Areas shaped by the continental ice sheet
The last Ice Age in Finland was approximately 25,000 years ago, when the bedrock was covered by a layer of ice about 2 – 3 kilometres thick. The slowly flowing continental ice sheet eroded the land beneath it. Today’s land formations in Rokua Geopark are largely shaped by the Ice Age. Below the continental ice sheet, dense layers of sandy moraine were created, out of which, in the Rokua Geopark area, elongated ridges known as drumlins grew up in the direction of the movement of the glacier. Moraine ridges formed in the area at the edge of the glacier, which now stand out as islands in the middle of watercourses. As it moved, the glacier also detached hundreds of tonnes of heavy boulders from the rock, which were dragged to different parts of Rokua Geopark as erratic boulders.
The Ice Age left a lot to see in its wake!
Elongated drumlins following the flow of the ice sheet are particularly evident on the northern side of Lake Oulujärvi. You can find them easily on a map, but on the ground identifying them can be a challenge due to their gentle contours. The moraine ridges formed on the edge of the glacial area can be seen as islands, e.g. from the bridge to Manamansalo. The large erratic boulders transported by the glacier can be seen at Väätäjänniemi in Vaala and beside the Emperor’s Road in Vaala. There is an amazing granite erratic in Väätäjänniemi, with an estimated weight of 500 tonnes. It has about the same dimensions as a small house. On the island of Manamansalo several erratic boulders carried by the ancient ice rise up out of the water on the shore at Kultahiekat.