Salmivaara Science Trail

Salmivaara Science Trail follows a short, uphill trail, and offers a nice view of Kilpisjärvi village.

 On your way up, you will learn about the history of Kilpisjärvi, about the fish in the lake, and how the climate in Kilpisjärvi is changing, and you will also discover the special geology of the surrounding fells.

Salmivaara Science Trail

Below you will see a glimpse of the content of the Salmivaara Science Trail. You can find more content in the Science Trail App.

Climate vs. weather

Climate” or “weather”?

Weather is the physical situation of the present atmosphere and the changes that are taking place within the next few hours and up to a few days. It is described by temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation and cloud cover. Climate, on the other hand, is the weather conditions for a particular location averaged over 30 years. A short term event, such as one long and cold winter or one cold summer, is not necessarily a marker for climate change, instead the average needs to be changed. Rather, the average conditions must change.

History of Kilpisjärvi

New village on old lands

Kilpisjärvi Village is very young, but the area has a millennia-long history of human habitation ever since Stone Age times. The oldest known human activities in the Kilpisjärvi area extend back about 6500 years. These were found at a Stone Age habitation site just south of Salmivaara. The history of Iron Age land use connected to the history of the area’s reindeer-herding Sámi people is known from numerous sites stretching from at least 1000 AD to the 20th century. Reindeer herding and mobile pastoralism seem to have arrived in Finland through the Kilpisjärvi area, and nomadic reindeer pastoralism also lasted the longest here, until the 1960s.

Living geology

Mountain formation

Congratulations on reaching the top of Salmivaara. You are now rewarded with a wonderful view of Mount Saana, and of Pikku and Iso Malla on the other side of Lake Kilpisjärvi. Notice the difference in landscape: the mountains in the background and the rolling hills in the foreground. What you see here is the mountain front of the old Caledonian Mountains, which was formed 420 million years ago. During this time, hundreds of one-metre-thick piles of rocks were thrust by plate-tectonic movements — from the northwest towards the southeast — over much older rocks, for tens of kilometres. The old mountain front can be traced across Scandinavia from Kilpisjärvi all the way down to southern Norway.

Listen to Kilpisjärvi Science Trails webinar and get an overview into the geological history of the Kilpisjärvi area.

The fish community of Lake Kilpisjärvi

Lake Kilpisjärvi is a deep and clear-water lake. The fish community is composed of eight native species that have spread to the lake after the last ice age, when the continental ice retreated to the Swedish mountains. Most of these fish species are expected to have arrived from the east, following the edge of the melting continental ice.

Whitefish is the most abundant fish species in Lake Kilpisjärvi, and it is a generalist, meaning it utilizes all the main habitats in the lake; the near-shore, deep water, and open water.