Geological research and mapping

The Norwegian Polar Institute is the national mapping authority for polar regions. Our geologists are researching areas where we lack knowledge of the geological conditions, and the institute is responsible for geological mapping in the Arctic and and in Antarctica.

Two persons in a rubber boat in the seaGeological field work in Woodfjorden, Northern-Spitzbergen. 1997. Photo: Winfried Dallmann / Norwegian Polar Institute Small black rock in a sieve held by two glove-covered handsRock from the sea floor in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. It has most like been transported from land by an ice floe that was stuck at the beach at some point. Photo: Katrine Husum / Norwegian Polar Institute. Photo: Katrine Husum / Norwegian Polar Institute
The Institute collects geological map data through field expeditions and cooperation with international research groups. We publish geological maps with accompanying map descriptions, and all localized geological data are stored in digital databases - Geographical Information System (GIS) - which is under continuous updating and maintenance. 
Institute coordinates geological research in the Norwegian polar areas through informing about projects and existing data sources, and by facilitating contact between scientists.

Geological publications

Marin geological research

The marine geological research at the Norwegian Polar Institute investigates polar and glacial marine deposits from areas with little knowledge of marine geological conditions, e.g. the Arctic Ocean.

Norwegian Polar Institute investigates polar and glacial marine deposits in order to elucidate the processes and forcing mechanisms that are at play in these particular environments. Marine deposits also contain fossils, which can give the age of the deposit (biostratigraphy) in addition to what kind of marine environments the fossils lived in. Marine geological knowledge helps us understand Earth's history and evolution including the climatic evolution both globally and for Norwegian polar areas.


Most of Antarctica is covered by ice, and where the mountains reach above the ice, the ground is almost totally free of vegetation. This gives geologists a unique opportunity to study the history of how the rocks formed and the various geological processes that have taken place deep in the Earth’s crust.

More on geological research and mapping

Latest articles on geology

  • Special offer: Geoscience Atlas of Svalbard

    The Geoscience Atlas has approximately 170 maps, 400 photographs as well as concise explanatory texts. It collects data from a variety of geoscientific disciplines and topics in one book.

  • Workshop about taking the next step to the snow research

    The main idea of this workshop was to bring mostly early career and young researchers focusing on different thematics related to snow: physic, chemistry, microbiology and glaciology.

  • New geological map database

    The Norwegian polar Institute's thematic map portal Svalbardkartet has been complemented with a geological map database constructed for the scale of 1:250 000.

  • New publication: Geoscience Atlas of Svalbard

    The Norwegian Polar Institute has published "Geoscience Atlas of Svalbard", a book that provides information about geosciences in Svalbard.

More articles on geology