Geology Through Literature:
Hans Christian Andersen's: Vänö and Glänö (1867)
Vänö and Glänö (1867)
Near the coast of Zealand, off Holsteinborg castle, there once lay two wooded islands, Vänö and Glänö, on which were villages, churches, and farms. The islands were quite close to the coast and quite close to each other; now there is but one of these tracts remaining.
One night a fierce tempest broke loose. The ocean rose higher than ever before within man's memory. The storm increase; it was like doomsday weather, and it sounded as id the earth were splitting...
That night Vänö vanished into the ocean depth; it was if that island had never existed. But afterward on many a summer night, when the still, clear water was at a low tide, and the fisherman was out on his boat to catch eel by the light of a torch, he could, on looking sharply, see Vänö, with its white church tower and high church wall, deep down below.
You went away from there ... and after a few years you have returned.... Where is Glänö? You don't see little wooded island before you; you see only open water. Has Vänö finally taken Glänö, as it so long was expected to? On what stormy night did this happen, and when did an earthquake move old Holsteinborg so far inland?
There was no stormy night; it all happened on cleat sunny days. Human skill built a dam to hold back the ocean; human skill dried up the water and bound Glänö to the mainland. The bay has become a meadow with luxuriant grass; Glänö has become part of Zealand.
If you try and search for the word "Glänö", most of the results are just for references to this specific story. However, I was able to find a bit for information after doing a search for the Holsteinborg castle, which does exist.
|Google Maps of Holsteinborg Castle showing Glænø Island.|
Based on the map of the castle, there sure enough appears to be an island, directly next to Holsteinborg Castle called Glænø. I feel this is far too close a coincidence to be happenstance. However, in the story, it specifically states that the island of Glänö was dammed up and incorporated into the mainland. Even though the map above doesn't appear that the island is not an island, let's look at the aerial photo to see if things get any clearer.
|Aerial Photo of the area around Holsteinborg Castle. Image courtesy of Google Earth.|
Here we can see a lot more sediment build up in the estuary behind the island, and that is because of the dam that is built to the island. In the picture here and above, the road that leads to the island on the northwest corner is on top of a 100 meter long dam. So, as the story stated, the residents built a dam, essentially merging the island with the mainland.
|Smålandsfarvandet aerial image courtesy of Google Earth.|
|Bathymetry map off the southern shore of Glænø. Image courtesy of Kroon et al., 2015.|
|Cross section of the Kirkegrund Reef. Image courtesy of Stæhr et al., 2016.|