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Von Otterøya

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Von Otterøya is the third-largest one out of the many islands in Hinlopen Strait. There are two which are even larger, Wilhelmøya and Wahlbergøya, which differ markedly in geology and landscape from Von Otterøya and all the smaller islands in the area. Von Otterøya and the smaller ones are almost entirely composed of dolerite, a magmatic rock type that cooled down as an intrusion well below the surface of the earth. So it was not a surface volcano. The columnar structure of the dolerite is not as perfectly well developed as that of classical basalt, a related magmatic rock-type. But it is visible also in doleritic cliffs.

As the smaller islands are all composed of dolerite, they are mostly quite similar in terms of scenery and geomorphology. They are mostly quite rocky, with coarse blocks, low hills and small cliffs.

There are no great heights. The highest hill on Von Otterøya does not reach beyond 76 metres above sea level. All the smaller islands are even lower. The maximum distance from coast to coast on Von Otterøya is a good 8 km, and it is actually often less than 2 km in many places and directions.

The landscape is very barren, there are only a few flowers. But the lichen flora is often impressive and gives rock surfaces a rather coloured appearance.

Level surfaces often have well-developed series of fossil beach ridges, and you can find remains of old whalebones in many places inland.

Von Otterøya does not have much of human history beyond occasional visits by expeditions such as the Swedish section of the Arc-de-Meridian expedition (1899-1902).

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last modification: 2019-03-31 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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