A Wooster Geologist in Helsinki

June 18th, 2009

I’m between geological field trips right now. I left Russia by train through Karelia to Helsinki, Finland. It was a remarkable trip through woods and villages, with the swampy environs of St. Petersburg giving way to higher and drier ground where ribs of granite occasionally showed. Next week I go to Spitsbergen in the Arctic to look at a Jurassic sequence for a few days, and then I meet two Wooster students, Palmer Shonk and Rob McConnell, and an Ohio State University paleontologist, Bill Ausich, in Estonia where we will work in the Silurian with our Estonian colleague Olev Vinn.

Helsinki is, of course, a highly cultured city with many attractions. I don’t want to minimize those, but since this is a geology blog, we must note the gorgeous granite mounds which dot the city.
helsinkigranite061809
They were polished smooth on their upper surfaces by Pleistocene (and Holocene) glaciers, which left classic striations showing the direction of ice movement. The Finnish Parliament building is in the background.
glacialstriations061809

Tomorrow I leave by train for the ancient city of Turku on the southwestern coast of Finland, and then the Aland Islands for a quick look. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

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