The ancient volcano Girvas is located near the village of Girvas, on the Kola highway, between the cities of Kondopoga and Medvezhegorsk. There are traces of an ancient volcano crater preserved here. Nearby is the Paleyozerskaya hydroelectric power station.
According to geologists, the Girvas volcano was active more than 3 billion years ago. The last eruption occurred about 2 billion years ago. The height of the mountain at that time reached several thousand meters. Then the volcano went out and now nothing reminds of volcanic activity in Karelia. The mountain has leveled with the surface of the earth, but the entire neighborhood around the crater still consists of volcanic rock.
The place where the crater and traces of lava fields are located was under the riverbed of the Suna River until the beginning of the 20th century. Now the volcano is a rocky slope. Water flowed down it, forming two beautiful waterfalls of Karelia: Poor-threshold and Girvas. They were located on two parallel channels at a distance of fifty meters from each other. The height of the waterfalls reached 15 meters.
In 1915, small hydroelectric power plants began to be built on the rivers of Karelia to provide the local plants with electricity. In 1933, the Paleozerskaya hydroelectric power station was built on the site of the Girvas waterfall. The neighboring riverbed, where there was a waterfall Poor-threshold, was blocked by a dam. The riverbed was drained and scientists were able to study the rock. So the location of the ancient volcano Girvas was discovered. The dam has changed the water level in the surrounding rivers and lakes, therefore the height of the Kivach waterfall has become less.
A visit to the Girvas volcano is paid, there is a parking lot for cars near the dam. Visitors descend along the left bank of the former riverbed of the Suna River. There are small fences on the upper platform, but then all visitors go directly to the lava fields of the volcano. Visitors follow them down to the new riverbed of the Suna River.
Before descending, study the poster, which shows the places where the crater and fumarole fields are located. These depressions do not look like a volcano, but from a scientific point of view, Girvas is one of the oldest paleovolcanoes on Earth.
At the bottom of the rocky slope of the Girvas volcano is the floodplain of the Suna River. Here you can see picturesque round-shaped stones on which people build small pyramids. Along the river bank you can go to the dam of the Palieozerskaya hydroelectric power station.
Once a year, during the spring flood, the hydroelectric power station discharges water from the reservoir along the riverbed of the Poor-threshold. These days, the waterfall is very impressive with its power. You can find out about the opening time of the locks in advance to come here and enjoy this spectacle.