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The Lofoten Maelström
Lofoten rock
Nordland, Norway
Earth's Natural Wonders in Europe & Middle East
 
Age of Lofoten Maelström: 20,000 years
Width of Lofoten Maelström: 2.5 miles (4km)
Depth of Lofoten Maelström: 130 to 195 feet (40 to 60 km)
Lofoten Rock[1]

 

Lofoten in Norway
The desolately beautiful Lofoten Islands, high above the Arctic Circle off the coast of Norway, have long attracted the attention of the wider world because of the terrifying marine phenomenon off their shores known as Maelström. A convergance of fast-flowing currents close to Moskenesøy, the furthest out to see of the five main islands, creates a mighty whirlpool.
Lofoten in Norway[2]

 

Norwegian Moskenstraumen,

marine channel and strong tidal current of the Norwegian Sea, in the Lofoten islands, northern Norway. Flowing between the islands of Moskenesøya (north) and Mosken (south), it has a treacherous current. About 5 miles (8 km) wide, alternating in flow between the open sea on the west and Vestfjorden on the east, the current reaches a speed of 7 miles (11 km) per hour with the changing of the tides. Strong local winds make the passage additionally dangerous. The word maelstrom entered the English language via the fiction of the French novelist Jules Verne and the American short-story writer Edgar Allan Poe, who exaggerated the current of the channel into a great whirlpool; the word in English designates a large, fatal whirlpool, engulfing vessels and men, or a figurative application of the idea.[3]

The Lofoten Islands are characterised by their mountains and peaks, sheltered inlets, stretches of seashore and large virgin areas. The highest mountain in Lofoten is Higravstinden (1,161 m / 3,800 ft) in Austvågøy; the Møysalen National Park just northeast of Lofoten has mountains reaching 1,262 m. The famous Moskstraumen (Malstrøm) system of tidal eddies is located in western Lofoten, and is indeed the root of the term maelstrom. The sea is rich with life, and the world's largest deep water coral reef is located west of Røst. Lofoten has a very high density of sea eagles and cormorants, and millions of other sea birds, among them the colourful puffin. Otters are common, and there are moose on the largest islands. There are some woodland with Downy birch and Rowan. There are no native conifer forest in Lofoten, but some small areas with private spruce plantations. Sorbus hybrida ("Rowan whitebeam") and Malus sylvestris occur in Lofoten, but not further north.[4]

The Maelstrom is located above the artic circle, off the Lofoten Islands in Norway. Where the Artic and Atlantic Oceans meet, where the North and Berrents meet. At times, the tidal currents apparently move in and out at up to 30 miles per hour.

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References
 
1. Flickr-Lofoten Rock-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/18/2009
2. Flickr-Lofoten in Norway-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/18/2009
3. 1,001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die 2005-p. 286- Michael Bright-retrieved 6/22/2009
4 MLA Style: "Maelstrøm." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2009 Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009.
5. Wikipedia- Lofoten-retrieved 7/18/2009
 
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