The three spades in the municipal coat of arms for Modalen are sand spades. Sand quarrying has brought income and employment. As much as 70,000-80,0000 tonnes of sand and gravel left the municipality each year since the turn of the millennium, to be used as cementing sand. Why is Modalen endowed with so much sand?
They rest there, all as one, the silent witnesses of Western Norway's saga of creation: Precambrian basement, phyllite and thrust sheet. In the end came the glaciers and sculptured the vast landscape. Along the ground or on the horizon, from bicycle or on foot - the landscape tells its story - and it tells it clearer on Rallarvegen than many other places.
On the east side of Lake Skjelbreidvatnet, clearly visible along the road from Eikelandsosen, we notice a farm on a terrace above a grassy hill. The hill has the form of a broad shield; Skjelbreid (" Broad Shield") is the name of the farm.
At the end of the last ice age the ice flowed out of Hardanger fjord in such a fury that it forced the meltwater from Voss to run back uphill toward Granvin. The glacier from Raundalen down the windy valley along the Vosso to Bolstadøyri went too slow to make the turn.
Skorpo - Polished by glaciers and meltwater
In Skånevik there are marks left from the ice edge that advanced during the thousand-year cold spell (Younger Dryas) that marked the end of the Ice Age roughly 11 500 years ago. The glacier first proceeded out into Åkra Fjordand and around Vannes and thereafter sent an arm in toward Skånevik. Here, the glacier lay down an end moraine up against the mountainside.
Much of the sand and gravel that the town of Etne is built on was laid down at the end of the Ice Age and is evidence of melting glaciers and roaring meltwater rivers. The uncompacted material in the big terraces leave their unmistakeable mark on the wide elongated valleys.