Top 10 geosites in Estonia

Every time I go to a foreign country to see some geology I am in trouble. I try to prepare but it is hard task, sometimes next to impossible. Geological excursion guides (if in existence) are usually available in printed form only, often written in obscure language, and it is very hard to find info about their existence. I am not even talking about purchasing, this is usually hopeless.

Therefore, I have been thinking about creating some sort of public database or website which should gather info about interesting geo-sites worldwide. This information is somewhere there but unfortunately very fragmented and often not yet available in digital format. Of course, creating and managing such a database is lots of work. That is why this plan is still just a mere idea.

Recently, Callan Bentley wrote a post named 101 American Geo-Sites You’ve Gotta See, by Albert B. Dickas, inspired by yet another book about American geo-sites “you’ve gotta see”. This developed into a meme. One of the responders, Evelyn Mervine over at Georneys, suggested that we should come up with similar lists for other countries as well. I think it is a wonderful idea which should be one small or maybe not so small step closer to what should be done.

Therefore, here is my list of interesting geo-sites in Estonia, my home country. Estonia is a small country, especially when compared to the US. Coming up with 101 is definitely possible but in my opinion not very wise thing to do. I limited myself to just 10 for now.

Pakri pank

It is a section of the Baltic Klint. For several reasons I think it is the best among many exposures of this magnificent cliff which is more than 1,000 kilometers long.

Jägala juga

Highest natural waterfall in Estonia. It is beautiful in all seasons and there are several layers of different sedimentary rocks exposed.

Kaali kraater

This is the oldest confirmed impact crater in Europe. I mean the date of confirmation is the oldest, crater itself is from the Holocene. Kaali is the best known Estonian impact crater but definitely not the oldest or biggest. Unfortunately, our two big complex craters are buried and are therefore not included in this list.

Kaugatuma pank

This is seacliff which is not impressive at all as a landform but it consists of limestone which is full of large crinoid fossils. Some pieces of crinoids are hollow like rings. It is just one example of highly fossiliferous limestones in Estonia which are really abundant here. It could be replaced with many other nice places with lots of fossils. Sedimentary rocks in Estonia are very rich in Paleozoic fauna (brachiopods, nautiloids, crinoids, trilobites, bryozoans, graptolites, etc.) Let’s say it is one place that represents them all but for those interested in fossils, this is just a start.

Kunda quarry

In this quarry one can see bluish clay which is half a billion years old. It is quite a remarkable age for unlithified sediment.

Ilumetsa kraater

Another meteorite crater from the Holocene. Here is an article about this crater: Meteorite crater near my home.


Southern Estonia is covered with sandstone from the Devonian (Old Red). This is perhaps one of the best known and most beautiful outcrops among many.


Soomaa is a national park which is best visited by a canoe in early spring when it is usually flooded. There are no rocks to be seen.


It is a hilly region in Eastern Estonia. Elongated hills so characteristic of this area are large drumlins. It should be one of the best examples of large drumlin fields in the world.

Kohtla kaevandusmuuseum

This is mining museum in an old underground oil shale mine. Oil shale is the most important mineral resource here. Estonia is famous or parhaps infamous because we burn this stuff to generate electricity. This museum could be replaced with some oil shale quarry if you can organize a visit there. Anyway, for geologists, this brown fossiliferous variety of oil shale known as kukersite is definitely worth taking a look at when visiting Estonia.

This is my selection. Some of these sites could easily be replaced with something else, or better yet, new ones should be added to these ten. The idea of this is not to choose the top 10 but to just describe places that are worth visiting. I will try to describe all of them in the future as separate posts. I can not do it right away. I have visited all of them, some of them many times, but for most I have no or only few photos. I also need to get correct geographical coordinates. I am convinced that no location or “how to get there” information is complete without these.

I would be very glad to see similar lists published for other countries, states, regions, etc. It does not matter how many locations are listed. One is better than nothing and maybe in the long run we can come up with some sort of solution that gathers this information into one place or links to different pieces of knowledge published here and there.

4 comments to Top 10 geosites in Estonia

  • Siim, this is an excellent idea! Something similar is running around the back of my head for a while. My first thought was to have a GoogleEarth kmz-File of every country/region stored in a central website. But on the other hand there is Wikipedia. So someone who knows Wikipedia a little, could create a “Geological Sites to visit”-site. Everybody else who feels responsible could add a kmz-file of his or her country/region or could modify the file. We could also create Wikipedia pages for each country/region including links, and explanations of the geology. The closest thing I found for this topic is:

  • We may try that but I am not sure that Wikipedia is the solution. They want only noteworthy material that has some value for encyclopedia. Some of our entries would definitely qualify, and many of them are already there, but not all I am afraid. Single outcrop that may be interesting for some reason to geologists will very soon become marked as “speedy deletion candidate” or something like that. What can be done in wikipedia is categorization. Category “geo-sites” or something like this would be nice to make it easier to search and see what is already there.

  • Mr. Piet Vierbergen

    Marvellous idea! In June 2013 we plan to visit Estonia for the second time to visit some geological sites. That’s why we are preparing our second book about geology. We downloaded your Estonian Geosite in order to look for some typical geological items: kukersite, alum shale and so on.
    I am a retired teacher in geography who travelled the whole planet in order to make books, lectures and courses in the Netherlands. It’s a pity to you. but I published in Dutch language of course. For infomation look at

    Greetings from a geological bookstore and rockshop,

    Piet Vierbergen

  • Hi Piet, nice to meet you. Hopefully some day in real life as well. I saw that you have visited many interesting places, including Cyprus.