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Page 202


Unit 4

Europe and Russia

Page 203


Introducing the Region: Physical and Human Geography


Chapter 14

Supranational Cooperation in the European Union


Chapter 15

Population Dilemmas in Europe


Chapter 16

Invisible Borders: Transboundary Pollution in Europe


Chapter 17

Russia’s Varied Landscape: Physical Processes at Work


Chapter 18

New Nation-States from the Old Soviet Empire: Will They Succeed?


What do you see in this photograph?

See page 514 for details.

Page 204


Introducing the Region: Physical Geography

Europe and Russia occupy part of the huge landmass called Eurasia. Eurasia reaches from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It is so large that geographers divide it into two continents, Europe and Asia.

Europe is the world’s second smallest continent. Oceans and seas border Europe to the north, south, and west. Asia borders Europe on the east.

Russia is the world’s largest country. It spreads over two continents. Western Russia lies on the continent of Europe. Eastern Russia stretches across Asia to the Pacific Ocean.

The Ural Mountains, at 60°E longitude, mark the dividing line between Europe and Asia, and between western Russia and eastern Russia.

Page 205


Physical Features

Europe and Russia share a landscape of sweeping plains and rugged mountains. Large rivers wander across the broad plains. These rivers drain into three of the world’s four oceans—the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Arctic oceans.


Europe

On a map, the European landmass looks like a giant peninsula attached to Eurasia. Smaller peninsulas jut out from all sides of Europe. They include the Balkan Peninsula, the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, and Scandinavia. Various seas, bays, and gulfs are tucked in between. Several big islands are also part of Europe.

Much of Europe lies on the Northern European Plain. This plain is one of the largest expanses of flat land on Earth. From east to west, it extends almost 2,500 miles. Several mountain ranges cut across Europe. The snowcapped Alps form a major barrier between central and southern Europe. The Pyrenees range separates France and Spain. The Apennines run through Italy.

Europe’s large rivers serve as water highways. They are also a source of drinking water and of power for electricity. The Danube River flows through six countries, more than any other major river in the world.


Russia

Much of Russia also lies on broad plains. The western, or European, part of Russia shares the Northern European Plain. Western Russia extends to the Ural Mountains in the east and to the Caucasus Mountains in the south.

From the Ural Mountains, eastern Russia spreads across the full width of Asia. This area is called Siberia. The West Siberian Plain is a large area of flat land with many lakes and swamps. To the east lies the Central Siberian Plateau. Rivers have carved narrow canyons through this high, flat plateau.

Russia has thousands of lakes. The largest of these, Lake Baikal, is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It holds one fifth of Earth’s fresh water. In winter, the lake is frozen with ice up to three feet deep. In summer, Baikal is warm enough for swimming.

At the eastern edge of Russia, the Kamchatka Peninsula reaches out into the Pacific Ocean. More than 100 volcanoes rise from this finger of land. No roads or railroads connect the peninsula to Siberia. Everything must arrive by airplane or boat.

Page 206


Climate

Two factors shape the climates of Europe. The first is latitude. Areas to the south of the Alps enjoy more temperate climates than those areas to the north.

The second factor is relative location. Areas near the ocean have a marine climate. Marine means found in or close to the sea. Ocean winds and warm ocean currents help keep temperatures about the same all year.

Inland areas far from the sea have a continental climate. Continental means influenced by a large landmass, like a continent. Cooling ocean breezes in summer and warming ocean currents in winter do not affect places with a continental climate. As a result, summers are usually hotter than near the sea, while winters are longer and colder.


Europe

Every year, crowds of tourists head to the Mediterranean Sea for vacation. Southern Europe has a Mediterranean climate. Its summers are longer, hotter, and drier than in northern Europe. Mediterranean winters are short and mild.

Most of northern Europe enjoys a marine west coast climate. A warm current that flows across the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico keeps winters from becoming too cold. Cool ocean breezes keep summers from becoming too hot. These same breezes bring year-round rain to northern Europe.


Russia

Russia is known for its long, harsh winters. The Arctic Ocean on Russia’s northern border is frozen most of the year. As a result, it does not have a marine influence on Russia’s climate. In some areas, snow covers the ground for eight or nine months of the year.

The most northern part of Russia has a tundra climate. The weather is so cold all year that the land is always frozen. Winter temperatures can drop as low as –90°F.

Much of Siberia has a subarctic climate. Winters are still long and very cold. Summers are too cool and short for farming.

Areas to the south and west have milder climates. Much of western Russia has a humid continental climate. Winters here are still freezing cold, but summers can be hot and steamy. The most southern parts of Russia have a semiarid climate. Here the hot summers and cool winters are both fairly dry. Most of Russia’s crops are grown in these areas with longer growing seasons.


(caption) Moscow, the capital of Russia, has a humid continental climate. When are people living in Moscow likely to have very high heating bills?

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