Scandinavian Mountains

Ahkka from Maukojaureh.jpg
The Scandinavian Mountains or the Scandes is a mountain range that runs through the Scandinavian Peninsula. The Scandinavian Mountains are often erroneously thought to be equivalent to the Scandinavian Caledonides, an ancient mountain range and orogen covering roughly the same area. The western sides of the mountains drop precipitously into the North Sea and Norwegian Sea, forming the fjords of Norway, whereas to the northeast they gradually curve towards Finland. To the north they form the border between Norway and Sweden, still reaching 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) high at the Arctic Circle. The mountain range just touches northwesternmost Finland, but are scarcely more than hills at their northernmost extension at the North Cape (Nordkapp).

The mountains are not very high, but are very steep at places; Galdhøpiggen in South Norway is the highest peak in mainland Northern Europe, at 2,469 metres (8,100 ft), Kebnekaise has the highest peak on the Swedish side, at 2,104 m (6,903 ft), whereas Halti is the highest peak in Finland, at 1,324 m (4,344 ft).

The combination of a northerly location and moisture from the North Atlantic Ocean has caused the formation of many ice fields and glaciers. Temperature drops with increasing altitude; in South Norway, permafrost becomes common from about 1,500 meters above sea level on the western slope, and at about 1,200 meters above sea level on the eastern slope near the border with Sweden. In Northern Norway, permafrost becomes common from around 800 to 900 meters above sea level on the western slope, and some 600 meters above sea level on the eastern slope.

The Scandinavian Montane Birch forest and grasslands terrestrial ecoregion is closely associated with the mountain range.

Its names in the Scandinavian languages are, in Swedish Skandinaviska fjällkedjan, Skanderna (encyclopaedic and professional usage), Fjällen ("The Fells", common in colloquial speech) or Kölen ("The Keel"), and in Norwegian Den skandinaviske fjellkjede, Skandesfjellene, Kjølen ("The Keel") or Nordryggen ("The North Ridge", name coined in 2013). The names Kölen and Kjølen are often preferentially used for the northern part, where the mountains form a narrow range near the border region of Norway and Sweden. In southern Norway there is a broad scatter of mountain regions with individual names, such as Dovrefjell, Hardangervidda, Jotunheimen, and Rondane.

The mountain chain's highest summits are mostly concentrated in an area (of mean altitude of over 1,000 m) between Stavanger and Trondheim in southern Norway, with numerous peaks over 1,300 m and some peaks over 2,000 m. Around Trondheim Fjord peaks decrease in altitude to about 400–500 m rising again to heights in excess of 1,900 m further north in Swedish Lapland and nearby areas of Norway. The southern part of the mountain range contains the highest mountain of Northern Europe, Galdhøpiggen at almost 2,500 m. This part of the mountain chain is also broader and contains a series of plateaux and gently undulating surfaces that hosts scattered inselbergs. The plateaux and undulating surfaces of the southern Scandinavian Mountains form a series of stepped surfaces. Geomorphologist Karna Lidmar-Bergström and co-workers recognize five widespread stepped surfaces. On eastern Norway some of the stepped surfaces merge into a single surface. Dovre and Jotunheimen are rises from the highest of the stepped surfaces. In south-western Norway the plateaux and gently undulating surfaces are strongly dissected by fjords and valleys. The mountain chain is present in Sweden from northern Dalarna northwards; south of this point the Scandinavian Mountains lie completely within Norway. Most of the Scandinavian Mountains lack "alpine topography", and where it does have it does not relate to altitude. Example of this is the distribution of cirques in southern Norway that can be found both near sea level and at 2,000 m. Most cirques are found between 1,000 and 1,500 m.

This page was last edited on 26 May 2018, at 21:06 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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