Unit 5: Russia and the Republics Physical Geography Landforms

Unit 5: Russia and the Republics
Physical Geography
Landforms and Resources
Northern Landforms
• This region can be broken down into 4 areas:
– Northern European Plain
– West Siberian Plain
– Central Siberian Plateau
– Russian Far East
Northern Landforms
• Northern European
– Lowland area
– 1,000 miles from
western border to Ural
– Chernozem-“black
earth”, very fertile soil
– Lots of agriculture in
this area
– 290 million people
inhabit this land
– Big Cities: Moscow, St.
Petersburg, Kiev
Northern Landforms
• West Siberian
– Ural Mountains
and Yenisey River
– Because this area
is tilted
northward, rivers
flow toward
Arctic Ocean
• Eurasia??
Northern Landforms
• Central Siberian Plateau
and Russian Far East
– Central Siberian:
• Plateaus: 1,000-2,000
feet are common
• Yenisey and Lena Rivers
– Russian Far East
• Volcanic ranges
• Kamchatka Peninsula
(120 volcanoes, 20
• Sakhalin and Kuril islands
Southern Landforms
• Caucasus and Other Mountains
– Black and Caspian seas
– Border between Russia and
• Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
– Tian Shan is part of a huge
mountainous region farther
– Central Asia-Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
• Ranges in this area are so high,
stops moist air from reaching the
areas beyond the mountains
Southern Landforms
• Turan Plain
– lowland
– Caspian Sea to mountains
and uplands of Central Asia
– Syr Darya and Amu Darya are
the 2 major rivers of the area
– Kara Kum and Kyzyl Kum
Rivers and Lakes
• Drainage Basins and Rivers
– Drainage Basins-area drained by a major river and
• Arctic Ocean, Caspian Sea, Pacific Ocean, Baltic Sea,
Black Sea, Aral Sea basins
– Arctic basin is the larges
• Rivers: Ob, Yenisey, Lena drain 3 million sq. mi.
Rivers and Lakes
• Lakes
– Caspian and Aral Seas
• Both are saltwater lakes
• Caspian is largest inland sea in the world
• Aral has lost about 80% of its water
volume since the 1960s due to irrigation
– Lake Baikal
Deepest lake in the world
Mile depth, 400 miles long
20% of Earth’s freshwater
Thousands of plants and animals live in the
– Only species of freshwater seal lives here
Regional Resources
• Issues with managing the
many resources of this
– Corruption
– Environmental issues
• Coal, iron ore, other
• Oil and natural gas
• Timber
• Hydroelectric power
Regional Resources
• Harsh climates, difficult
terrain, and large distances
make management
• Many resources are located
in Siberia
• Mining, oil, natural gas
production has caused
severe damage to the
• Dams and thermal pollution
have damaged plant and
animal habitats
Climate and Vegetation
Varying Climates
• Major Climate Regions
– Humid continental and subarctic dominate the
– High latitude and impact of mountains
– Because the land is so large, sea/ocean influence
doesn’t impact the majority of the region
• Continentality
Varying Climates
• Distance from sea
can impact
precipitation and
• Siberia: highs of 50
degrees, lows of -90
– Weather impacts
Varying Climates
• Warmer climates do
exist: southeastern
– Semiarid and desert
• Transcaucasia: moist air
from Mediterranean
Sea created a
subtropical climate
– Before ethnic cleansing
issues, resorts here were
a popular tourist
Vegetation Regions
• Tundra
– Mosses
– Lichens
– Low shrubs
• Forest
– Taiga-largest
forest on earth,
contains mostly
coniferous trees
– Animals: fox,
vermin, bear, elk,
Vegetation Regions
• Steppe
– Grassland
– Southern Ukraine through
northern Kazakhstan
– Fertile soil: grain
• Desert
– Plains of west and central
areas of Central Asia
– Kara Kum and Kyzyl Kum
Human-Environment Interaction
Shrinking Aral Sea
• Gets most of its water from Amu Darya and Syr
• Irrigation projects took water out of these rivers
and towards agriculture
– Sea is beginning to evaporate
• Effects of Agriculture
– Pesticides and fertilizers on cotton farms were picked
up by runoff and brought into streams/rivers
– Killing much plant and animal life in the area
– Diseases for people: cancer, respiratory issues,
dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis
“Wild East”
• Traveling through Siberia was dangerous and
slow during the 19th century
• Trans-Siberian RR-linked Moscow to Pacific
port of Vladivostok
“Wild East”
• Trans-Siberian RR
– 5,700 mi long
– 7 time zones
– 1891-1903
– 70,000 workers
– 77 million cubic feet of
land, 100,000 acres of
forest cleared

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