Earth from Space – Åland Islands

Landsat 7 image of the Åland Islands

The Åland Islands lie between Sweden and Finland.

THE ÅLAND ISLANDS (also known as the Aaland Islands) lie at the southern end of the Gulf of Bothnia, between Sweden and Finland. The archipelago consists of several large islands and roughly 6,500 small isles, many of them too small for human habitation.

Åland vegetation is a combination of pine and deciduous forest, meadows, and farmed fields. On nearly every island, however, the region’s characteristic red rapakivi granite appears.

Modern residents of Åland cut and use the granite in buildings and pavement, but much earlier, ice sculpted these rocks. About 20,000 years ago, a massive ice sheet stretched over Scandinavia and the Gulf of Bothnia, and glacial action gradually wore the granite smooth.

The granite in this region is actually far older than the glaciers that smoothed its surface, having formed in the Proterozoic Era. The rapakivi was deposited tens of millions of years before the first amphibians crawled out of water and onto land, and hundreds of millions of years before the first dinosaurs evolved.

NASA Earth Observatory Landsat 7 image created by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Landsat data provided by the United States Geological Survey. Text adapted from information issued by Michon Scott.

Get SpaceInfo.com.au daily updates by RSS or email! Click the RSS Feed link at the top right-hand corner of this page, and then save the RSS Feed page to your bookmarks. Or, enter your email address (privacy assured) and we’ll send you daily updates. Or follow us on Twitter, @spaceinfo_oz

Like this story? Please share or recommend it…

Filed Under: Earth from SpaceFeatured storiesNews Archive

Tags:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.