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Valaam Archipelago

Valaam open-air museum

Valaam open-air museum

The total area of the group islands located in northern part of Ladoga lake, 40 km from a Sortavala, makes more than fifty islands is thirty-six square kilometres. The Valaam archipelago includes islands of Valaam, Skitsky, Predtechensky, Nikonovsky, Devichy, Yemelianovskie, Granitny, Lembach, Sosnovy, etc. Islands of Valaam archipelago are formed as a result of block movements of the ancient crystal base of the Ladoga kettle. Diabases composing the islands are a part of the huge geological body stretched latitudinal from the vicinities of Priozersk (the Leningrad region) to the West up to the settlement of Salmi on Valaam. Sandy-loam deposits are widely presented.

Valaam open-air museum

Valaam open-air museum

In the northwest of Valaam archipelago there are a few upstanding blocks of the basal complex with elevation marks higher than 30 meters, called by 'mountains' (Beloskitskaya, Fedorovskaya, Chernaya, Popova, Maslyanaya). The Valaam archipelago is notable for its special climat conditions: the highest in Karelia parameter of solar light, higher winter temperatures in comparison with the coast area, frequent thawing weather in winter, extremely rare summer ground frosts and hailstorms, long autumn period, etc. On the archipelago the following soil types are presented: raw soils, podbours, coarse humus brown soils, podzolic soils, podsolic bog soils, surface-eluvial-gley soils, high moor soils, black bog soils, man-made soils.

Landscapes of Valaam are attributed, according to the classification of forest landscapes, to spruce and pine-tree forests of the Depression of Ladoga Lake of mid-taiga sub-zone. All forest features of the zone are characteristic to landscapes of the Valaam archopelago. There are comparatively few birch stands, and almost no aspen stands. Differential characteristic of islands is relatively wide-spread occurence of sticky alder forests andn stands of wood species: Siberian larch (Larix sibirica), Siberian fir (Abies sibirica), Siberian stone pine (Pinus sibirica), English oak (Quercus pedunculata), large-leaved linden (Tilia platyphyllos), rough-bark poplar (Populus balsamifera), European ash (Fraxinus excelsior), etc. In 2000 within the Valaam archipelago there has been formed the Valaam Archipelago nature park.

R. Antonova, S. Potakhin
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Created: May 22, 2009. Last updated: July 9, 2009.
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