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Sweden, Land and Resources

Lake Vanern, Kjolen Mountains, continental ice sheet, Scandinavian Peninsula, Gulf of Bothnia

The extreme distance from north to south in Sweden is about 1,575 km (about 980 mi), and from east to west about 500 km (about 310 mi). The coastline totals about 3,220 km (about 2,000 mi) in length. Sweden may be divided into six topographical regions. In the northwestern section are extensions of the Kjolen Mountains, which form part of the boundary with Norway. The highest point in the range, and the highest point in Sweden, is atop Mount Kebnekaise (2,111 m/6,926 ft). To the east of the mountains is a long plateau, which slopes east to a coastal plain bordering the Gulf of Bothnia. The mountains of northern Sweden are the source of many rivers, which flow southeast to the Gulf of Bothnia. These rivers, which often have elongated lakes and a number of falls and rapids, constitute a valuable source of waterpower. The principal rivers are the Angermanalven, Dalalven, Trysilelva, Ume alven, and Tornealven.

In south central Sweden is a lowland with many lakes, including the largest lakes in the country, Lake Vanern and Lake Vattern. An upland region, known as the Smaland highlands, is located south of the lowland. The plains of Skane occupy the southeastern tip of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The lowest elevation point is sea level along the coast.

Sweden is part of the Fennoscandian Shield, which extends over part of northern Europe. The rocks, except those in the northwest, are primarily ancient Precambrian granites, schists, and gneisses. Younger metamorphic rocks are characteristic of the northern part of the country. Sedimentary rocks are found in the southern Skane plains and in the islands of Gotland and Oland. The present topography of Sweden was formed largely by a continental ice sheet, which receded about 8,000 years ago. The mountains, except for several of the highest peaks, were rounded by glaciation. The ice sheet scraped out deep valleys and created numerous glacial lakes. Ridges of rock, gravel, sand, and clay were deposited in many places by the retreating ice. Glacial seas left fertile marine clay soils in the south and in the central lake area. Some permanent ice fields still remain in the high mountain regions.

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Article key phrases:

Lake Vanern, Kjolen Mountains, continental ice sheet, Scandinavian Peninsula, Gulf of Bothnia, Ridges of rock, schists, largest lakes, Sedimentary rocks, glaciation, highest peaks, Oland, lowland, rapids, highest point, sea level, northern Europe, mountains, gravel, extensions, boundary, Norway, northwest, sand, coast, places, east, range, country, length, years


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