Lake Onega

Lake Onega

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Lake Onega is a lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

 in the north-west European part of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, located on the territory of Republic of Karelia
Republic of Karelia
The Republic of Karelia is a federal subject of Russia .-Geography:The republic is located in the northwestern part of Russia, taking intervening position between the basins of White and Baltic seas...

, Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast
Leningrad Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . It was established on August 1, 1927, although it was not until 1946 that the oblast's borders had been mostly settled in their present position...

 and Vologda Oblast
Vologda Oblast
Vologda Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . Its administrative center is Vologda. The largest city is Cherepovets.Vologda Oblast is rich in historic monuments, such as the magnificent Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, Ferapontov Convent , medieval towns of Velikiy Ustyug and Belozersk, baroque...

. It belongs to the basin of Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

, Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, and is the second largest lake in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 after Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe, and the 14th largest lake by area in the world.-Geography:...

. The lake is fed by about 50 rivers and is drained by the Svir River
Svir River
Svir is a river in the north-east of Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It flows from Lake Onega west to Lake Ladoga, thus connecting the two largest lakes of Europe. It is the largest river flowing into Lake Ladoga....

.

There are about 1650 islands on the lake. They include Kizhi
Kizhi
Kizhi is an island near the geometrical center of the Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia , Russia. It is elongated from north to south and is about 6 km long, 1 km wide and is about 68 km away from the capital of Karelia, Petrozavodsk.Settlements and churches on the island were...

, which hosts a historical complex of 89 orthodox wooden churches and other wooden constructions of 15th–20th centuries. The complex includes a UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage site Kizhi Pogost
Kizhi Pogost
Kizhi Pogost is a historical site dating from the 17th century on Kizhi island. The island is located on Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia , Russia. The pogost is the area inside a fence which includes two large wooden churches and a bell-tower...

. Eastern shores of the lake contain about 1200 petroglyph
Petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s (rock engravings) dated to 4th–2nd millennia BC. The major cities on the lake are Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk is the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It stretches along the western shore of the Lake Onega for some . The city is served by Petrozavodsk Airport. Municipally, it is incorporated as Petrozavodsky Urban Okrug . Population:...

, Kondopoga
Kondopoga
Kondopoga is a town and the administrative center of Kondopozhsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, situated on the coast of the Kondopozhskaya Gulf of Lake Onega, near the mouth of the Suna River and Kivach Nature Reserve, about from Petrozavodsk...

 and Medvezhyegorsk
Medvezhyegorsk
Medvezhyegorsk , formerly known as Medvezhya Gora and Karhumäki, is a town and the administrative center of Medvezhyegorsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. Population: 15,800 ....

.

Geological history


The lake is of glacial-tectonic
Glacial lake
A glacial lake is a lake with origins in a melted glacier. Near the end of the last glacial period, roughly 10,000 years ago, glaciers began to retreat. A retreating glacier often left behind large deposits of ice in hollows between drumlins or hills. As the ice age ended, these melted to create...

 origin and is a remnant of a larger body of water which existed in this area during an Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

. In geologic
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 terms, the lake is rather young, formed – like almost all lakes in northern Europe – through the carving activity of the inland ice sheets in the latter part of the last Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

, about 12,000 years ago: In Paleozoic
Paleozoic
The Paleozoic era is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic eon, spanning from roughly...

 Era (300–400 million years ago) the entire territory of the modern basin of the lake was covered with a shelf sea
Continental shelf
The continental shelf is the extended perimeter of each continent and associated coastal plain. Much of the shelf was exposed during glacial periods, but is now submerged under relatively shallow seas and gulfs, and was similarly submerged during other interglacial periods. The continental margin,...

 lying near the ancient, near-equatoric Baltic continent. Sediments at that time – sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

, sand, clay and limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 – form a 200-meter thick layer covering the Baltic Shield
Baltic Shield
The Baltic Shield is located in Fennoscandia , northwest Russia and under the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Shield is defined as the exposed Precambrian northwest segment of the East European Craton...

 which consists of granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

 and greenstone
Greenschist
Greenschist is a general field petrologic term applied to metamorphic or altered mafic volcanic rock. The term greenstone is sometimes used to refer to greenschist but can refer to other rock types too. The green is due to abundant green chlorite, actinolite and epidote minerals that dominate the...

