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> Home > Nature and climate > Land > Geological mapping of Denmark

Geological mapping of Denmark

Since 1888 the surface of Denmark has been mapped by DGU (now GEUS) - partly as a general mapping of nature and Denmarks natural history and partly to be used in evaluation of the fertility, porosity, drainage etc. of the surface layers. Maps of Denmarks geological surface sediments are available as printed map sheets and in digital form.


GEUS fieldworkers


Peter Roll Jakobsen

Senior researcher and head of the mapping programme
Peter Roll Jakobsen

Stig Asbjørn Schack Petersen
Senior researcher
Stig Asbjørn Schack Pedersen


Henrik Jønsson Granat

Henrik Jønsson Granat

Karteringsleder (til venstre) med studentermedhjælpere

The mapping team from the field campaign spring 2012 on Hals map sheet. Link to enlarged picture pdf~138 KB)

Equipment and method


Printed geological map sheets over Denmark is for sale at GEUS' reception +45 38142000 or mail

Map sheets 1:50 000:
Geological Map Sheet Mariager 1:50 000 (2013): Mariager_2013.pdf~2,9 Mb

Geological Map Sheet Mors, 1:50 000 (2012): mors_2012.pdf fil ~3,3Mb

Geological Map Sheet Nykøbing Falster 1:50 000 (2011, trykt 2012): NykøbingF_2012.pdf~2,0 Mb

Geological Map Sheet Rømø og Mandø 1:50 000 (2010): romo_mando_2010.pdf fil~1,3 Mb

Geological Map Sheet Møn 1:50 000 (2006): moen_2006.pdf fil~2,0 Mb

Geological Map Sheet Ringkøbing 1:50 000 (2005): ringkoebing_2005.pdf fil~2,3 Mb

Geological Map Sheet Maribo 1:50 000 (2004): maribo_2004.pdf fil~1,6 Mb

Geological Map Sheet Skjern 1:50 000 (2002): skjern_2002.pdf fil~1,7 Mb

Geological Map Sheet Hanstholm 1:50 000 (2002): hanstholm_2002.pdf fil~1,1 Mb

Geological Map Sheet Sakskøbing 1:50 000 (2000): sakskoebing.pdf fil~1,4 Mb
Description of Map Sheet Sakskøbing (2015) with english summary: map6_p01-42.pdf (pdf-fil~6,1 mb)

Geological Map Sheet Djursland 1:50 000 (1995): djursland_1995.pdf fil~2,6 Mb
Også DGU's kortserie nr. 51.
Kortbladsbeskrivelse i bogen " Djurslands geologi " fra 1997.

Geological Map Sheet Ulfborg 1:50 000 (1992): ulfborg_1992.pdf fil~1,4 Mb
Også i DGU's kortserie nr. 28

Geological Map Sheet Viborg 1:50 000 (1986): viborg_1986.pdf fil~1,7 Mb
Også i DGU's kortserie nr. 1

Four map sheets 1:200 000, together they cover the whole of Denmark:

Jordartskort over Danmark, Nordjylland, 1:200 000 (1989): nordjyl1989.pdf fil~1,4 Mb

Jordartskort over Danmark, Midtjylland, 1:200 000 (1989): midtjyl1989.pdf fil~2,1 Mb

Jordartskort over Danmark, Sydjylland og Fyn, 1:200 000 (1989): sydj_fyn1989.pdf fil~1,9 Mb

Jordartskort over Danmark, Sjælland, Øer og Bornholm, 1:200 000 (1989): sj_oer1989.pdf fil~2,1 Mb

Map sheets coming up:

Geological Map Sheet Stubbekøbing, 1:50 000: Print expected 2017 

Geological Map Sheet Hals 1:50 000: Print expected 2017

Geological Map Sheet Nakskov 1:50 000: Print expected

Geological Map Sheet Hadsten, 1:50 000: Print expected



Pictures of some of the most common surface sediments in Denmark:

ML = Moræneler - Glacialt
ML = Till, clayey - Glacial (Photo by P.R. Jakobsen) Link to enlarged picture pdf~330 KB
ds = smeltevandssand - glacialt
TS = Ferskvandssand - Senglacialt
DS = Meltwater sand - Glacial (Photo by H.J. Granat) Link to enlarged picture pdf~134 KB 
FT = Ferskvandstørv - Postglacialt
FT = Freshwater peat - Postglacial (Photo by P.R. Jakobsen) Link to enlarged picture pdf~285 KB
ES = Aeolian sand - Postglacial (Photo by H.J. Granat) Link to enlarged picture pdf~115 KB 

DG = Smeltevandsgrus - Glacialt
DG = Meltwater gravel - Glacial (Photo by P.R. Jakobsen) Link to enlarged picture pdf~275 KB
DL = Meltwater clay - Glacial (Photo by H.J. Granat) Link to enlarged picture pdf~112 KB 

Legend to all 70 defined surface sediments and surface sediment symbols together with other signatures on the surface sediment maps (pdf-fil~5,7 MB)


Background and purpose

The geology of the Danish surface has been systematically mapped by GEUS (named DGU before 1995) since 1888. The mapping is conducted on maps in scale 1:25.000 (before 1978 in scale 1:20.000). The information is gathered during field work, where sediment samples are taken with hand auger under the plow layer or other cultural layers with a sample spacing of 100 to 200 meters. Maximum depth of sediment samples are one meter. The samples are characterized in the field and the result is noted on a working map, together with lines between the different types of sediment. The field is digitized to produce a digital surface sediment maps which forms a geographical information system GIS. From the GIS geographical analysis and calculations are now possible. 

