Faroe Islands; By Adam Griffith

Posted In Beach of the Month, Features

By Adam Griffith

The Faroe Islands are a group of small volcanic islands that lie between Iceland and Norway in the northern Atlantic (Figure 1). These islands are relatively young, 55 million years old, and consist of alternating layers of basalt and tuff.

The young age of the islands and the high energy waters of the North Atlantic combined with the steep slopes of the Faroe’s rocky coastline make the accumulation of sand rare. However, tucked away in the sheltered coves of many of the islands are small (< 300 m long), sandy, pocket beaches like Sandager (Figure 2). Located just south of the islands’ largest city, Torshavn, Sandagar is an east-facing beach sheltered from the waves of the Atlantic by the island of Nolsoy (Figure 3). The deposition of river sediment and the lack of high energy wave action along this section of coast allows the sand to accumulate at the mouth of the Sanda River. The source of sand for Sandagar beach is material eroded from the mountainous terrain of the islands themselves carried to the ocean by the river. As the river nears the coast, the waters slow and sand (Figures 4 and 5) falls out of suspension and is deposited at the beach. Most of the streams and rivers of the Faroe Islands plummet over sea cliffs into deep waters making beautiful cascades (Figure 6), but rarely forming beaches as a result. Unlike much of the inhabited world, the Faroe Islands do not have a long history of human influence; they were discovered by Irish priests around 750 AD sailing the open ocean in small boats called coracles. The Faroe Islands provide a rugged habitat for life and therefore were not permanently inhabited for several hundred years after their discovery. No mammals are native to the islands and the only trees there have been brought from Europe. Despite its location at 7 degrees north latitude, winter temperatures are mild ~ 3-4 0 C and summers are also cool ~ 10 0 C. Still unknown to many people, the Faroe Islands have become more familiar to some recently due to a variety of media mentions. They were written about in Jared Diamond’s 2005 book Collapse. In 2007, the islands were chosen by National Geographic Traveler magazine as the top island destination in the world. Lastly, the 2009 movie The Cove brought into the mainstream the complex and controversial issue of traditional whale and dolphin hunting practiced in Japan and The Faroe Islands.


More / Beach Of The Month

“Beach Robbers”; By Charles O. Pilkey

December 1st, 2018

“Beach Robbers”, is a book chapter written and illustrated by Charles O. Pilkey, excerpted from “The Magic Dolphin: A Young Human’s Guide to Beaches, Sea Level Rise and Living with the Sea” by Charles O. Pilkey with Orrin H. Pilkey.

Read More

California’s Coastal Harbors, Beach Compartments and Sand Dredging; By Gary Griggs

October 1st, 2018

Every year the dredge at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor along central California’s northern Monterey Bay sucks up about 250,000 cubic yards of sand, on average, from the entrance channel and pumps it out onto Twin Lakes Beach where it continues its journey down coast. If it were put in dump trucks, it would fill about 25,000 of them, but the waves can move all that sand without any human labor, and without any noise or carbon emissions.

Read More

Beyond Preservation: The Coral Restoration Foundation Bonaire; By Andrew Jalbert

August 1st, 2018

When avid scuba diver and famed Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton first visited Bonaire decades ago, he eloquently described the underwater environment as, “a world of riotous, outrageous color.” Years later, Bonaire has seen some changes but his assessment still largely rings true.

Read More

Management Strategies for Coastal Erosion Processes; By Nelson Rangel-Buitrago

June 1st, 2018

The Special Issue Management Strategies for Coastal Erosion Processes (MSforCEP) presents an international collection of papers related to the implementation of various management strategies for coastal erosion under specific objectives.

Read More

Sand volcanos on a flat and sandy beach in the Netherlands; By Bert Buizer, PhD

May 1st, 2018

In 2013, some interesting water escape structures were observed near the coastal resort of Bergen aan Zee, in the Netherlands.

Read More

Te Pito O Te Henua shore (Rapa Nui or Easter Island): a remote and mysterious place with rare beaches; By Nelson Rangel-Buitrago, William J. Neal & Adriana Gracia

April 1st, 2018

One of the most remote and youngest inhabited volcanic islands in the world is Te Pito o Te Henua Island, or as more commonly known: Easter Island (Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua). World famous for its mysterious monumental statues (moai) erected by the early Rapa Nui people, the island is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean nearly 3,650 km west of Chile.

Read More

Newfoundland’s Sandy Beaches: A Glacial Legacy; By William J. Neal & Joseph T. Kelley

February 1st, 2018

“Newfoundland” as a coastal place does not conjure up images of sandy beaches, but rather scenes of wave-cut rocky cliffs, bird rookeries on small rock islands, sea stacks, and boulder and cobble beaches if wave deposits are present. But scattered among the latter are genuine sand beaches.

Read More

Torrevieja, Spain; By Norma J. Longo

January 1st, 2018

Torrevieja, a former fishing village on the southeast coast of Spain (Costa Blanca) in Alicante province, is now a thriving tourist city with a 2016 population of around 85,000, down from a high of over 105,000 in 2013.

Read More

Archive / Beach Of The Month