. Retreat of the Ice Age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

 glacier formed Littorina Sea
Littorina Sea
Littorina Sea is a geological brackish-water stage of the Baltic Sea, which existed around 7500–4000 BP and followed the Mastogloia Sea, transitional stage of the Ancylus Lake...

. Its level was first 7–9 meters higher than at present, but it gradually lowered, thereby decreasing the sea area and forming several lakes in the Baltic region.

Topography and hydrography


Lake Onega has a surface area of 9,700 km² without islands and a volume of 280 km³; its length is about 245 km and width about 90 km. It is the second largest lake in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, and the 18th largest lake by area in the world. Its southern banks are mostly low and continuous, whereas northern banks are rock
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

y and rugged. They contain numerous elongated bays shaping the lake into a giant crayfish. In the northern part lies a large Zaonezhye Peninsula ; south of it, is the Big Klimenetsky ( island. To the west of them lies a deep (deeper than 100 m) Big Onego area with its Kondopozhskaya , Ilem-Gorskaya (42 m), Lizhemskoy (82 m) and Unitskoy (44 m) bays. To the south-west of the Big Onega lies Petrozavodsk Onego with its large Petrozavodsk and small Yalguba and Pinguba bays. To the east of Zaonezhye there is a bay, northern part of which is called Povenetsky Bay and the southern part is Zaonezhsky Bay. There, deep sections alternate with banks and islands which split the bay into several parts. The southernmost part of them, Small Onega, is 40–50 meters deep. All shores there are stony.
View on Lake Onega from space, May 2002
The numbers denote:
  1. Svirsk Bay
  2. Petrozavodsk Bay and the city Petrozavodsk
    Petrozavodsk
    Petrozavodsk is the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It stretches along the western shore of the Lake Onega for some . The city is served by Petrozavodsk Airport. Municipally, it is incorporated as Petrozavodsky Urban Okrug . Population:...

  3. Big Onego Bay
  4. Kondopozhskaya Bay
  5. Small Onego Bay
  6. Zaonezhsky Bay
  7. Povenetsky Bay
  8. Kizhi
    Kizhi
    Kizhi is an island near the geometrical center of the Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia , Russia. It is elongated from north to south and is about 6 km long, 1 km wide and is about 68 km away from the capital of Karelia, Petrozavodsk.Settlements and churches on the island were...

     Island
  9. Lake Vodlozero
    Lake Vodlozero
    Lake Vodlozero is a large freshwater lake in the southeastern part of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It is located at and has an area of 322 km². It is 36 km long and 16 km wide. There are more than 190 islands on the lake. Vodlozero is used for fishery. It freezes up in early...

     and Vodlozero National Park
    Vodlozero National Park
    Vodlozersky National Park is the national park in the north of Russia, located in Onezhsky District of Arkhangelsk Oblast and Pudozhsky District in the Republic of Karelia. It was established April 20, 1991. Since 2001, the National Park has the status of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve...

  10. Ivinsky Spill and River Svir
  11. Cape Besov Nos ("Devil's nose")
  12. Big Klimenetsky Island


The average depth of the lake is 31 meters, and the deepest place (127 meters) is located in the northern part. The average depth is 50–60 meters in the center and rises to 20–30 meters in the southern part. The bottom has a very uneven profile, it is covered with silt
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

, and contains numerous trenches of various size and shape in the northern part. The trenches are separated by large shallow banks. Such bottom structure is favorable for fish, and the banks are used for commercial fishing.

