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Marine Places

Hardanger Fjord

Like all fjords, the Hardanger Fjord in Norway is much deeper than a typical coastal-plain estuary, with a maximum depth of some 2,600 ft (800 m). Near its mouth is a sill just 500 ft (150 m) deep. At 114 miles (183 km) long, it is the third-longest fjord in the world. Hardanger Fjord was formed about 10,000 years ago, when a large glacier that had carved out and occupied a deep U-shaped valley in the area began to melt and retreat. As it did so, seawater flooded into the valley to create the fjord. Today, the fjord continues to receive a large input of fresh water from glacier melt. Throughout much of its length, the fjord is stratified into a lower layer of salt water, which moves into the fjord during flood tide, and an upper layer of fresher water that flows outward to the sea on the ebb tide.

Hardanger Fjordzoom image
  • Atlantic Ocean Northeast
  • Type Highly stratified estuary; fjord
  • Area Approximately 600 square miles1,500 square km)
  • Location Southeast of Bergen, southwestern Norway
Hardanger Fjord habitat mapzoom image