Many theories abound as to the origins of the formation of the Baltic Northern Klint, the how and why of it, but largely undisputed is that it is an erosional escarpment which begins in the Baltic Sea south of Õland Island, travels northward then curves eastward through Northern Estonia submerging underground south of Lake Ladoga in Russia. The Klint's bedrock is Cambrian sedimentary sandstone and clay created 540 million years ago and is overlain with gradients of Ordovician limestone over an approximate 90 million year period. The Baltic Klint is 1200 kilometres long, its width 3-5 km. at the narrow western end expanding to 40 km. in places eastward. It's highest point is 55.6 metres at Ontika in East Viru County. There are 4 main sections of the escarpment not all visible to the human eye as it snakes in and out of sea and terrain: Õland Klint, Baltic Sea Klint, North Estonian Klint and the Ingermanland Klint.
The oldest forests in Estonia are Klint forests. Alvars (organic growth in thin soil on limestone plains), as well as gorges (palaeoincisions) and 33 water descents abound on the North Estonian Klint. Valaste is the highest waterfall at approx. 28 m. and its canyon showcases the variegated hues of the rock's veneer. Early records of watermills erected on rapids and cascades date back to 1241, and in the 1920's a rush of small hydro-power stations appeared on waterfalls. In 1955 the enormous flow of the Narva Waterfall was redirected to the turbines of the Narva Hydropower Station. About 2 or 3 days a year they open the barricades and allow it to run au natural.
In the last two decades large tracts of Landscape Reserves have been established to protect the North Estonian Klint a stretch of 300 km. from east of Osmussaar Island to Narva. Not only is the Klint majestically beautiful, but its stalwart ridge plunges down 100 m. below the water table to the sea floor making it responsible for the fine harbours on its northern shores including Tallin's harbour. At Pakri Cape the Klint stands 24 m. above sea level exhibiting its polychromatic layers of grey limestone, green sandstone, dark brown shale and clays of blue and beige.....a most resplendent work of nature. Other points of grandeur can be admired at Harju plateau Väike-Pakri Island (13m.), Türisalu (30m.) and Rannamõisa (35m.), also the eastern cliffs at Voka (44m.) and Päite (41m.) to mention just a few.
There are numerous escarpments worldwide most notably in Europe and the United States. In Ontario, Devil's Rock, a granite escarpment east of Sudbury and north of Algonquin Park is 2,200 million years old. Another contender for attention is the capped limestone Niagara Escarpment which winds westward from Rochester, N.Y. around Lake Ontario forming a deep gorge at Niagara and continues through Hamilton (nicknamed "the Mountain") and up through Milton, the Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin Island and Michigan before it turns southward into Wisconsin finishing near the Illinois border not far from Chicago. It is l,609 km. long and at its peak l89m. The gorge and falls at the Niagara escarpment is a famous honeymoon and tourist destination renown worldwide as Niagara Falls.
Baltic Northern Klint and other escarpments