The High Coast / Kvarken Archipelago (2000, 2006)

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The High Coast is located on the west shore of the Gulf of Bothnia, a northern extension of the Baltic Sea. The area covers 142,500 ha including a marine component of 80,000 ha, which includes a number of offshore islands. 

Sweden 2005. World Cultural Heritage. Block of four se-tenant stamps with views of the High Coast.

The irregular topography of the region - a series of lakes, inlets and flat hills rising to 350 m - has been largely shaped by the combined processes of glaciations, glacial retreat and the emergence of new land from the sea. 

Since the last retreat of the ice from the High Coast 9,600 years ago, the uplift has been in the order of 285 m which is the highest known 'rebound'. 

The High Coast site affords outstanding opportunities for the understanding of the important processes that formed the glaciated and land uplift areas of the Earth's surface.

The site is one of the places in the world that is experiencing isostatic uplift as a result of deglaciation. Isostatic rebound is well-illustrated and the distinctiveness of the site is the extent of the total isostatic uplift which, at 294m, exceeds others. 

In 2006 the site was extended by Kvarken Archipelago, numbering 5,600 islands and islets and covers a total of 194,400 ha (15% land and 85% sea). It features unusual ridged washboard moraines, "DeGreer moraines", formed by the melting of the continental ice sheet, 10,000 - 24,000 years ago. As a consequence of the advancing shoreline, islands appear and unite, peninsulas expand, lakes evolve from bays and develop into marshes and peat fens. This property is essentially the “type area” for research on isostacy, the phenomenon having been first recognised and studied there. 

Other World Heritage Sites in Sweden (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Sweden section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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