Chains of eskers, kame fields and small drumlins

Transitional Estonian plains are limnoglacial plains about 40–70 m a.s.l., their generally level relief being highly paludified. Numerous ice marginal formations — eskers, end moraines, small drumlins and other relief forms rise against this background. These relief forms came into being at approximately the same time and all together they form a giant belt of marginal formations from the north-western slope of the Pandivere Upland, through Kõrvemaa, up to the Pärnu Lowland, and even further up to the former Vatla stronghold in the western part of the Estonian mainland. In this region the impact of the bedrock on the contemporary relief is minimal and there are no outcrops of the bedrock.

Kõrvemaa region is the richest in ice marginal formations in North Estonia. This is probably caused by the fact that during the last deglaciation the ice retreated from this area very slowly, stopping for longer periods of time and even temporarily advancing again. The most remarkable relief forms of the region are eskers, which form ridges of very complex relief that extend to tens of kilometres. Along with eskers there are several kame fields — areas covered with hillocks consisting of sand and gravel.

The central part of Transitional Estonia is characterised by small drumlins. They are most numerous in the forests of Järva-Madise. Small hillocks described in A.H.Tammsaare's novel ”Truth and Justice”, the Tammsaare hillock among them, are located in this neighbourhood. In the mires north of Väätsa there are a number of mineral islands — small drumlins.

The Ohepalu–Viitna esker field, located in the northwestern part of Kõrvemaa, is the best-known among them. The configuration of these variegated and branching relief forms of different structures has been studied extensively. An interesting spot is located near Lake Uku Kõverjärv. In the northern part of the area lie the Uku and Viitna kame fields and beautiful lakes in the depressions between kames. Eskers have been amassed by fluvioglacial streams flowing in tunnels under ice or in ice crevasses, they consist of shingle, gravel or coarse-grained sand.

One of the most important places where esker ridges meet is Aegviidu Village. Aegviidu–Paukjärve and Aegviidu–Koitjärve marginal eskers branch off from here, and join at the Jussi kame field in the north. This kame field may be easily observed, as the area was a training-field of the Soviet army for a long time and has not been overgrown with forest again. The landscape is adorned by high hillocks covered with heath vegetation and numerous lakes in depressions between hillocks. An esker ridge branches off from Aegviidu towards the southeast; its higher part is known as the Nelijärve hillocks. This system of relief forms ends at the ancient Jäneda stronghold at the foot of the Pandivere Upland. About ten kilometres south of Aegviidu rises the Mägede kame field. Its highest point — Valgehobusemägi — rises 106 meters above sea level and 43 meters above the water level of the Liivoja stream flowing at its foot.

In the neighbourhood of the Paunküla reservoir, by the Tallinn–Tartu road, is one of the most extensively studied relief areas. Some of the local radial eskers form oblong islands in the reservoir known as the Seapilli ridges. These steep islands, which are several hundreds of meters long and rise up to 20 m above water level, resemble the Punkaharju esker ridge in Finland. Among some more outstanding relief forms of Transitional Estonia are aslo the radial esker of Pühamägi, the steep northern slope of the Kemba fluvioglacial delta in the north-eastern part of Kõrvemaa, and the Paluküla end moraine and kame field in Kõnnumaa.

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