Photographic Book Turkey
Russia geography ans relief
Photographic Book Russia

Russia can be divided into three broad geographical regions: European Russia, consisting of the territory lying west of the Ural Mountains; Siberia, stretching east from the Urals almost to the Pacific Ocean; and Far Eastern Russia (or the Russian Far East), including the extreme south-east and the Pacific coastal fringe. The majority of the country lies north of latitude 50° N, and a sizeable portion lies north of the Arctic Circle. In terms of climate and vegetation it therefore lies, broadly, within the Temperate and Polar zones. However, its sheer size means that Russia contains a wide variety of biomes, including the steppes of the south, the deserts of Central Asian Russia, the taiga of the subarctic regions, and the tundra of the polar north. The country’s agricultural resource base is limited by climate and, to a lesser degree, soils. The vastness of Russia’s territory and its varied geological formations, however, provide a rich mineral resource base that is unmatched by any other country in the world.

Russia relief and geography
Mountains of Russia
Both the forest-steppe and the steppe have fertile soils and together form a region, known as the black-earth belt, that is the agricultural heartland of Russia. The forest-steppe has black chernozem soils that are high in humus (organic material) content and have the right balance of nutrients for the cultivation of most crops. The forest-steppe has a better moisture supply than the steppe during the growing season, and consequently is the best agricultural area of Russia. The soils of the steppe, known as brown-steppe soils, are not quite as rich in humus as the chernozems to the north, but are very high in the minerals that are the main source of plant nutrients.
Russia mountains. Encarta
Russia’s geology is extremely complex and its varied landscapes reflect the impact of different physical processes, containing features that have evolved separately during different geological epochs. Very simply, the republic consists, in the west and north, of the world’s largest plain, fringed, on the south and east, by a discontinuous belt of mountains and plateaux. The upland and mountain regions include most of Siberia and extend to the margins of the Pacific.
European plain

European Russia is primarily a rolling plain with an average elevation of about 180 m (590 ft). The terrain has been formed by millions of years of water, wind, and glacial action on nearly horizontal strata (layers) of sedimentary rocks. In some places, notably the north-western border region with Finland, the softer sedimentary rocks have been eroded away, exposing the underlying basement complex of hard igneous and metamorphic rocks. The topography is generally mountainous in these areas of outcropping, particularly in the north, where a maximum elevation of 1,191 m (3,906 ft) is reached in the Khibiny Mountains of the central Kola Peninsula. Otherwise, the relief of the European Plain, with minor exceptions, is modest. Other surface features owe their origins to glaciation during the Pleistocene ice age. Among these are several broad marshy areas, such as the Meshchera Lowland south-east of Moscow along the Oka River.

Ural mountains
The European Plain terminates in the east at the Ural Mountains, a series of mountain ranges that were formed about 250 million years ago when, as a result of continental drift, Siberia collided with Europe during the formation of the ancient continent of Laurasia. Millennia of erosion have worn much of the mountains away and, today, the Urals are topographically unimpressive. The average elevation is only about 600 m (1,970 ft); Gora Narodnaya (“People’s Mountain”) in the north, is the highest point, at 1,894 m (6,214 ft) above sea level. The Urals are, however, important because they contain a wide variety of mineral deposits, including mineral fuels, iron ore, non-ferrous metals, and non-metallic minerals.

To the east of the Urals the plain region continues in the West Siberian Lowland. This expansive and extremely flat area is poorly drained, and is generally marshy or swampy.

Just east of the Yenisey River the rolling upland of the Central Siberian Platform begins. Elevations here average about 500 to 700 m (1,650 to 2,300 ft) above sea level. In all areas rivers have dissected, or eroded, the surface and in some places have formed deep canyons. The region’s geological structure is complex; a basement of igneous and metamorphic rocks is covered in many places by thick sedimentary rocks and volcanic lavas. The Central Siberian Platform is rich in a variety of minerals.

East siberian uplands
Relief of Russia
To the east of the Lena River the topography consists of a series of mountains and basins. The higher ranges in this region, such as the Verkhoyansk, Cherskogo, and Kolyma, generally reach maximum elevations of about 2,300 to 3,200 m (7,550 to 10,500 ft). On the eastern margins with the Pacific Ocean, the mountains are higher and steeper, and volcanic activity becomes prevalent. This volcanism is caused by contemporary plate tectonic activity, that is, by the collision between the Pacific and North American plates at this point. Earthquakes are also characteristic of this area. There are 120 volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula, 23 of which are currently active; the highest, Mount Klyuchevskaya, reaches an elevation of 4,750 m (15,584 ft).
Russia relief. Encarta
The volcanic mountain chain of Kamchatka continues southward in the Kuril Islands, which contain about 100 volcanoes, 35 of which are active. The formation of these islands is also the result of the collision between the two plates. "Russia," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2008 © 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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