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Estonia is a European country located in the northwestern portion of Eastern Europe The Baltic Sea borders Estonia to the west Latvia is on the southern border and the Russian Federation is located on the eastern border Northern Estonia faces the Gulf of Finland and beyond that is its northern neighbor Finland Estonia is the smallest of the Baltic States with an area of only 17400 square miles roughly the size of Vermont Estonia is mainly flat with an average elevation of 50 meters There are upland areas in the southeast where the hill Suur-Munamagi the highest point in the Baltics stands at 317 meters 10 of the total area of Estonia is made up of the more than 1500 Islands off the western coast The largest of the islands Saaremaa and Hiiumaa are connected to the mainland by regular ferry and airline traffic The coastline of the Baltic Sea in Estonia has many bays straits and islets A gradual uplift of the earths crust results in new islands con stantly appearing and the area of older ones increasing The coastal sea in Western Estonia and the Gulf of Riga are shallow and full of shoals Winds and not tides affect sea water levels The average height of waves is less than 1 meter but may reach as high as 6 meters during storms The Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Riga freeze over only in extremely cold winters The straits between islands and the mainland freeze over I mid January and stay frozen for about 3 months The depth of ice can reach 32 inches by March There are over 1400 natural and manmade lakes in Estonia The largest lake Lake Peipsi covering 3555 square kilometers and the largest artificial body of water Narva Reservoir covering 190 square kilometers are located on the border with the Russian Federation Both lakes have a maximum depth of 15 meters The deepest lake is Rouge Suurjarv
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