|Primary outflows||Motala ström|
|Catchment area||4,503 km2 (1,739 sq mi)|
|Surface area||1,912 km2 (738 sq mi)|
|Average depth||41 m (135 ft)|
|Max. depth||128 m (420 ft)|
|Water volume||77.0 km3 (18.5 cu mi)|
|Surface elevation||88 m (289 ft)|
|Settlements||Vadstena, Jönköping, Hjo, Askersund, Åmmeberg, Karlsborg|
Vättern (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈvɛtːɛɳ] is the second largest lake (by surface area) in Sweden, after Vänern and the sixth largest lake in Europe. It is a long, finger-shaped body of fresh water in south central Sweden to the southeast of Vänern pointing at the tip of Scandinavia.
One of the etymologies for the name Vättern is from "vatten", the Swedish word for water. This origin is, however, unclear and in dispute. It has also been suggested that the archaic term "vätter", meaning forest or lake spirits, is the origin of the lake's name.
The lake's total surface area is about 1,912 km2 (738 sq mi), with a drainage basin a little over double that, about 4,503 km2 (1,739 sq mi). The deepest known point, located to the south of the island of Visingsö, is 128 meters (420 ft). The average depth is 41 meters (135 ft). The lake has a perimeter of about 642 km (399 mi). The volume is 77.0 km3 (18.5 cu mi). These numbers tend to be fixed, as the level of the lake is regulated.
Situated in Götaland, the lake is drained by Motala ström, starting at Motala, and flowing ultimately through a controlled canal into the Baltic Sea. The lake includes the scenic island of Visingsö, located outside Gränna. Other towns on the lake include Vadstena, Jönköping, Hjo, Askersund, Åmmeberg and Karlsborg. It is bounded by the Provinces of Västergötland, Närke, Östergötland and Småland.
In the north there is a scenic but not mountainous inland fjord, Alsen. About 62% of the drainage basin is still covered with spruce, pine and deciduous forest. About 26.7% is dedicated to agriculture.
While many of smaller lakes in southern Sweden are thought to have originated by glacial stripping of an irregular weathering mantle in the last 2.5 million years Vättern formed by tectonics as a graben 700 to 800 million years ago in the Neoproterozoic. Granitic basement rocks in the lake are deformed (foliated) by the Protogine Zone that crosses the area. The basin is partially filled by sedimentary rock of the Visingsö Group of Neoproterozoic age. This group include rocks such as conglomerate, sandstone, arkose and carbonates. The older of these sediments deposited before the Vättern came into existence as a graben. Acritarch microfossils such as Chuaria circularis are common in Visingsö Group.
Vättern is located in a graben that was formed by crustal movements in the east-west direction 40 to 50 Mya. During the most recent millions of years multiple glaciations have covered the lake and its surroundings, leaving glacial striations and drumlins as they receded.
The present-day lake began as an independent body of water left by the receding Scandinavian glacier after the last glacial period around 10,000 BP. It became a minor bay of the Baltic ice lake. Most of the lake's relict species (like the Arctic char) date from that time. Subsequently, it was a bay of Yoldia Sea and then became connected to Ancylus Lake, discharging from the north end of its extent. At about 8000 BP an accident of the uneven Scandinavian isostatic land rise brought Vättern above Ancylus and the two became distinct.
The annual post-glacial rebound today is 3.5 mm (0.14 in) in northeastern Motala and 2.6 mm (0.10 in) in southern Jönköping. This means that Vättern is tilting to the south by 1 mm (0.039 in) every year.
The lake contains both phytoplankton and zooplankton, such as Copepoda and Cladocera. The benthos species include Crustacea, Oligochaeta, Diptera and Bivalvia. In addition are several species of fish, including Salvelinus salvelinus, Coregonus lavaretus and Salmo salar. The lake is known for its Vättern char, as it is called, Salvelinus alpinus.
Vättern has been famous for the excellent quality of its transparent water. Many of the municipalities in the area receive their drinking water directly from Vättern. The lake water requires very little treatment before being pumped into the municipal systems and the natural, untreated water can be safely drunk from almost any point in the lake. It has been suggested that Vättern is the largest body of potable water in the world. The surrounding municipalities process 100% of their sewage.
Vättern is known for the annual recreational cycling race Vätternrundan, attracting some 20,000 participants to finish the 300 km trip around the shores of the lake.
Vättern is also noted for its fishing, serving people in the nearby districts. Tourist sport fishermen and vacationers are free to fish in the lake as long as they don't use nets. The lake is also used for commercial fishing.
The drainage basin
A number of industries provide employment in the drainage basin: mining, manufacturing, forestry and paper. Agriculturalists raise cattle, sheep, swine and poultry.
Admirable, above the rest, are the incomprehensible wonders of the bottomless Lake Vether, over which no fowl flies but is frozen to death, nor any man passeth but he is senselessly benumbed like a statue of marble.
All the inhabitants round about it are deafened with the hideous roaring of his waters when the winter breaketh up, and the ice in his dissolving gives a terrible crack like to thunder, whenas out of the midst of it, as out of Mont-Gibell, a sulphureous stinking smoke issues, that wellnigh poisons the whole country.
- Seppälä, Matti (2005). "The Physical Geography of Fennoscandia". Oxford University Press: 145. ISBN 978-0-19-924590-1.
- Lidmar-Bergström, K.; Olsson, S.; Roaldset, E. (1999). "Relief features and palaeoweathering remnants in formerly glaciated Scandinavian basement areas". In Thiry, Médard; Simon-Coinçon, Régine. Palaeoweathering, Palaeosurfaces and Related Continental Deposits. Special publication of the International Association of Sedimentologists. 27. Blackwell Science Ltd. pp. 275–301. ISBN 0-632 -05311-9.
- Andréasson, Per-Gunnar; Rodhe, Agnes (1990). "Geology of the Protogine Zone south of Lake Vättern, southern Sweden: A reinterpretation". GFF. 112 (2): 107–125.
- Wikström, Anders; Karis, Lars (1993). "Note on the basement-cover relationship of the Visingsö group in the northern part of the Lake Vättern basin, south Sweden". GFF. 115 (4): 311–313. doi:10.1080/11035899309453918.
- Talyzina, Nina M. (2000). "Ultrastructure and morphology of Chuaria circularis (Walcott, 1899) Vidal and Ford (1985) from the Neoproterozoic Visingsö Group, Sweden" (PDF). Precambrian Research. 102: 123–134.
- "Fakta om Vättern" (in Swedish). Archived from the original on August 6, 2009.
- ""Fakta om Fisk, fiske och Fiskevård". A four page brochure from Sweden's Fishing Institute" (PDF) (in Swedish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-05-26. Retrieved 2005-11-02.
- Global Lake Monster Database
- Medieval Nordic Literature in Latin: Sancta Katherina
- Nashe, Thomas. Ed. J.B. Steane. The Unfortunate Traveller and Other Works. Penguin, 1972, p. 223.
- (in Swedish)
Media related to Vättern at Wikimedia Commons