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The cliff is like an open book
Rubjerg Knude is the highest point on the 10 kilometre long Lønstrup Cliff.  The continuous erosion by the sea creates the active coastal cliff.  No where else in Denmark does one get a better sense of the land’s and sea’s reciprocal influence as here.  One can see how the cliff and the landscape is created and formed by the Scandinavian ice cap.
Before the ice age - Middle Weichsel Ice Age
The depositing of fine sand and clay in the freshwater ice sea that covered Vendsyssel 30,000 to 28,000 years ago.
At this time most of Vendsyssel was covered by the sea, while south of Liimfiord and long out in Kattegat was the continent with tundra and mammoth steppe.
The ice advanced, and about 30,000 years ago there was created a large, freshwater lake (Kattegat Ice Lake) between the ice from the north and the continent to the south; where Vendsyssel now lies.
Ice Age - Late Weichsel Ice Age
About 28,000 years ago the ice advanced further to the south (Norwegian ice current), and reached the area of Rubjerg.  When, about 27,000 years ago, the ice retreated, hilly regions, that stretched from Lønstrup in the north to Nr. Lyngby in the south, were created.  The highest points in these hilly regions are Vennebjerg and Rubjerg Knude.
The Ice Sea - approx. 19,000 to 15,000 years ago
When the ice had left Vendsyssel and continued to melt, it made the water level of the sea rise; and large parts of Vendsyssel became flooded by an ice sea with many islands.  The thick and heavy ice shield had also pressed the land’s surface down below the level of the sea.
Rubjerg Knude, Vennebjerg and Børglum Bakke lay as moraine hill islands surrounded by this ice sea.
The continental period - 11,700 to 10,300 years ago
The thick ice cap had pressed the land down, but now, when it was gone, the land began to rise.  The ice sea receded, and the sea bottom between the islands dried.  (Today this sea bottom is approx. 25 metres over the present sea level).  It is this area with the raised ice sea bottom which is characteristic for Vendsyssel (the flat, plain landscape).
The Stone Age Sea (Littorina Sea) - 9,000 to 6,000 years ago
The climate became warmer, and the remainder of the Scandinavian ice shield melted.  This made the water level in the sea rise.  Large parts of Vendsyssel were again flooded.  This sea was named the Littorina Sea after the dominant animal species, Common Beach Snail, Littorina Littorea.
The map shows the placement of the different deposits in Vendsyssel.
See how the ice age’s glaciers formed the landscape that today is the cliff topped by Rubjerg Knude.
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See how glaciers transformed Vendsyssel as a result of the changes in temperature following the last ice age, and see how the sea level rose and fell as a consequence.
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Slideshow
Maps A and B show the freshwater ice sea that covered Vendsyssel in the period from 30,000 to 28,000 years ago. Map C shows the time point that the ice began the raising up of clay/sand strata.
The map shows how first the Norwegian and later the Swedish ice current covered the Rubjerg area.
 
Vendsyssel Historiske Museum · tlf. 96 24 10 50 · vhm@vhm.dk
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