The water level is stabilized by the Verhnesvirskaya hydropower plant
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 and varies by only 0.9–1.5 meters over the year. It rises due to the spring flood which lasts 1.5–2 months. The highest water level is in June–August and the lowest is in March–April. Rivers bring 15.6 km³ of water per year to the lake, that is up to 74% of the water balance; the rest is provided by precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

. Most of the lake water (84% or 17.6 km³/year) outflows via a single River Svir, and the remaining 16% evaporates from the lake surface. There were frequent storms more characteristic of a sea than a lake; waves of 2–3 meters are not uncommon and may even reach 5 meters. The lake freezes near the coast and bays in late November–December and around mid-January in its center. Sawing starts in April in the tributaries and reaches the lake in May. Water in the deep parts is clear, with the visibility up to 7–8 m. In the bays, the visibility may decrease to about a meter. The water is fresh, with the salt content of 35 mg/L. This is relatively low for a lake and is about 1.5 times lower than in another large lake of the area, Ladoga Lake.
Maximal surface water temperature is 20–24 °С on the lake and even 24–27 °С in bays. The deep waters are much colder, from 2–2.5 °С in winter to 4–6 °С in summer. Weather is relatively cold, with temperatures below 0 °C for half of the year and average summer temperatures about 16 °C.

Basin and islands


The catchment area
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 of 51,540 km² drains into the lake via 58 rivers and more than 110 tributaries, including the Shuya
Shuya River, Karelia
The Shuya River is a river in the Republic of Karelia in Russia. The length of the river is 194 km. The area of its basin is 10,100 km². The Shuya flows out of Lake Suoyarvi and flows through Lake Logmozero into Lake Onega. It freezes up in November - January and stays icebound until April - first...

, Suna
Suna River
Suna is a river in Republic of Karelia, Russia. The length of the river is 280 km. The area of its basin is 7,670 km². The Suna originates in Lake Kivi-Yarvi and flows out into the Kondopoga Gulf of Lake Onega....

, Vodla
Vodla River
Vodla is a river in the south-east of Republic of Karelia, Russia. The town of Pudozh is located along Vodla....

, Vytegra
Vytegra River
The Vytegra is a river in Vytegorsky District of Vologda Oblast in Russia. It nominally flows out of Lake Matkozero and is a tributary of Lake Onega. It is long, and the area of its basin . The principal tributary if the Tagazhma River ....

 and Andoma
Andoma River
The Andoma is a river in Vytegorsky District of Vologda Oblast in Russia. It flows out of Lake Groptozero and is a tributary of Lake Onega. It is long, and the area of its basin . The main tributary of the Andoma is the Samina River ....

. The only outgoing River Svir, which marks the southern boundary of Karelia, runs from the southwestern shore of Lake Onega to Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe, and the 14th largest lake by area in the world.-Geography:...

 and continues as the Neva River
Neva River
The Neva is a river in northwestern Russia flowing from Lake Ladoga through the western part of Leningrad Oblast to the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland. Despite its modest length , it is the third largest river in Europe in terms of average discharge .The Neva is the only river flowing from Lake...

 to the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

.

The White Sea – Baltic Canal runs through the lake from the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

 to the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. The Volga–Baltic Waterway connects Onega Lake with the Volga River
Volga River
The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga's drainage...

, Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 and Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. The Onega Canal
Onega Canal
The Onega Canal is a canal that runs along the southern banks of Lake Onega in Vologda Oblast and Leningrad Oblasts in Russia. It was built 1818 - 1820 and 1845 - 1852 as a part of Mariinsk Canal System, to allow small riverboats to avoid Lake Onega, where storms are frequent and where many boats...

