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Söderfjärden, Cambrian impact crater in western Finland by Jouko Vanne

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Taken by
Jouko Vanne Jouko Vanne
Explore score
1
Size
0.07 Gigapixels
Views
2211
Date added
Oct 11, 2010
Date taken
Oct 11, 2010
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Description

The Söderfjärden plain is the result of a meteorite impact about 520 million years ago. Its meteorite edges are well preserved. The arial view of the crater and its surrounding rim has fascinated many spectators. "The most beautiful meteorite crater in Finland" has a diameter of about 4 miles and is more than 300 meters deep. It is filled with young sediments of different rocks, e.g. Cambrian sandstone. There are ten other places in Finland known to have traces of meteorite impacts, but they are asymmetric waterfilled lakes not appearing much like craters now. Söderfjärden is a unique place on earth, since only 176 meteorite impacts have been discovered.

On Söderfjärden we can follow the history of earth from prehistoric times to our age. During millions of years continents have drifted, Söderfjärden has crossed the equator at least twice. During the unthinkable long history of the crater, life on earth has developed from simple organisms to the nature of today. In cores from strata under Söderfjärden very small fossils of invertebrates have been found, e.g. fragments of trilobites and brachiopods. This gives us a clue of how life developed.

The sediments deep in the crater show traces of several Ice Periods. Since the latest Ice Period the land has been rising from of the sea, initially about 10 meters per decade and today about 80 cm per century. Söderfjärden gives us data about the development during more than 4000 years.
On the north rims of the crater, on the hill Öjberget findings have been found from the Stone age, about 4000 years ago. A hut ground on another place in Sundom has been digged out and the age of it determined to the Iron Age, about 2000 years ago. The diggings tell us about a fishers' dwelling site far out in the western sea.
Signs of seine fishing have been noticed in the bay that slowly turned shallow in the Middle Ages. During the passing centuries the importance of fishing decreased, cultivation and pasturage in the marshlands increased. Until the last century arrowgrass and sedge were gathered as coarse-fodder. Broad zones of reeds gave roofs for the barns and the blossom left after the puff leaves) became the contents in pillows. At the end of the 18th century a drainage of the bay became more urgent.

In the beginning of the 19th century Söderfjärden was drained in a giant drainage project, which was the largest in the Northern Europe at that time. In spite of conflicts between landowners in the villages of Solf and Sundom, the project was completed. The central ditch "Riddardiket" was made deeper and kilometers of ditches were dug by hand in slippery clay. The Parliament passed a law "Lex Söderfjärden" to guarantee the drainage. The work was completed in 1927 and the villages next to Söderfjärden received large additional land for cultivation. The cultivation of the virgin land began.
More barns were built. Söderfjärden became the land of barns. At their most numerous, the barns numbered 3,000 in the 1940's. Only a few barns still exist today (www.sundom.fi Will open in a new tab or window/).
See also: www.flickr.com/photos/65726513@N00/4321492009 Will open in a new tab or window/ and www.maanmittauslaitos.fi/kartat/laserkeilausaineistot/laserkeilaamalla-tuotetaan-uutta-korkeusmallia Will open in a new tab or window


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