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3. The Geology of the Västervik Area

3.3 Quaternary Glaciomorphology

The surface of Scandinavia has been strongly formed by the last Ice Age (Weichselian Glaciation). The most characteristic feature in the Västervik area is the topography formed by glaciation. Rounded rock formations are some of the most striking occurrences within the landscape. They are relicts of resistant bedrock with a gentle abraded slope, which is probably caused by ice movement, and a rough "tail" due to the action of plucking where ice has attached to the rock and pulled rock fragments away. These hills are called roche moutonnée or "sheep rocks". The size varies from several 10 m2 to some 100 m2 and their main strike direction is NW-SE to NNW-SSE. The tops of these sheep rocks are often marked with striations caused by rock fragments carried with the glaciers. Big rock fragments are called erratic blocks. They can reach a size of several meters and are distributed within the whole area.

Around Västervik parts of an esker can be found (cf. loc. 7). Eskers are formed as long, flat ridges. They run nearly parallel to the direction of ice movement. Eskers are built from well-sorted gravel, which was deposited by melt water streams flowing in tunnels along the bottom of a melting glacier.

Quaternary sediments, like sand and gravel, and marshes are concentrated in vales and valleys. Some areas are favored for agricultural use whereas gravel and boulders are used as building material. During the time of glaciation large volumes of accumulated ice caused an isostatic depression. This was inverted at the end of the glacial stage with regression of the glaciers and caused isostatic uplift of Scandinavia which still lasts till this day. One effect of this uplifting is the typical coastline called "Swedisch Schären" consisting of thousands of smaller and bigger islands. They are part of the roche moutonnée topography.

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