Western Europe: The Nordic Countries Northern Europe Landscape

Northern Europe, is an old age landscape. This is the region between the highlands of Central Europe and the Western Uplands of Scandinavia, and is known as the North European Plain. Here the European landscape flattens out into a broad coastal plain.

Elevations seldom reach over 500 ft (152 m) and the continental shelf extends under the relatively shallow Baltic Sea and North Sea. In fact, these seas become exposed land whenever ocean levels are lower than they are today, and most of the North European Plain is covered with water when sea levels are higher than they are today. The British Isles are continental s helf islands .

The oldest exposed rock in Europe (over 1 billion years old) is on the Baltic shield, which extends under the Baltic Sea. The Baltic shield is related to the Canadian shield and the Siberian shield. All of these contain exposed rocks that are over one billion years old and were part of Laurasia, the supercontinent that formed 300 million years ago out of North America and Eurasia.

These massive rock shields also contain large areas of fossil fuels in the form of oil and natural gas. These fossil fuels were formed by dense vegetation that grew on the edge of the shallow seas that once covered large areas of these rock shields. In Europe this can be seen in the large oilfields found in the North Sea that have mostly benefited Norway and the United Kingdom.

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