1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ladoga

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LADOGA (formerly Nevo), a lake of northern Russia, between 59° 56′ and 61° 46′ N., and 29° 53′ and 32° 50′ E., surrounded by the governments of St Petersburg and Olonets, and of Viborg in Finland. It has the form of a quadrilateral, elongated from N.W. to S.E. Its eastern and southern shores are flat and marshy, the north-western craggy and fringed by numerous small rocky islands, the largest of which are Valamo and Konnevitz, together having an area of 14 sq. m. Ladoga is 7000 sq. m. in area, that is, thirty-one times as large as the Lake of Geneva; but, its depth being less, it contains only nineteen times as much water as the Swiss lake. The greatest depth, 730 ft., is in a trough in the north-western part, the average depth not exceeding 250 to 350 ft. The level of Lake Ladoga is 55 ft. above the Gulf of Finland, but it rises and falls about 7 ft., according to atmospheric conditions, a phenomenon very similar to the seiches of the Lake of Geneva being observed in connexion with this.

The western and eastern shores consist of boulder clay, as well as a narrow strip on the southern shore, south of which runs a ridge of crags of Silurian sandstones. The hills of the north-western shore afford a variety of granites and crystalline slates of the Laurentian system, whilst Valamo island is made up of a rock which Russian geologists describe as orthoclastic hypersthenite. The granite and marble of Serdobol, and the sandstone of Putilovo, are much used for buildings at St Petersburg; copper and tin from the Pitkäranta mine are exported.

No fewer than seventy rivers enter Ladoga, pouring into it the waters of numberless smaller lakes which lie at higher levels round it. The Volkhov, which conveys the waters of Lake Ilmen, is the largest; Lake Onega discharges its waters by the Svir; and the Saima system of lakes of eastern Finland contributes the Vuoxen and Taipale rivers; the Syas brings the waters from the smaller lakes and marshes of the Valdai plateau. Ladoga discharges its surplus water by means of the Neva, which flows from its south-western corner into the Gulf of Finland, rolling down its broad channel 104,000 cubic ft. of water per second.

The water of Ladoga is very pure and cold; in May the surface temperature does not exceed 36° Fahr., and even in August it reaches only 50° and 53°, the average yearly temperature of the air at Valamo being 36.8°. The lake begins to freeze in October, but it is only about the end of December that it is frozen in its deeper parts; and it remains ice-bound until the end of March, though broad icefields continue to float in the middle of the lake until broken up by gales. Only a small part of the Ladoga ice is discharged by the Neva; but it is enough to produce in the middle of June a return of cold in the northern capital. The thickness of the ice does not exceed 3 or 4 ft.; but during the alternations of cold and warm weather, with strong gales, in winter, stacks of ice, 70 and 80 ft. high, are raised on the shores and on the icefields. The water is in continuous rotatory motion, being carried along the western shore from north to south, and along the eastern from south to north. The vegetation on the shores is poor; immense forests, which formerly covered them, are now mostly destroyed. But the fauna of the lake is somewhat rich; a species of seal which inhabits its waters, as well as several species of arctic crustaceans, recall its former connexion with the Arctic Ocean. The sweet water Diatomaceae which are found in great variety in the ooze of the deepest parts of the lake also have an arctic character.

Fishing is very extensively carried on. Navigation, which is practicable for only one hundred and eighty days in the year, is rather difficult owing to fogs and gales, which are often accompanied, even in April and September, with snow-storms. The prevailing winds blow from N.W. and S.W.; N.E. winds cause the water to rise in the south-western part, sometimes 3 to 5 ft. Steamers ply regularly in two directions from St Petersburg—to the monasteries of Konnevitz and Valamo, and to the mouth of the Svir, whence they go up that river to Lake Onega and Petrozavodsk; and small vessels transport timber, firewood, planks, iron, kaolin, granite, marble, fish, hay and various small wares from the northern shore to Schlüsselburg, and thence to St Petersburg. Navigation on the lake being too dangerous for small craft, canals with an aggregate length of 104 m. were dug in 1718–1731, and others in 1861–1886 having an aggregate length of 101 m. along its southern shore, uniting with the Neva at Schlüsselburg the mouths of the rivers Volkhov, Syas and Svir, all links in the elaborate system of canals which connect the upper Volga with the Gulf of Finland.

The population (35,000) on the shores of the lake is sparse, and the towns—Schlüsselburg (5285 inhabitants in 1897); New Ladoga (4144); Kexholm (1325) and Serdobol—are small. The monasteries of Valamo, founded in 992, on the island of the same name, and Konnevskiy, on Konnevitz island, founded in 1393, are visited every year by many thousands of pilgrims.  (P. A. K.; J. T. Be.)