Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Strange Rocks of Vottovaara

Twenty km south-east of the village of Sukkajärvi, in the west Karelia hills of the Karelia region of Russia, is the mountain of Vottovaara. This region was once covered by a huge ice sheet, several kilometers thick. About 10,000 years ago as the glacial ice retreated, it left behind a scraped and boulder strewn landscape with strange rocky features. One of the most striking feature at Vottovaara are its balancing stones, consisting of a large boulder propped up by smaller stones. Another interesting rock looks like a flight of stairs, while another one looks like a precisely cut pool. Persistent winds, stunted pine trees growing on the shallow and sometimes swampy soil, and lightning-induced fires have given this land a character quite different from other parts of Karelia.
While definitely unique and unnatural to the untrained eye, retreating glaciers are known to sculpt amazing shapes and grooves, and leave rocks (known as glacial erratics) at unusual places and circumstances. Some people still believe these rocks were shaped and placed by human hands. Theories of the occult are also abound. The indigenous Sami people consider the mountain sacred. They call these boulders “sieds” and worship them.

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