Vottovaara Mountain in Karelia, Russia

October 04, 2010

: Timur Repin 
Summary Author: Timur Repin; Jim Foster

The photo above shows Vottovaara "Mountain" in the west Karelia hills of the Karelia region of Russia. This strange land, bordering Finland, was formed about 10,000 years ago as glacial ice retreated leaving behind a scraped and boulder strewn landscape. As the huge ice masses melted away the surface began to rebound (isostacy). It's still rising yet the highest point is only 1,368 feet (417 m) above sea level. Portions of the mountain were evidently considered sacred to the Saami people. Persistent winds, shallow sometimes swampy soil and lightning-induced fires have ensured that this land remains desolate and quite different in character than other parts of Karelia. Photo taken on September 6, 2010.