Jordprøver hentes op fra 1 meters dybde med håndspyd og jordarten noteres på feltkort Jordprøver hentes op fra 1 meters dybde med håndspyd og jordarten noteres på feltkort Feltkortet digitaliseres, redigeres, egdematches databaselinkes før kortet kan trykkes med en beskrivelse
Method from field mapping to a digitized and printed surface sediment map: Sediment samples are taken down to a depth of one meter with hand auger and the sediment type is noted on the field map; The field map is digitized, edited, egdematched and linked to a database before it is printed with a geological description.


Geological surface sediments 
The Danish surface sediments have different ages and are deposited in different geological environments. Age and environment form the basics of the overall differentiation. The characterization is based on a lithological description. That is the composition of the material of clay, sand, gravel, peat etc. The characterization is often conducted in connection with a landscape interpretation. In this way 52 different quaternary and 18 prequaternary surface sediments have been defined.

The different surface sediment types are denoted with a code which consists of one, two or in a few cases three letters: First letter states the genesis and age of the sediment; second letter the lithology. E.g. morainic clay is denoted ML (MoræneLer; clay is “ler” in Danish) and freshwater peat has the code FT (FerskvandsTørv; peat is “tørv” in Danish). One letter codes are used when you only know the lithology but not the age and/or the genesis of the sediment.



Procentvis fordeling af Danmarks jordarter i de 86%, der er kortlagt. Arealer med hav, søer og byer er trukket ud.
Percentage distribution of the Danish surface sediment types in the 88 % of the country that has been mapped. Areas cowered with sea, lakes and cities are taken out of the calculation.
Surface sediment symbol Procent of
mapped DK
ML = Till, claey - Glacial 39
DS = Meltwater sand - Glacial 17
TS = Meltwater sand - Lateglacial 10
FT = Freshwater peat - Postglacial 7
ES = Aeolian sand - Postglacial 5
HS = Marine sand - Postglacial 4
MS = Till, sandy - Glacial 3
FP = Freshwater gyttja - Postglacial 2
YS = Yoldia sand - Lateglacial 2
DG = Meltwater gravel - Glacial 2
FS = Freshwater sand - Postglacial 1
DL = Smeltevandsler - Glacial 1
HG = Marine gravel - Postglacial 1
HV = Marsh - Postglacial 1
HP = Marine gytjja - Postglacial 1
TG = Meltwater gravel - Lateglacial 1
Other 3
In 2015 88 % of the surface of Denmark was covered by the systematical geological mapping or characterized as lakes, cities or raw material pits. The geological maps are published as a series of map sheets with associated descriptions. From 1888 to 1979 the mapsheets and the map descriptions were publiceret in the DGU 1. series with the title "Geological map of Denmark, 1: 100.000. (The map sheet Løgstør from 1979 however in scale 1:50.000). From 1979 the surface sediment mapping is presented in the DGU and later from 1996 in GEUS map sheet series "Geological map of Denmark 1:50.000".

The previous mapped areas - digitized and on map sheets: Map suitable for print 0,3 MB​
Green = Mapped and digitized area; Pale orange = areas not yet mapped; Bluegreeen = Mapped area but not yet digitized and published; Red frames = Map sheets in the the printed DGU map sheet series published sinse 1986.


In 1998 all of the analog map sheets were digitized and published in a digital version: The Digital Geological Map of Denmark in scale 1:25.000. The digital map has been updated several times when a new part of Denmark was mapped by fieldwork. Latest in 2015 where parts of Eastern Himmerland from Limfjorden to the southern side of Mariager Fjord was added. The Digital Geological Map of Denmark 1:25.000 is for sale at GEUS. The geological surface map is also available in scale 200.000 both digital and as four printed map sheets. The analog geological map sheets in scale 1:200.000 are printed with nice colors and are suitable as posters to hang on your wall. Both the analog and the digital geological maps in scale 1:200.000 are for sale at GEUS.


The completion of the surface sediment mapping of eastern Denmark was celebrated in 2010 at Albuen, a peninsula on the west coast of Lolland. The celebration took place 117 years after the first map sheet was printed as Geological Map Sheet of Elsinore and Hillerod in 1893. Hereby was Bornholm, Zealand, Lolland, Falster, Moen, Fynen with islands and Eastern Jutland covered by the geological maps showing surface sediments.

The map sheet Stubbekøbing, which covers northern Falster, and the Nakskov map sheet from western Lolland are expected to be printed and published in 2017. The latest fieldwork concerned in the areas of eastern Himmerland and Kronjylland. The intension is to publish the Hals map sheet in 2017.

Geological mapping of Denmark