, which follows the southern banks of the lake, was built in 1818–1820 and 1845–1852 between Vytegra River
Vytegra River
The Vytegra is a river in Vytegorsky District of Vologda Oblast in Russia. It nominally flows out of Lake Matkozero and is a tributary of Lake Onega. It is long, and the area of its basin . The principal tributary if the Tagazhma River ....

 in the east and Svir River
Svir River
Svir is a river in the north-east of Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It flows from Lake Onega west to Lake Ladoga, thus connecting the two largest lakes of Europe. It is the largest river flowing into Lake Ladoga....

 in the west. The canal was part of the Mariinsk Canal System
Volga-Baltic Waterway
The Volga–Baltic Waterway, formerly known as the Mariinsk Canal System , is a series of canals and rivers in Russia which link the Volga River with the Baltic Sea...

, a forerunner of the Volga-Baltic Waterway
Volga-Baltic Waterway
The Volga–Baltic Waterway, formerly known as the Mariinsk Canal System , is a series of canals and rivers in Russia which link the Volga River with the Baltic Sea...

, and aimed to create a quiet pass for boats avoiding the stormy waters of the lake. It is around 50 meters wide, and lies between 10 meters and 2 km from the shores of the lake. The canal is not used for active navigation at present.

There are about 1650 islands in the lake with the total area of about 250 km². Whereas the most famous is Kizhi
Kizhi
Kizhi is an island near the geometrical center of the Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia , Russia. It is elongated from north to south and is about 6 km long, 1 km wide and is about 68 km away from the capital of Karelia, Petrozavodsk.Settlements and churches on the island were...

, which contains historical wooden churches of the 18th century, the largest island is Big Klimenetsky with the area of 147 km². It contains a few settlements, a school and an 82-meter tall hill. Other large islands are Big Lelikovsky and Suysari.

Sosnowets Island Petrozavodsk Bay Lake shore Islands


Flora and fauna


The lake banks are low and are flooded with raising water level. They are therefore swampy and are rich in reed, hosting ducks, geese and swans. The coastal region is covered with dense virgin forests. Major tree types are coniferous
Pinophyta
The conifers, division Pinophyta, also known as division Coniferophyta or Coniferae, are one of 13 or 14 division level taxa within the Kingdom Plantae. Pinophytes are gymnosperms. They are cone-bearing seed plants with vascular tissue; all extant conifers are woody plants, the great majority being...

, but also common are lime (linden)
Tilia
Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The greatest species diversity is found in Asia, and the genus also occurs in Europe and eastern North America, but not western North America...

, elm
Elm
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...

 and European Alder. Common mammals include elk
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

, brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

, wolf, fox, hare, squirrel, lynx
Eurasian Lynx
The Eurasian lynx is a medium-sized cat native to European and Siberian forests, South Asia and East Asia. It is also known as the European lynx, common lynx, the northern lynx, and the Siberian or Russian lynx...

, pine marten
Pine Marten
The European Pine Marten , known most commonly as the pine marten in Anglophone Europe, and less commonly also known as Pineten, baum marten, or sweet marten, is an animal native to Northern Europe belonging to the mustelid family, which also includes mink, otter, badger, wolverine and weasel. It...

, European badger, as well as American muskrat
Muskrat
The muskrat , the only species in genus Ondatra, is a medium-sized semi-aquatic rodent native to North America, and introduced in parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. The muskrat is found in wetlands and is a very successful animal over a wide range of climates and habitats...

 and mink
Mink
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and...

 which were introduced to the area in the early 20th century. About 200 bird species from 15 families have been observed in the lake basin.

Lake Onega features a large variety of fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 and water invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s, including relict
Relict
A relict is a surviving remnant of a natural phenomenon.* In biology a relict is an organism that at an earlier time was abundant in a large area but now occurs at only one or a few small areas....

s of the glacial period such as lamprey
Lamprey
Lampreys are a family of jawless fish, whose adults are characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. Translated from an admixture of Latin and Greek, lamprey means stone lickers...

. There are about 47 fish species from 13 families; they include sturgeon
Sturgeon
Sturgeon is the common name used for some 26 species of fish in the family Acipenseridae, including the genera Acipenser, Huso, Scaphirhynchus and Pseudoscaphirhynchus. The term includes over 20 species commonly referred to as sturgeon and several closely related species that have distinct common...

