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Episodes 2008; 31(1): 185-192

Published online March 1, 2008


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

History of Geology in Norden

Björn Sundquist1, Ilmari Haapala2, Jens Morten Hansen3, Geir Hestmark4, Sigurdur Steinthorsson5

1Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, SE-75236 Uppsala, Sweden. E-mail: bjorn.sundquist@geo.uu.se
2Department of Geology, University of Helsinki, P.O.Box 64, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: ilmari.haapala@helsinki.fi
3Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 København K, Denmark. E-mail: jmh@geus.dk
4Institute of Biology, University of Oslo, P.O.Box 1066 Blindern, NO-0316 Oslo, Norway. E-mail: geir.hestmark@bio.uio.no
5Department of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Jardarhaga 2-6, IS-107 Reykjavík, Iceland. E-mail: sigst@raunvis.hi.is

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have been closely connected for many centuries, not least from a geological point of view. Scientific cooperation as well as contentions have been common. The earliest known records of “geological” treatises are from the 16th century, but especially in the 18th century, when the natural sciences flourished all over Europe, Nordic scholars were in the forefront in geochemistry, mineralogy, and paleontology. This was also the century when “geology” started to be taught at the universities, and science academies were founded in Norden, adding greatly to “geological” studies. In the 19th century, like in so many other countries, national geological survey organizations and geological societies were founded. In Norden, geological research has long traditions within mineralogy and ore geology, paleontology and stratigraphy, tectonics and structural geology. During the last century, focus has turned also to Quaternary and glacial geology, igneous and metamorphic petrology, geochemistry, micropaleontology, petroleum geology, sedimentology, marine geology, geophysics, geochronology, and research related to geothermal energy and deposition of radioactive waste products. In many of these research areas, Nordic geoscientists have contributed greatly over the years to the development of the science of geology.