Geological structure and relief

Visiting Karelia, a tourist intends seeing the land of forests, lakes and hills. There is a similar stock phrase about the nature of Valaam island. Very often they are associated with wild and severe mountains, coming up from the bottom of Ladoga lake. Indeed, the island looks like this from the shipboard, but after a closer acquaintance you’ll see the diversity of its nature and landscapes.

The archipelago is a group of separate blocks of crystalline base, which rises for tens of meters above the water in northwest and west parts of Valaam and come underwater in its southeast and east parts. The islands are made up of diabase. Small and medium islands of the archipelago are for 15-20 meters above the water and have steep and abrupt shores. The same islands form groups of Baevskie and Krestovye islands. Low islands, which rise for 10-15 meters above the water, are surrounded with underwater shoals. These islands are located near east and southeast shores of the main island. Tectonic structure of the island also reveals in its relief. The northwest shore of the archipelago is indented and has lots of bays, which separate Skitsky island from Valaam by a system of bays 2.5 km long and 200 meters wide. The northwest part of the archipelago is higher than the southeast and east ones. There is a vast lowering in the center of Valaam island to the south from Sisjarvi lake. Absolute altitude here is less than 10 meters above the sea. Due to this lowering, the relief of the island is of a cup shape. There are 6 elevated blocs of the foundation in the northwest part of the island. Thir altitudes are more than 30 meters above the sea level. Four of them are called "mountain" – the first one is Beloskitskaya (51.8 m), the second – Fedorovskaya (40.9), the third – Popova (35) and the last one – Tchernaya (38.1). These mountains have flat peaks, steep north and northwest shores and gentle south and east shores. One can have a wonderful view of the island from the top of Tchernaya mountain. There is a thin pinery on the top of Beloskitskaya mountain.

The territory to the south of the central lowering can be divided into several nature complexes. The first one is located to the northwest and to the south from Leshevoe (Glukhoe) lake. It is an elevated massif, which is a bit lopsided to the inland lake. This shore of ladoga is high and steep, planted with fir and birch trees. To the east of Leshevoe lake there is Zheleznaya mountain with long and gentle slopes. The east shore is formed of its eastern slopes. This shore is low with lots of deep break-ups. Lichen woods alternate here with bilberry. Famous "sheep’s foreheads" are located right here. Finally, in the southeast part of the island several eminencies surround Krestovoe lake and Divnaya bay. Here the slopes are steep.

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