, landlocked salmon
Atlantic salmon
The Atlantic salmon is a species of fish in the family Salmonidae, which is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean and in rivers that flow into the north Atlantic and the north Pacific....

, brown trout
Brown trout
The brown trout and the sea trout are fish of the same species....

, European smelt
European smelt
The Smelt or European smelt is a species of fish in the Osmeridae family.- Shape and appearance :The body of the European smelt is typically 15 to 18 cm long, slender and slightly flattened on either side. Larger fish may reach 30 cm in length. Smelts have a slightly translucent body...

, grayling
Grayling
-Fish:*Grayling , Thymallus thymallus*Grayling , generically, any fish of the genus Thymallus in the family Salmonidae*Australian grayling , a fish in the family Retropinnidae...

, roaches
Rutilus
Rutilus is a genus of fishes in the family Cyprinidae, commonly called roaches. Locally, the name "roach" without any further qualifiers is also used for particular species, particularly the Common Roach Rutilus (Latin for "shining, red, golden, auburn") is a genus of fishes in the family...

, Crucian carp
Crucian carp
The crucian carp is a member of the family Cyprinidae, which includes many other fish, such as the common carp, or the smaller minnows. They inhabit lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers throughout Europe and Asia. The crucian is a medium-sized cyprinid, which rarely exceeds a weight of over 3.3...

, whitefishes
Coregonus
Coregonus is a diverse genus of fish in the salmon family . The type species is the common whitefish . The Coregonus species are known as whitefishes...

, char, pike
Northern Pike
The northern pike , is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox...

, European cisco
Coregonus albula
The vendace, Coregonus albula, is a species of freshwater whitefish in the family Salmonidae. It is also known as the European cisco. It is found in lakes in northern Europe, especially Finland, Sweden, Russia and Estonia, and in some lakes of the United Kingdom, northern Germany and Poland...

, common dace
Common dace
The common dace , also known as the dace or the Eurasian dace, is a fresh- or brackish-water fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. It is an inhabitant of the rivers and streams of Europe north of the Alps as well as in Asia. It is most abundant in France and Germany, and has also spread to...

, silver bream
Silver Bream
The Silver Bream is a species of ray-finned fish in the Cyprinidae family.-Locations:It is found in Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Hungary, Iceland, Iran,...

, carp bream
Carp bream
The common bream, freshwater bream, bream, bronze bream or carp bream, Abramis brama, is a European species of freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae....

, sabre carp
Ziege
The ziege or sabre carp, Pelecus cultratus, is a species of ray-finned fish in the Cyprinidae family, and the only species of its genus....

, spined loach
Spined Loach
The Spined Loach is a common freshwater fish in Europe and Asia. It is sometimes known as spotted weather loach, not to be confused with the "typical" weather loaches of the genus Misgurnus...

, wels catfish
Wels catfish
The wels catfish , also called sheatfish, is a large catfish found in wide areas of central, southern, and eastern Europe, and near the Baltic and Caspian Seas. It is a scaleless fresh and brackish water fish recognizable by its broad, flat head and wide mouth...

, European eel
European eel
The European eel, Anguilla anguilla, is a species of eel, a snake-like, catadromous fish. They can reach in exceptional cases a length of 1½ m, but are normally much smaller, about 60–80 cm, and rarely more than 1 m....

, rudd
Rudd
The common rudd Scardinius erythropthalmus is a bentho-pelagic freshwater fish, widely spread in Europe and middle Asia, around the basins of the North, Baltic, Black, Caspian and Aral seas.-Artificially introduced:...

, ide, gudgeon
Gobio gobio
Gobio gobio, or the gudgeon, is a species of freshwater fish in the Cyprinidae family.This small fish is widely distributed across northern Eurasia....

, pike-perch, European perch
European perch
The European perch, Perca fluviatilis, is a predatory species of perch found in Europe and Asia. In some areas it is known as the redfin perch or English perch, and it is often known simply as perch. The species is a popular quarry for anglers and has been widely introduced beyond its native area,...

