Baltic Shield, the continental core of Europe, composed of Precambrian crystalline rock, the oldest of Europe. The tectonically stable region was not affected by the Caledonian, Hercynian, and Alpine mountain-building periods of Europe, although mountains did rise along the edges. The exposed portion of the Baltic Shield is found in Finland, Sweden, and Norway. During the Pleistocene epoch, great continental ice sheets scoured and depressed the shield's surface, leaving a thin covering of glacial material and innumerable lakes and streams. The ancient rocks have yielded a rich variety of minerals, especially iron and copper. In W former USSR the Russian Platform is that portion of the Baltic Shield buried beneath a great thickness of sedimentary rock.
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