High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago

Travel Guide Europe Scandinavia High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago

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Introduction

The High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Kvarken Archipelago (Finland) and the High Coast (Sweden) are situated in the Gulf of Bothnia, a northern extension of the Baltic Sea. The 5,600 islands of the Kvarken Archipelago feature unusual ridged washboard moraines, ‘De Geer moraines’, formed by the melting of the continental ice sheet, 10,000 to 24,000 years ago. The Archipelago is continuously rising from the sea in a process of rapid glacio-isostatic uplift, whereby the land, previously weighed down under the weight of a glacier, lifts at rates that are among the highest in the world. As a consequence islands appear and unite, peninsulas expand, and lakes evolve from bays and develop into marshes and peat fens. The High Coast has also been largely shaped by the combined processes of glaciation, glacial retreat and the emergence of new land from the sea. Since the last retreat of the ice from the High Coast 9,600 years ago, the uplift has been in the order of 285 metres which is the highest known ''rebound''. The site affords outstanding opportunities for the understanding of the important processes that formed the glaciated and land uplift areas of the Earth''s surface.

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Geography

The steep High Coast and the flat Kvarken Archipelago (the low coast) are topographical opposites. Together they serve as a unique example of ongoing geological and biological processes and ecosystem development in time and space.

The distance between the areas is 150 kilometres and consists of 7,000 skerries and islets. The land rises by 8-8.5 mm annually and creates about 1 km2 new land every year. With this rate the land uplift will create a permanent gateway over the Kvarken in about 2,500 years.

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Sights and Activities

Events and Festivals

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Eat/Drink

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This is version 3. Last edited at 8:36 on Feb 2, 16 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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