, ruffe
Ruffe
The Eurasian Ruffe or simply Ruffe is a freshwater fish found in temperate regions of Europe and northern Asia. It has been introduced into the Great Lakes of North America, reportedly with unfortunate results...

 and burbot
Burbot
The burbot is the only gadiform fish inhabiting freshwaters. It is also known as mariah, the lawyer, and eelpout. It is closely related to the marine common ling and the cusk...

.

Ecology


Whereas the area of the lake used to be virgin, the pollution level is gradually increasing, especially in the northwestern and northern parts which contain industrial facilities of Petrozavodsk, Kondopoga and Medvezhyegorsk. About 80% of the population and more than 90% of industry of the basin are concentrated in these areas. The pollution from these three cities amount to about 190 million m³ of sewage and drainage water and 150 tonnes of emissions per year. Human activity results in about 315 million m³ of drain water per year, of which 46% are industrial and household water, 25% is stormwater runoff and 16% is melioration
Land improvement
Land improvement or land amelioration refers to investments making land more usable by humans. In terms of accounting, land improvements refer to any variety of projects that increase the value of the property...

-related drainage. This drainage contains 810 tonnes of phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 and 17,000 tonnes of nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

; 280 and 11,800 tonnes of these elements are removed through the River Svir whereas the rest accumulates in the lake. Ships and motor boats (about 8000 units) bring oil pollution at the level of about 830 tonnes per navigation year, as well as phenol
Phenol
Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, phenic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid. The molecule consists of a phenyl , bonded to a hydroxyl group. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds...

s (0.5 tonnes), lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 (0.1 tonnes) and oxide
Oxide
An oxide is a chemical compound that contains at least one oxygen atom in its chemical formula. Metal oxides typically contain an anion of oxygen in the oxidation state of −2....

s of sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

, nitrogen, and carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

.

Economy


The lake basin is a major source of granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 and black schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

 in Russia which have been exploited in the area since the early 18th century. Also advanced is metallurgy,, especially in the Petrozavodsk area which produces about 25% of industrial products of Karelia
Republic of Karelia
The Republic of Karelia is a federal subject of Russia .-Geography:The republic is located in the northwestern part of Russia, taking intervening position between the basins of White and Baltic seas...

. Water level of the lake is controlled by the Nizhnesvirskaya and Verzhnesvirskaya hydroelectric power plants. The former was built between 1927 and 1938 and has a peak power of 99 MW. The construction of Verzhnesvirskaya plant started in 1938, but was interrupted by World War II and could only be resumed in 1947. The plant was completed in 1952 and provided 160 MW of electric power. The associated with the plant Verzhnesvirsk Reservoir has an area of 9930 km² and volume of 260 km³, i.e. almost the same as those of Onega Lake. Its construction raised the water level of the lake by 0.5 m.

The lake contains a well-developed navigation system which is part of the Volga–Baltic Waterway and White Sea – Baltic Canal, connecting the basins of Baltic
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

, Caspian
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 and the northern seas. These canals allow water transport of goods from the lake to the countries from Germany to Iran; most traffic goes to Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. The Onega Canal
Onega Canal
The Onega Canal is a canal that runs along the southern banks of Lake Onega in Vologda Oblast and Leningrad Oblasts in Russia. It was built 1818 - 1820 and 1845 - 1852 as a part of Mariinsk Canal System, to allow small riverboats to avoid Lake Onega, where storms are frequent and where many boats...

 running along the southern shore of the lake there is not used at present. Cargo on Lake Onega amounts to 10–12 million tonnes per year with about 10,300 ship voyages. Lake shores contain two ports (Petrozavodsk and Medvezhyegorsk), 5 wharfs (Kondopoga, Povenets, Shala, Vytegra and Ascension ) and 41 piers.

