IV. The Basin of the Norwegian Sea.
1. The Area of the Norwegian Sea.

By the name Norwegian Sea we understand the whole sea-area enclosed between Norway, the Shetlands, the Færoes, Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen and Bear Island. Its basin is bounded (see Pl. I) towards the east by the Spitsbergen Platform, the continental shelf of the Barents Sea, and the Norwegian Coast; towards the south and south-west by the North Sea Platform, the Wyville Thomson Ridge, the Færoe Platform, the Færoe-Iceland Submarine Ridge; the Iceland Platform, and the Iceland-Greenland Submarine Ridge; towards the west by the east coast of Greenland; and towards the north by a probable submarine ridge between Greenland and Spitsbergen .
The subdivisions of the great Norwegian Sea area are the Greenland Sea between northern Greenland (north of 71° N. Lat.), Jan Mayen, and Spitsbergen, and the Iceland Sea between Iceland, Jan Mayen, Greenland (south of 71° N. Lat.) and the Iceland-Greenland Submarine Ridge. A portion of the latter sea, lying between Iceland and Greenland is also called Denmark Strait.
The Norwegian Sea lies between the extensive basin of the Atlantic Ocean on the one side, and the deep North Polar Basin on the other. It forms to some extent a thoroughfare for waters travelling between these two seas, and this circumstance has a fundamental effect on its physical conditon and circulation.

Fig. 8. The Norwegian Sea .

Connected with the Norwegian Sea there are also two enclosed shallow sea-areas, in the south the North Sea, with the Skagerak, the Kattegat, and the Baltic, and in the north-east the Barents Sea. The circulation between these shallow seas and the Atlantic is also by way of the Norwegian Sea (with the exception of the comparatively insignificant masses of water passing through the Straits of Dover). This circumstance has also a considerable influence upon the physical condition of the Norwegian Sea .
Basing our calculations upon our bathymetrical chart of the Norwegian Sea, Pl. I, we have measured, with a planimeter, the area of the entire Norwegian Sea, and the areas enclosed by different isobaths, as drawn in the chart. The final results were as follows:

The area of the surface( 1) .)

 The water-area at a depth of   600 m

 The water-area at a depth of 1000 m.

 The water-area at a depth of 2000 m.

 The water-area at a depth of 3000 m.

  2.58 million sq. km. 

  1.79 million sq. km.

  1.65 million sq. km.

  1.05 million sq. km.
  0.30 million sq. km.


 0.79 x 106 km2

 0.14 x 106 km2

 0.60x 106 km2

 0.75x 106 km2

(1.As the limits of the sea we have taken the coasts of above-named lands and islands, the highest part of the ridges separating the Norwegian Sea from the Atlantic Ocean, a line from the Shetlands to Stad, and, in the north, the meridian of 20° E. Long. from Norway to Bear Island, a line from Bear Island to Spitsbergen, and from the north-western corner of Spitsbergen along the (supposed) ridge to the north-eastern point of Greenland.)
The volume of the Norwegian Sea is found by these calculations to be approximately 4.12 million cubic kilometres, and its mean depth about 1600 metres.
The following Table shows the percentage of the area of the bottom of the Norwegian Sea lying at different levels, according to the above measurements. The third column gives the percentage of the sea-bottom below 600 metres lying at different levels between 600 metres and the greatest depths. In this case we consider the continental shelf above the 600 metres' contour as not belonging to the sea-bottom but to the continents.


Percentage of the entire  Sea-Bottom

Percentage of the Sea-Bottom below the 600 Metres ' Contour

  Between        0 and  600 metres

  Between    600 and 1000 metres

  Between 1000 and 2000 metres
  Between 2000 and 3000 metres
                     Below 3000 metres

30.6 per cent.

  5.4 per cent

  23.3 per cent.
  29.1 per cent         64%
  11.6 per cent   



 8 per cent.

 34 per cent  
 41 per cent.          75%
 17 per cent  

Nearly one third of the whole sea-area covers the continental shelves, and is above the 600 metres' contour, and very nearly two thirds covers the deep sea-basin, while the area of the continental slopes is comparatively very small.
Three fourths of the deep basin area lies between 1000 and 3000 metres' depth.

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Continue to Chapter IV.2. Bathymetrical Features of the Norwegian Sea.