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Saimaa Global Geopark(new 2021)

The Geopark takes its name from Lake Saimaa, the largest lake in Finland, and 4th largest lake in Europe. Situated in southeast Finland, south of the Vuoksi water system, the Geopark spans an altitude of about 20 to 180 metres above sea level. One third of its surface area of 6,063 km² is water, dotted with thousands of islands, with a combined shoreline of over 8,000 kilometres. Saimaa’s rock foundation points to the area’s ancient past when it was part of the seabed some 1,900 million years ago. The bedrock was shaped over time as the sea receded, mountain-folding took place, and the stony masses crystallized into gneisses and granites. The ancient bedrock was further impacted by the ice age and land uplift which continues today. The area’s soil was formed over the last 20,000 years as a result of ice sheet erosion. Since then, a number of unique and endangered species, including the Saimaa ringed seal and landlocked salmon, became isolated in the area. Impressive rock paintings on the shores of the lake indicate human presence since the Stone Age. The Geopark's location and features permit the visitor to observe key types of Finnish Lake District ice lobe formations.