Saimaa Geopark’s natural and cultural site Varkaantaipale canal is located in Southern Savonia on the waterway from Suur-Saimaa to Mikkeli. The 416-meter-long and about 9-meter-wide canal was built between 1874 and 1877 and excavated mainly into the rock. More than a hundred workers, 24 of whom were stonemasons, were involved in building the canal. There are a few excavated rock walls at the edges of the canal.

More information about the Varkaantaipale canal can be found in the service window of the Finnish Heritage Agency’s cultural environment (in Finnish) and in the South Savo cultural heritage database (in Finnish)

The main type of rock in the canal rock cuts is grayish granodiorite, the main minerals of which are plagioclase and quartz. In addition, small amounts of potassium feldspar and biotite are present. The rock has crystallized from magma deep in the earth’s crust in connection with mountain-folding process about 1,889 to 1,887 million years ago. In addition to granodiorite boulders, in the embankments of the canal have also been used pegmatite-granite boulders, which are typical for the area. The naturally preserved parts of the bedrock bordering the canal have grooved roche moutonnées that have had their gently curved and smoothed shape during the last ice age as the continental ice sheet flowed over the area.

You can also find information about the Varkaantaipale canal here


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Image: city of Mikkeli