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Entries / Relief


Categories / City Topography/Nature and Natural Phenomena

RELIEF. Despite having a general plain character, its flatness and large built up areas, the relief of St. Petersburg is diverse and full of contrasts. The highest peaks in the southwest of the city reach 176 meters, in the north around Pargolovo approximately 60 meters. There are no steep ascents and slopes in the city, however the presence of multiple-elevation levels is clear. St. Petersburg is located on various types of terraces, kame moraine hills and escarpment benches up to 50 meters high, and the city's central part is situated in a river delta zone with 6-meter high hills. The territory is constituted of three layers: that of 1.5 meters, up to 4.2 meters, and up to 6 meters. The first layer contains a beach flood plain surface which is exposed to natural water fluctuations, thus stipulating the formation of sandy loam deposits. This area is scarcely built up. The second layer is a flat surface of the living flood plain which is flooded at least once a century (see Floods). All the islands are situated in the delta and include narrow strips along a vast section of the Neva River upwards from the delta as well as along the coast of the Gulf of Finland. A larger part of the territory is built up and the relief was changed due to the bedding and recultivation. The external borders of the layer present a noticeable elevation observed along Petergofskoe Highway, Stachek Avenue, Avtovskaya Street, near Moskovskie Vorota, at the conjunction of Zagorodny Avenue and Vladimirsky Avenue. It can be also seen on the right bank along Bolshoy Sampsonievsky Avenue, near Lanskaya, Bogatyrsky Avenue, Serebryany Boulevard, northwards from Lakhta Swamp and Yuntolovo Nature Sanctuary. The third layer is presumably an elevated level of the same Littorina terrace; however, it is not exposed to floods. Peaty and swampy soil (in the course of the land development the bogs were filled) is the typical characteristic of the terrain. Another distinctive feature of the relief is the massive bar formations - ridge elevations formed of sand and gravel material. Within the territory of St. Petersburg they can be observed along Ligovsky Avenue and Suvorovsky Avenue, near Vosstaniya Square where the carriageway of Nevsky Prospect elevates, and along Borovaya Street. These types of formations are clearly seen westwards from Lakes Suzdalskie at the crosspoint with the Kamenka River and also around Lakhta-Olgino at the Lakhtinsky Razliv Dam. The external borders are blocked due to development and can be observed at the beginning of Ligovsky Avenue and Vitebsky Avenue, northwards from Volkovskoe Cemetery, southwards from Navalochnaya station, at the intersection of Obukhovskoy Oborony Avenue and Bolshoy Smolensky Avenue, near Kushelevka station, along Polyustrovsky Avenue, near Metallistov Avenue and at the joining of the Lubya River and Okhta River. The southern terraced benchland of St. Petersburg contains two main layers- one at the height of 6-10 meters and the other at 10-17 meters. The first one accommodates Vesely Poselok, Novosaratovka, Shchemilovka, part of Kupchino (northwards from Slavy Avenue), Moskovsky Avenue from Pobedy Square to Moskovskie Vorota (Gates). The southern border is marked by a flat bend often together with river lines and lake-like lows: the area between Dimitrova Street and Slavy Avenue, southwards from Tipanova Street and Leninsky Avenue. The area still contains original and rehabilitated water basins and ponds of Moskovsky Pobedy Park, Aviatorov Park, Shchemilovka, Ulyanka. A higher terrace with the heights from 9.6 to 10 meters at the crest and up to 15-17 meters at the back joint. It is clearly observed along the southern border of St. Petersburg. Rybatskoe, Obukhovo, the southern part of Kupchino, Predportovaya, Dachnoe, Ilyanka, Ligovo, Sosnovaya Polyana are located here. The rivers draining the terrace have distinct valleys. Higher levels can be seen southwards from the terrain (in the surroundings of Pulkovo, Gorelovo, Krasnoe Selo) - at the escarpment foot at the height of 18 to 40 meters. In addition low pediment surfaces of 45 to 50, and 95 to 107 meters (a part of Krasnoe Selo, Pulkovo and the town of Pushkin are located here) occur within the Izhora (Ordovician) Plateau. The northern terraced hilly zone of St. Petersburg combines the plain terrace benches of 10-15 and up to 42-49 meters and the fringing hilly kames, sometimes osars and moraines distinctly defined in Ozerki, Shuvalovo, Pargolovo, Yukki, Kavgolovo, Koltushi with the heights of up to 80 meters. The terraces and their benches are quite sharply defined near Udelnaya Station, Poklonnaya Mountain, on Svetlanovsky Avenue and Institutsky Avenue, in Kolomyagi. The layers preserved their original features near Lakes Suzdalskie and Murino Station. Some terraces are known by names: Lanskaya and Udelninskaya terraces for the heights of 10-13 meters, Lesnovskaya Terrace - 14-19 meters, Sosnovskaya Terrace - 25-30 meters, Poklonnogorskaya Terrace - 33-42 meters. Some of the reliefs reveal specific local forms - Sestroretsk dunes, Baltic-Ladoga Glint (escarpment), Duderhof Hills, Shuvalovo lake hilly ridges, Zelenogorsk Terrace benches and osar swells, beach ridges of Olgino and Lisy Nos. The roughness of the present day relief had been formed upon the retreat of the glacier of the last glaciation 12-10,000 years ago. The traces of the glacier are observed southwards and northwards from St. Petersburg.

References: Природа Ленинграда и окрестностей. Л., 1964; Геоморфология и четвертичные отложения Северо-Запада Европейской части СССР: Ленингр., Псковская и Новгородская области. Л., 1969.

Y. P. Seliverstov.

Avtovskaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Bogatyrsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Bolshoy Sampsonievsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Bolshoy Smolensky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Borovaya St./Saint Petersburg, city
Dimitrova St./Saint Petersburg, city
Institutsky Avenue/Saint Petersburg, city
Leninsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Ligovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Metallistov Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Moskovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Nevsky prospect/Saint Petersburg, city
Obukhovskoy Oborony Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Petergofskoe Freeway/Saint Petersburg, city
Pobedy Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Polyustrovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Serebristy Boulevard/Saint Petersburg, city
Slavy Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Stachek Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Suvorovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Svetlanovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Tipanova St./Saint Petersburg, city
Vitebsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Vladimirsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city
Vosstaniya Square/Saint Petersburg, city
Zagorodny Avenue/Saint Petersburg, city