Instrumental neutron activation analysis has been applied for the determination of up to 40 elements in waters from eleven Norwegian rivers. In order to represent the composition of an average river in the region of Norway and possibly the greater part of the Scandinavian peninsula, weighted mean values are calculated on the basis of geometric mean values and discharge of the individual rivers. Factor analysis shows that Cambro-Silurian sedimentary and vulcanic rocks influence the water composition considerably compared to Precambrian gneisses and granites. An influence of airborne supply is evident in coastal areas. In addition ore deposits are important for Zn and associated elements.

Comparison with literature data from Sweden shows good agreement for the elements concerned. The present values concerning alkalies, alkaline earths and halogens are, however, significantly lower than the estimated “world averages”. This is probably due to a low abundance of marine deposits and sedimentary rocks in Scandinavia. Low values are also found for elements which are often associated with particulate matter (Fe, Al, V, Mo, As, Sb, Th, U), while the values obtained for rare earths (La, Ce, Sm) and some additional elements (Sc, Mn, Au) are significantly higher than the estimated “world averages”.