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Saimaa

Saimaa
View from Joutseno town in western direction.
Location southeastern Finland
Coordinates
Primary outflows Vuoksi River, Saimaa Canal
Basin countries Finland
Surface area 4,400 km2 (1,700 sq mi) total
(1,377 km2 (532 sq mi) largest basin)
Average depth 17 m (56 ft)
Max. depth 82 m (269 ft)
Water volume 36 km3 (8.6 cu mi)
Shore length1 13,700 km (8,500 mi)
Surface elevation 76 m (249 ft)
Islands 3507
Settlements Lappeenranta, Imatra, Savonlinna, Mikkeli, Joensuu
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Saimaa is a lake in southeastern Finland. At approximately 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi), it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth largest natural freshwater lake in Europe. It was formed by glacial melting at the end of the Ice Age. Major towns on the lakeshore include Lappeenranta, Imatra, Savonlinna, Mikkeli, Varkaus, and Joensuu. The Vuoksi River flows from Saimaa to Lake Ladoga. Most of the lake is spotted with islands, and narrow canals divide the lake in many parts, each having their own names (major basins include Suur-Saimaa, Orivesi, Puruvesi, Haukivesi, Yövesi, Pihlajavesi, and Pyhäselkä).

Hietasaari island

In places in the Saimaa basin (an area larger than the lake), "there is more shoreline here per unit of area than anywhere else in the world, the total length being nearly 15,000 kilometres (9,300 mi). The number of islands in the region, 14,000, also shows what a maze of detail the system is."[1]

The Gulf of Finland. Other canals connect Saimaa to smaller lakes in Eastern Finland and form a network of waterways. These waterways are mainly used to transport wood, minerals, metals, pulp and other cargo, but also tourists use the waterways.

An endangered freshwater seal, the Saimaa Ringed Seal, lives only at Saimaa. Another of the lake's endangered species is the Saimaa salmon.[2]

About 6000 year ago, ancient Lake Saimaa, estimated to cover nearly 9000 km2 at the time, was abruptly discharged through a new outlet. The event created thousands of square kilometres of new residual wetlands.[3] Following this event, the region saw a population maximum in the decades following only to later return to an ecological development towards old boreal conifer forests which saw a decline in population.

Due to its rich, easily accessible asbestos deposits, the shores of the lake are the most probable origin of asbestos-ceramic, a type of pottery made between c. 1900 BC – 200 AD.

Saimaa highlighted on a satellite photo, Gulf of Finland at the bottom, Lake Ladoga on the right. The black line is the Russo-Finnish border.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Hamalainen, Arto (November 2001). "Saimaa – Finland's largest lake". Virtual Finland. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. 
  2. ^ McClane, A.J. (April 1973). "Fishing: The Missing Link". Field & Stream. LXXVII (12): 144. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Markku Oinonen et al. (2014) Event reconstruction through Bayesian chronology: Massive mid-Holocene lake-burst triggered large-scale ecological and cultural change; url=http://hol.sagepub.com/content/24/11/1419.abstract

External links

  • www.ymparisto.fi – Saimaa, nimet ja rajaukset (Finnish)
  • Saimaa – the heart of Finnish lakeland, from thisisFinland website
  • Awarded "EDEN – European Destinations of Excellence" non traditional tourist destination 2010


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