The low archipelago has not always been visible, since the great ice masses pressed the area below the sea during the last Ice Age. When the ice finally melted, the crust was released from its icy burden and could start the slow uplift.
In the beginning, the speed of the land uplift was very fast but at the present, the speed is eight millimeters per year. This means that the shorelines of the Kvarken World Heritage area get 150 football fields worth of new land each year! The changes in the scenery and in the locations of the shoreline can be seen during a lifetime of a human.
Like another planet
The Kvarken Archipelago is known for its rockiness. To the islanders, rock-strewn areas are a familiar part of the scenery, but other may have never seen anything like it and the sight is breathtaking.
Especially the stony grounds at the southern part of the World Heritage area can remind you of science fiction films. At least the scenery gave this feeling to a representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and he had sighed: “It’s like another planet”.
Can you spot the traces of the Ice Age in the terrain?
The Ice Age left behind also something else than the land uplift phenomenon. The base of the archipelago is smooth, old bedrock which has striae and grooves in places. These marks reveal which way the massive ice sheet was heading.
There are plenty visible of moraine formations and ridges in the terrain of the Kvarken Archipelago. The most typical moraine formations are De Geer or washboard moraines, ribbed moraine ridges and hummocky moraines, and teardrop-shaped drumlins. Although the moraine formations can be seen and explored in the terrain, they are most striking when surrounded by water. De Geer moraines are spectacular when viewed from the observation tower Saltkaret in Svedjehamn.