The lithogenic base of natural landscape in Vaiguva area

Ieva Švarcaitė

After the glaciers of the Last Glaciation retreated finally northwards to Scandinavia, the lithogenic base of the Vaiguva area had been forming under the direct influence of climatic factors, because there were no biogenic landscape components (flora, fauna and soil) there, which appeared during later processes. That period in the area of Vaiguva was notable for natural environment without human beings. There had been no environmental problems, and natural development of the environment took place.

With the glaciers melting, running water created hills varying in height, it carved hollows and valleys in the area discussed, where water still lies in the deeper parts even now. So a landscape mosaic in the area was being formed over long time.

The investigations showed that the erosion caused by historical activity of humans in the area of Vaiguva changed not only the soil characteristics but also the relief forms: the hills became lower and flatter, human caused terraces were formed on the slopes, accumulative soil fans rich in charcoal appeared at the hill bottoms, the hollows among the hills became smaller and higher lying, the shape of hills changed, their relative height decreased, and moreover, a new type of sediments, i.e., soil diluvium, was formed.

Applying the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, a newly created method for determination of charcoal age has enabled to reveal the start and further course of the anthropogenisation of the Vaiguva area, as well as evaluate the suitability of a certain landscape site for economic activities of a certain type. Finally, a landscape map with a scale of 1:120 000 have been created for the first time to be used for opting environment protection measures.