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Finland is Growing Taller & Wider Each Year While Other Countries Shrink

Finland is Growing Taller & Wider Each Year While Other Countries Shrink

Summary:

Every year, Finland grows larger and larger, both in land area and in height! Learn more about why this happens and the science behind it in this article.

ferry boat in Helsinki Finland is growing
A ferry boat transiting between the Suomenlinna Fortress and Helsinki Market Square. Taken by T. Haaja via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

While most countries are growing in population, GDP, or number of college graduates, Finland is taking a different tack.

Finland’s landmass is getting larger in area and in altitude.

Believe it or not, it’s true!

Finland adds an extra 2.7 entire square miles (7 sq. km) to its real estate holdings each and every year. On top of that—literally, as the case may be—parts of the country are growing by up to 9mm, or over a one-third inch, annually, as well!

Though it seems like nothing much, it adds up over time.

To put it into perspective, the city-country of Singapore is 278 sq. miles in area. In exactly a century, Finland will enlarge by the equivalent of the entire country of Singapore! The height seems even more negligible, but this, too, adds up. In the same amount of time, just 100 years, some parts of the country can heighten by more than 3 feet or around 1 meter!

Related Read: Why Travel? Because Science! (and a Little Bit of Math, Too)

Why is Finland Getting Larger?

The answer is post-glacial rebound.

To put it simply, from around 115,000 – 11,700 years ago, the Last Glacial Period (LGP) happened, a time of constantly advancing and retreating glaciers and generally chilly temperatures throughout. Back then, the extraordinary weight of these glaciers caused the land beneath to cave in a bit as the Earth’s crust warped with the heavy pieces of ice it was supporting.

But, then the LGP ended. Ever since then, places which used to have glaciers are now post-glacial, and the glacier-free land is rebounding.

So, in actuality, Finland is rebounding in size and height, like a memory foam mattress after you jump off. It’s just that the rebound is taking its sweet time. It’s glacially slow, if you will.

You can read some of the science behind it here.

Fun Fact: In Finland, this “new land” is owned by whomever owned the water area preceding it. If a property owner had some shoreline, it would not automatically become theirs unless their boundary extended into the water to begin with. Buying some off-the-coastline water property in Finland could be a good investment (if you can wait decades or centuries)!

Does It Happen Anywhere Else?

Yes!

Finland is not the only country where water levels are seemingly receding. In fact, most of Sweden, Norway, Canada, Greenland, parts of Alaska, and even Iceland seem to have more and more real estate each year.

What Does This Say About Climate Change?

Nothing, really.

Climate change is still real, and water levels are still rising all around the world. Actually, in all these countries where post-glacial rebounding is a thing, the sea levels are rising there, as well. The only difference is that these countries happen to have some land growing at a faster clip than the seas around them.

Essentially, in Finland and a few other places, the land is simply rising faster than the sea is rising.

Related Read: UN SDGs: An Introduction to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Well, that’s our story about how Finland is getting larger each year, and we hope you found it interesting and informative! Got any questions, feedback, or something to add about post-glacial rebounding, Finnish real estate, or global warming? Let’s chat below in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Christian Eilers
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Christian Eilers
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