Fishery is an important activity on the lake. About 17 species are being fished commercially, mostly European cisco
Coregonus albula
The vendace, Coregonus albula, is a species of freshwater whitefish in the family Salmonidae. It is also known as the European cisco. It is found in lakes in northern Europe, especially Finland, Sweden, Russia and Estonia, and in some lakes of the United Kingdom, northern Germany and Poland...

, smelt
European smelt
The Smelt or European smelt is a species of fish in the Osmeridae family.- Shape and appearance :The body of the European smelt is typically 15 to 18 cm long, slender and slightly flattened on either side. Larger fish may reach 30 cm in length. Smelts have a slightly translucent body...

, whitefishes
Coregonus
Coregonus is a diverse genus of fish in the salmon family . The type species is the common whitefish . The Coregonus species are known as whitefishes...

, roaches
Rutilus
Rutilus is a genus of fishes in the family Cyprinidae, commonly called roaches. Locally, the name "roach" without any further qualifiers is also used for particular species, particularly the Common Roach Rutilus (Latin for "shining, red, golden, auburn") is a genus of fishes in the family...

, burbot
Burbot
The burbot is the only gadiform fish inhabiting freshwaters. It is also known as mariah, the lawyer, and eelpout. It is closely related to the marine common ling and the cusk...

, pike-perch
Sander (genus)
Sander is a genus of fish in the Percidae family. They are also known as "pike-perch" because of their resemblance to fish in the unrelated Esocidae family....

, perch
Perch
Perch is a common name for fish of the genus Perca, freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae. The perch, of which there are three species in different geographical areas, lend their name to a large order of vertebrates: the Perciformes, from the Greek perke meaning spotted, and the...

, ruffe
Ruffe
The Eurasian Ruffe or simply Ruffe is a freshwater fish found in temperate regions of Europe and northern Asia. It has been introduced into the Great Lakes of North America, reportedly with unfortunate results...

, carp bream
Carp bream
The common bream, freshwater bream, bream, bronze bream or carp bream, Abramis brama, is a European species of freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae....

, lake salmon
Lake Salmon
The Lake Salmon is a species of ray-finned fish in the Cyprinidae family.It is found in Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.Its natural habitats are rivers and freshwater lakes.-Source:...

, pike and somewhat less ide, graylings
Grayling (genus)
Thymallus is a genus of freshwater fish in the salmon family of order Salmoniformes; it is the only genus of subfamily Thymallinae. The type species is T. thymallus, the grayling. The genus's five distinct species are generically called graylings, but without qualification this also refers...

, common dace
Common dace
The common dace , also known as the dace or the Eurasian dace, is a fresh- or brackish-water fish belonging to the family Cyprinidae. It is an inhabitant of the rivers and streams of Europe north of the Alps as well as in Asia. It is most abundant in France and Germany, and has also spread to...

, common bleak and crucian carp
Carassius
Carassius is a genus in the ray-finned fish family Cyprinidae. The species in this genus are commonly known as Crucian carps, though this term often specifically refers to C. carassius. The most well known is the goldfish , which was bred from the Prussian carp...

.Lake Onega (Karelia). Fishing in the Onega. Fish and their habitat

Whereas there is no regular passenger service on the lake, there are several tourist trips per day along the routes of Petrozavodsk – Kizhi, Petrozavodsk – Velikaya Guba and Petrozavodsk – Shala. They are run by hydrofoil
Hydrofoil
A hydrofoil is a foil which operates in water. They are similar in appearance and purpose to airfoils.Hydrofoils can be artificial, such as the rudder or keel on a boat, the diving planes on a submarine, a surfboard fin, or occur naturally, as with fish fins, the flippers of aquatic mammals, the...

 and motor ship
Motor ship
A motor ship or motor vessel is a ship propelled by an internal combustion engine, usually a diesel engine. The name of motor ships are often prefixed with MS, M/S, MV or M/V.- See also :...

s and are used for passenger transport as well. In addition, passenger ships go on the route Petrozavodsk - Shala.

