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Land Regions Of Russia

Дата публикации: 01 сентября 2007
Публикатор: Александр Павлович Шиманский
Рубрика: RUSSIA (TOPICS) - Topography →
Источник: (c) http://russia.by
Номер публикации: №1188645401 / Жалобы? Ошибка? Выделите проблемный текст и нажмите CTRL+ENTER!

Many scientists divide Russia into four zones according to soil conditions and plant life, which are based mainly on climate. The zones form broad belts across Russia, and no sharp transitions separate them. From north to south, the zones are (1) the tundra, (2) the forest zone, (3) the steppes, and (4) the semidesert and mountainous zone.

The tundra lies in the northernmost part of Russia. It is largely a treeless plain. The tundra has short summers and long, severe winters. About half the region has permanently frozen soil called permafrost. Few people live in this bleak area. Plant life consists chiefly of low shrubs, dwarf trees, and moss. Animals of the tundra include reindeer, arctic foxes, ermines, hares, and lemmings. Waterfowl live near the Arctic Sea in summer.

The forest belt lies south of the tundra. The northern part of this belt is called the taiga. It consists of coniferous (cone-bearing) trees, such as cedar, fir, pine, and spruce. This area has poor, ashy soil, known as podzol, that makes it largely unfit for agriculture. Farther south, the coniferous forests give way to mixed forests of conifers, aspen, birch, elm, maple, oak, and other species. The soils in this zone support agriculture in some areas, and the area has a mild, moist climate. Brown bears, deer, elk, lynx, reindeer, and smaller animals such as beavers, rabbits, and squirrels roam the forests.

Grassy plains called steppes stretch across Russia south of the forests. The northern part of the steppe zone consists of wooded plains and meadows. The massive southern part is largely a treeless prairie. The best soils in Russia--brown soil and black, rich soil called chernozem--are found there. Most of the steppe zone is farmland. Birds, squirrels, and mouselike mammals called jerboas live in the steppes. Antelope live in the eastern steppes.

The semidesert and mountainous zone, the southernmost zone in Russia, has diverse soils and climate due to variations in elevation. It includes the dry, semidesert lowlands near the Caspian Sea, as well as the lush vegetation and mild climate of the Caucasus Mountains.

Geologists also divide Russia into five land regions that differ from the soil and vegetation zones. From west to east, the regions are (1) the European Plain, (2) the Ural Mountains, (3) the West Siberian Plain, (4) the Central Siberian Plateau, and (5) the East Siberian Uplands.

The European Plain makes up most of the European part of Russia. It is the most densely populated region in the country. The European Plain is predominantly flat, averaging about 600 feet (180 meters) above sea level. Most of the nation's industries are there, but the plain is poor in natural resources. Forest covers much of it. The region is home to a variety of animal life. The Caucasus Mountains rise at the southern edge of the plain, between the Black and the Caspian seas. The mountains include 18,510-foot (5,642-meter) Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe.

The Ural Mountains form the traditional boundary between the European and Asian parts of Russia. These mountains, worn down by streams, reach an average height of only about 2,000 feet (610 meters). The middle and southern Ural Mountains are rich in deposits of iron, copper, and other metals. The middle section is the region's most heavily populated and highly industrialized area. Major cities in the region include Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk.

The West Siberian Plain is the largest level region in the world. This enormous plain covers more than 1 million square miles (2.6 million square kilometers) and rises no more than 500 feet (150 meters) above sea level. It is drained by the Ob River system, which flows northward into the Arctic Ocean. But drainage is poor, and the plain is marshy. Rich in oil and natural gas deposits, the West Siberian Plain is being developed rapidly. The cities of Novosibirsk and Omsk lie in the region.

The Central Siberian Plateau slopes upward toward the south from coastal plains along the Arctic Ocean. It has an average height of about 2,000 feet (610 meters). Streams cut deeply through the region. The Sayan and Baikal mountains rise more than 11,000 feet (3,350 meters) along the plateau's southern edge. Thick pine forests cover much of the Central Siberian Plateau, and its climate reaches extremes of heat and cold. The region has a wide variety of rich mineral deposits. Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk are its largest cities.

The East Siberian Uplands are mainly a wilderness of mountains and plateaus. The mountains rise to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) and form part of a series of ranges along the eastern coast of Asia and some offshore islands. About 25 active volcanoes are found on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The tallest volcano, snow-capped Klyuchevskaya, rises 15,584 feet (4,750 meters). The region has valuable mineral resources, but its harsh climate makes it difficult to tap them. Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean and Khabarovsk on the Amur River are the region's most important cities.

Опубликовано 01 сентября 2007 года

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