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Lesson: Learn about Fjords with Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Take a magical trip to Norway’s rugged coastline to discover how the stunning Fjords were made.

Learn about Norway's Fjords with Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjær
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Revision Notes

Former Manchester United player and now manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, was born in Kristiansand, on the west coast of Norway. He is lucky enough to have been brought up in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Norway’s spectacular Atlantic coast is renowned for its remarkably rugged scenery, a series of astonishing features that are called Fjords.

Take a magical trip to Norway to understand how the glorious fjords were made.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær

Norwegian, Ole Gunnar Solskjær is currently the manager of English Premier League football club Manchester United. As a player, he spent most of his career with Manchester United.

Before he arrived in England, Solskjær played in Norway. Nicknamed ‘the Baby-faced Assassin’, he played 366 times for United, and scored 126 goals. In injury time at the end of the 1999 Champions League Final, he scored the winning goal against Bayern Munich. He retired from playing football in 2007 after not recovering from a serious knee injury.

He returned to Norway in 2011 to manage his former club, Molde, which he twice led to the Tippeligaen (league) titles in his first two seasons with the club, its first ever titles. He secured a third success in as many seasons, when Molde won the 2013 Norwegian Cup. After acting as caretaker manager, in March 2019, having won 14 of his 19 matches in charge, Solskjær signed a three-year contract to take over as Manchester United manager on a permanent basis.

Fjords

Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by a glacier. There are many fjords around the world, but most significantly in Norway. Norway’s coastline, which is 18,000 miles long, has nearly 1,200 fjords.

A true fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a u-shaped valley out of the underlying bedrock. Such valleys are fjords when flooded by the ocean. Thresholds above sea level create freshwater lakes. Most fjords are deeper than the adjacent sea. Norway’s Sognefjord reaches as much as 1,300 metres (4,265 ft) below sea level.

Hanging Valleys are common along glaciated fjords. A hanging valley is a tributary valley that is higher than the main valley and was created by tributary glacier flows into a glacier of larger volume. The shallower valley appears to be 'hanging' above the main valley or a fjord. Often, waterfalls form at or near the outlet of the upper valley. Small waterfalls within these fjords are also used as freshwater resources.

During the winter season there is usually little inflow of freshwater. Surface water and deeper water are mixed during winter because of the steady cooling of the surface and wind. In the deep fjords there is still fresh water from the summer with less density than the saltier water along the coast. Offshore wind, common in the fjord areas during winter, sets up a current on the surface from the inner to the outer parts. Fjords also have strong tidal currents.

During the summer season there is usually a large inflow of river water in the inner areas. This freshwater gets mixed with saltwater creating a layer of brackish water with a slightly higher surface than the ocean which in turn sets up a current from the river mouths towards the ocean. This current is gradually saltier towards the coast and right under the surface current there is a reverse current of saltier water from the coast. In the deeper parts of the fjord the cold water remaining from winter is still and separated from the atmosphere by the brackish top layer.

Coral Reefs

As late as 2000, coral reefs were discovered along the bottoms of the Norwegian fjords. The marine life on the reefs is believed to be one of the most important reasons why the Norwegian coastline is such a generous fishing ground. The reefs are host to thousands of lifeforms such as plankton, coral, anemones, fish, several species of shark, and many more. Most are specially adapted to life under the greater pressure of the water above it, and the total darkness of the deep sea.

New Zealand's fjords are also host to deep-water corals, but a surface layer of dark fresh water allows these corals to grow in much shallower water than usual.

Skerries

In some places near the seaward margins of areas with fjords, the ice-scoured channels are so numerous and varied in direction that the rocky coast is divided into thousands of island blocks, some large and mountainous, while others are merely rocky points or rock reefs and dangerous to shipping. They are called skerries, a term derived from the Old Norse ‘sker’, which means a ‘rock in the sea’.

Etymology

Fjord is a loanword from Norwegian, based on, ‘der man ferder over (Wherever you go) and ‘Ferje’ (ferry). It is one of the few words from the Norwegian language that has become international and one of the few words in the English language to start with the sequence ‘fj’.

Freshwater Fjords

Some Norwegian freshwater lakes that have formed in long glacially carved valleys with sill thresholds, are often named fjords.

One of Norway's largest is Tyrifjorden at 63 metres above sea level, with an average depth at 97 metres. most of the lake is under sea level.

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