Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A rocky slope

Last week we spent a couple of days at a summer cottage, in fact at that of my ex-husbands. He likes the place to be useful and even we are welcome to stay there when it is not otherwise occupied. So we thought we deserved a short break before summer really turns to autumn and made the three-hour drive to the lake district in Central Finland.

Close by the place is a piece of land that used to be forest but the timber has been harvested some years ago leaving a rocky uphill messed up by some kind of a forestry vehicle. The slope is so full of large rocks and stones of all sizes and shapes that it must have been quite a piece of machinery to be able even to move there.

As the day was rather nice, we climbed the clearfell hill to check whether there would be anything healthy and tasty to pick there. We did find lots of lingonberries (also called cowberries) and some big blueberries. However, we had to make a second visit for the berries because on the first climb I just couldn’t concentrate on anything else but the magnificent rocks and the imposing formations nature had created on them during the hundreds of millions of years it must have taken to shape them.

There were stripes, black on red as the first photo above but more often red or white on black or grey.

Some rocks had multiple stripes, sometimes resembling the ones on the rock by the lake I showed in an earlier post.

Some were full of dense stripes like two shades of paint that hadn’t been mixed properly yet and some had curvy stripes bearing a likeness to a hieroglyph.

There was even one large rather square spaceship-like rock with a surface of some 3 m x 3 m and a height of a metre or so that was patched in uneven areas of black and grey. Two parallel stripes in white pierced the rock at one side and another two in black were slightly elevated from the surface. 

Some rocks, on the other hand, had a somewhat even surface that was patched, such as the one below resembling the side of a seal. Several of this type are found by the cottage, too.

Indeed, many of the rocks started to look like a creature of some sort to me. These two thin things seemed to have a face or eyes at least.

Curiously – as water is by no means my element – most often I saw in them  some resemblance to something surfacing from the ocean.

'Mom, wake up',says the baby seal.

A dolphin carrying something on its back.

The head of a porpoise (pyöriäinen). Even some teeth are visible.

The head of a shark.

The head of a sperm whale (kaskelotti).
Wouldn’t it be great to know a few things about how and when these rocks were formed and particularly what they are called? Granite, gneiss but what else? If they taught us anything about this at school I have forgotten all about the details decades ago.

Our ancestors believed that places like this with great amounts of large rocks scattered around had come into existence when giants had thrown down a few good handfuls of rocks. By the look of it, the rocks must have been smashed and brought there by ice sheets during the Ice Age when our tens of thousands of lakes were also formed. Must devote a moment or two to geology one of these days.

'The Matterhorn'.

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