Geological formations

Geological formations refer to natural formations and structures in the bedrock and soil, usually created by extremely slow geological processes of varying age. From a human time perspective, geological formations can be considered permanent and unique parts of geological history.

Geological formations, such as potholes or igneous rock dykes in bedrock, can be small and easy to discern within the natural environment. In the case of larger formations and structures, such as extensive folded rock-structures or series of eskers, only part of the feature can be glimpsed in the landscape.

Tervolan Luppovaaran kivikkoa
Photo: Lying at the foot of the 2,200 million year old quartzite in Luppovaara, Tervola, the rocky shoreline of the Ancylus Lake, was formed only 10,000 years ago and can therefore be considered young in geological terms. © Jukka Husa, SYKE.

The grounds of the living environment

Geological factors related to the soil and bedrock influence the region's vegetation, through which they also affect other biota. People often consider high rocky outcrops and eskers to form part of a beautiful environment and landscape. In addition, bedrock and soil formations are of recreational and aesthetic value and are important to archaeology and cultural history.

The geological characteristics of bedrock and soil are important to housing, business and culture. Geological formations are major sources of energy and raw material, which must be used sustainably.

In Finland, protection of geological formations is primarily based on the Nature Conservation Act and Land Extraction Act. Small-scale geological sites have been preserved as natural monuments under the Nature Conservation Act.

To study and secure geodiversity, the environmental administration has inventoried and evaluated geological formations together with expert institutions. Valuable esker sites were placed under the National Esker Conservation Programme by a government resolution in 1984. Rock sites, small-scale sites in bedrock, moraine formations and aeolian and shore deposits which are valuable in terms of nature and landscape conservation, have been inventoried at national level since the 1990s. Inventory of stone and block field types began in 2011, in the form of co-operation between the Geological Survey of Finland and the Finnish Environment Institute.

More information

Environment Counsellor Juhani Gustafsson, Ministry of the Environment,

Senior researcher Jukka Husa, Finnish Environment Institute,



Published 2013-05-14 at 10:55, updated 2020-12-04 at 11:52