Sailing is a popular activity on the lake and there is a sailing club in Petrozavodsk. From 1972, every end of July the lake hosts the largest in Russia regatta
Regatta
A regatta is a series of boat races. The term typically describes racing events of rowed or sailed water craft, although some powerboat race series are also called regattas...

 ("") which is the Russian Open Championship in the Russian class of Cruisers Yachts
Cruisers yachts
Cruisers Yachts is a brand of pleasure boats owned by KCS International. The company builds boats ranging from 30 feet - 58 feet, and is headquartered in Oconto, Wisconsin...

 "Open800". The regatta has international status.

Boats on the wharf "Kizhi" The cargo port of Petrozavodsk Petrozavodsk in 1915

History and places




Cities


The largest city on the lake is Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk
Petrozavodsk is the capital city of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It stretches along the western shore of the Lake Onega for some . The city is served by Petrozavodsk Airport. Municipally, it is incorporated as Petrozavodsky Urban Okrug . Population:...

 – the capital of Republic of Karelia
Republic of Karelia
The Republic of Karelia is a federal subject of Russia .-Geography:The republic is located in the northwestern part of Russia, taking intervening position between the basins of White and Baltic seas...

 (about 270,000 citizens) founded in 1703 by Peter I
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 to exploit the natural ore deposits. Petrozavodsk area contains a large number of historical monuments, such as Architectural ensemble Round Square (end of 18th century) and gymnasium building of 1790. The embankment of Lake Onega contains a series of sculptures, many of which were presented as gifts from the twin cities.

Kondopoga
Kondopoga
Kondopoga is a town and the administrative center of Kondopozhsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, situated on the coast of the Kondopozhskaya Gulf of Lake Onega, near the mouth of the Suna River and Kivach Nature Reserve, about from Petrozavodsk...

 is known from 1495 and contain the Uspenskaya (Assumption) Church built in 1774. This 42-meter tall construction is one of the tallest wooden churches of the Russian North. There are two carillon
Carillon
A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in a free-standing bell tower, or the belfry of a church or other municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to play a melody, or sounded together to play a chord...

s in the city, with 23 and 18 bells, also there is an indoor ice sports arena accommodating 1850 spectators and a Palace of Arts with an organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

.

Medvezhyegorsk city was founded in 1916 and from 1931 became the construction base of the White Sea – Baltic Canal. Between 1703–1710 and 1766–1769 a factory was operating on the site of the city. During the World War II, for three years this area was occupied by the Finnish forces and was a place of busy military activities.

Kizhi island


The main attraction of the lake is the island of Kizhi in the northern part of the lake, which is a State Historical, Architectural and Ethnographic Preservation Area. There are 89 wooden architectural monuments of 15th–20th centuries on the island. The most remarkable of those is Kizhi Pogost
Kizhi Pogost
Kizhi Pogost is a historical site dating from the 17th century on Kizhi island. The island is located on Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia , Russia. The pogost is the area inside a fence which includes two large wooden churches and a bell-tower...

 of the early 18th century which consists of a summer 22-dome church, a winter 9-dome church and a belfry. The pogost was included in the list of UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage cites in 1990. In the summer, there are daily boat connections to the island from Petrozavodsk.

Onega petroglyphs


Another attraction of the lake is Onega petroglyph
Petroglyph
Petroglyphs are pictogram and logogram images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, and abrading. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images...

s (rock engravings). They are located on the eastern coast of the lake and date back to 4th–2nd millennia BC. There are about 1200 petroglyphs scattered over the 20 km area including several capes, such as Besov Nos (see map above). The engravings are 1–2 mm deep and depict animals, people, boats and geometrical shapes of circular and crescent shapes.

Others


Many other historical monuments are scattered around the lake. They include Svyat-Uspensky monastery on the cape of Murom, on the eastern shore of the lake. The monastery was founded in 1350, closed in 1918 and restored in 1991.