Estonia: forests

Nature holiday in Estonia that never fails to amaze: geological miracles [2]

It should also be noted that Estonia’s low population density offers nature-loving adventurers plenty of space to themselves. The mobile telephone and internet reception found all over the country enables communication with the rest of the world in the most remote locations: isolated beaches or deep in the forest.

Geological miracles

The symbol of northern Estonia and perhaps even of all Estonian nature is the high limestone coastal bank with its beautiful waterfalls. The bank stretches from the Swedish island of Oland more than a thousand kilometers to Russia’s Lake Ladoga. This miracle is also a candidate for UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

While the height of slate klint in Oland measures only 10 meters, the Ontika bank on Estonia’s northern coast rises at places to 56 meters. The highest falls in the bank are located in Valaste. From the viewing platform here, scenic strata layers are also visible. The slate bank is an open window to the earth’s 45 billion-year-old geological history.

Especially during the spring and autumn high water periods, but also during other seasons, the eight-meter-high Jagala waterfall offers a spectacular view.

The slate ground of north Estonia has eroded to form a karst that resembles Swiss cheese. The largest area of karst is on the Tuhala Geological Reserve. Tuhala has become famous for its witches’ well and its rivers which have carved underground riverbeds. During the high-water periods of spring and autumn, the underground rivers rise and cause the witches’ well to “boil” over with water. On some days, 100 liters of water per second splash out of the well. According to legend, this is caused by witches beating themselves with leafy twigs in a sauna deep in the well. Actually, the rare spectacle is caused by the well’s alignment with an underground river and water escaping through a slate crack.

The coast of northern Estonia is also known for its giant boulders left behind 10,000 years ago by the retreating ice layer from the Scandinavian archipelago.

The biggest boulder in all of what once was northern Europe’s ice field is Estonia’s Ehalkivi boulder. It can be seen near the city of Kunda on the Letipea cape. The circumference of this rock in the shallow sea is almost 50 meters, so it would take a party of 40 to surround the rock by joining hands. The boulder, worn round over time, weighs over 2,400 tons.

The ice age brought boulders to Estonia, but it also served to design the general terrain according to its taste. Another masterpiece of ice is one of the most beautiful as well as one of the highest places in the Baltic, the hill country of Southern Estonia. Here, one round-shaped hill follows another, some covered with fields and others with forest or meadow, blue lakes and spectacular valleys in their midst. This idyllic landscape is the Karula National Park.

The highest peak in the Baltics is Suur Munamägi (literally “Big Egg Hill”), which is 318 meters above sea level in the Haanja uplands. Unlike northern Estonia, red sandstone is the bedrock in this part of the country. It can be seen in high bluffs in the local river valleys, the most imposing near the banks of the Ahja river in Taevaskoja and the Härma wall at the Piusa river.

Estonia is more densely covered in meteorite craters than anywhere else in the world. As far as can be determined, six cosmic rocks have fallen on the country’s 45,227 square-kilometer territory. One of them, formed about 7,500 years ago, is the Kaali field of meteorite craters. It is Estonia’s rarest natural memorial and also the most imposing crater group in the whole of the Eurasian continent. Its largest crater measures 110 meters in diameter and 16 meters deep.

Spread the love