in 1994. Oil- and gas reservoirs in the Troll Field in the sea west of Hordaland are from the same time. It is, nonetheless, quite surprising to find bedrock from dinosaur time inside of the outer islands of western Norway. On the Scandinavian mainland north of Denmark, there are only a very few places where one f inds rock from this time in earth history.