In the east of the Republic of Karelia, geologists have discovered a rare natural landmark – the site of a powerful ancient earthquake. Scientists from the Institute of Geology of the Karelian Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences have determined that the paleoseismic dislocation was formed as a result of strong fluctuations of the Earth’s crust after the glacier retreated and the glacial load was removed. They call for this unique place to be recognized as a specially protected natural area.
Residents of the village of Kubovo informed scientists about the unusual place. They paid attention to natural piles of large granite blocks in the valley of the Vodla River. Interest in this phenomenon led to the organization of a scientific expedition.
Paleoseismodislocations, traces of powerful earthquakes, can be found in other areas of Karelia. They are part of the Fennoscandinavian Shield and represent rock fractures caused by the uplift of the Earth’s crust. However, this paleoseismic dislocation is the most southeastern in the Karelian part of the shield and the only one in the Pudozhsky district of the republic. Oleg Lavrov, head of the Museum of Precambrian Geology at the Karelian Geological Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, notes that the magnitude of the earthquake could reach at least 8 MSK. In addition, other, smaller rock displacements were detected in the vicinity.
One of the main arguments in favor of the fact that the earthquake occurred after the glacier retreated are the smoothed rock surfaces and sharp, young edges of the ruptures. This indicates that the ground began to shake after the glacial load was removed.
The site where the ancient earthquake was discovered is in the Vodla River valley. Archaeological finds were previously found here and rare plant species grow here. In addition, the Padun waterfall is located in the valley. All these factors require special protection status, scientists believe.
The site of a powerful ancient earthquake in the east of Karelia has become an object of interest not only for geologists, but also for ecologists and nature conservationists. They call for giving this area the status of a specially protected natural area to preserve unique natural and historical objects, as well as to conduct further research.