Chapter 14 The Physical Geography of Russia
Study Guide for Apollo
Study Guide for Apollo
Chapter 14, Section 1
Terms to Know
chernozem - A rich, black soil (page 346)
hydroelectric power - Electric power generated by falling water (page 348)
permafrost - A layer of soil beneath the surface of the ground that stays frozen year-round (page 349)
Introduction (page 345)
The Soviet Union broke up into 15 republics in 1991. Russia is the largest of these republics.
A Vast and Varied Land (page 345)
Russia is the world’s largest country in land area. Much of its land is made up of mountains and plateaus.
A. The Ural Mountains divide European Russia from Asian Russia. The Urals are an old, worn-down range.
B. The Caucasus Mountains are located in southwestern Russia. The highest point in Russia is Mount Elbrus, an extinct volcano in the Caucasus range.
C. The Central Siberian Plateau covers a large area of the country. Swiftly flowing rivers have carved out canyons. Mountains on the southeastern edge of the plateau form the boundary between Russia and China.
D. In far Northeastern Russia, the Kamchatka Peninsula contains 23 active volcanoes.
Vast plains span nearly half of Russia:
A. Most of European Russia is part of the North European Plain. Most large Russian cities are located in this region. The northern part of the plain has many lakes and swamps. The southern part has navigable waterways and a rich, black soil, known as chernozem, that supports farming.
B. The West Siberian Plain lies east of the Ural Mountains. It is one of the worlds’ largest areas of flatland.
Many important bodies of water are found in Russia:
A. Russia has the longest continuous coastline in the world. The Russian coast touches both the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. The Arctic coast is frozen most of the year.
B. The Black Sea, in southwestern Russia, provides a warm-water outlet to the Mediterranean Sea.
C. The Caspian Sea is actually a saltwater lake. It is the world’s largest inland body of water.
D. Lake Baikal, located in southern Siberia is the world’s deepest freshwater lake.
Rivers (page 348)
Russia’s longest rivers are located east of the Ural Mountains in Siberia.
Since most of Russia’s people live in western Russia, they often experience water shortages.
A. The Volga River is important for European Russia. The river, its tributaries, and canals link the capital city of Moscow to the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Sea of Azov. The river also provides Russia with hydroelectric power, which is generated by falling water. The Volga also provides the country with water for drinking and irrigation.
B. Most of the rivers in Siberia, such as the Ob, Irtysh, Yenisey, and Lena, flow north to the Arctic Ocean. These rivers freeze in the winter. In the spring, the southern parts of the rivers thaw before the northern parts, creating floods and large swamps.
Natural Resources (page 349)
Russia has abundant natural resources. Many of the resources, however, lie
in places that are difficult to reach. Russia has the greatest reserves of mineral resources in the world. It has large oil reserves and 50 percent of the world’s coal reserves. Russia also produces copper, silver, gold, lead, and salt. Russia is a leading producer of hydroelectric power.
Because of Russia’s cold climate, only about 10 percent of the land is usable for agriculture. Because of permafrost, a layer of frozen soil that lies beneath the surface of the ground, little farming occurs in northern Russia. Millions of acres of fertile farmland stretch from Ukraine to southwestern Siberia. This area produces crops such as wheat, rye, oats, and barley.
About one-fifth of the world’s forested lands are located in Russia, most in eastern Siberia. These forests supply much of the world’s timber. Commercial logging, however, is quickly depleting Russian forests.
Fishing is an important industry in Russia. Russia produces salmon from the Pacific Ocean and herring, cod, and halibut from the Arctic Ocean.
Chapter 14, Section 2
Terms to Know
tundra - A vast, treeless plain (page 352)
taiga - A forest belt that covers two-fifths of European Russia and much of Siberia (page 353)
steppe - A temperate grassland area with dry summers and long, dry winters (page 355)
Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula experiences extremes in weather. Much of Russia has extreme cold and long winters.
Russia’s Climates and Vegetation (page 351) Most of Russia has a harsh climate with long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Eastern Siberia experiences the coldest winter temperatures. Most of Russia lies far away from the ocean and the moderating influences it can have on climate.
High Latitude Climates (page 352)
Extremely cold winters and short summers characterize Russia’s high- latitude climates. Temperatures between winter and summer vary greatly. A vast, treeless plain called tundra covers much of Russia’s northern landscape. Almost the entire tundra climate region is located north of the Arctic Circle. The tundra covers about 10 percent of Russia. Because of a short growing season, only mosses, lichen, and dwarf shrubs grow there.
The subarctic climate region lies south of the tundra. Some of the world’s coldest temperatures occur in this climate region. The subarctic climate supports the taiga. This is a forest belt that covers two-fifths of European Russia and much of Siberia. The taiga is the world’s largest coniferous forest.
Russians have to adjust all aspects of their lives to live in the extremely cold climate. They use a great deal of energy to heat their dwellings. They also wear several layers of clothing made from wool or fur to protect themselves outdoors. Manufacturers use special kinds of materials to construct buildings and automobiles.
Mid-Latitude Climates (page 354)
Most Russians live in Russia’s mid-latitude climates. These climates have milder winters and warmer summers than the high-latitude climates. A humid continental climate is found in most of Russia’s North European Plain.
Mixed coniferous-deciduous forests are found in this climate. Soils are generally more fertile than in the taiga. Farther south in the mid-latitude climate region, The mixed forests merge into temperate grasslands. The fertile chernozem soil makes these grasslands ideal for growing crops such as wheat and barley.A steppe climate region is located in a small area between the Black and Caspian Seas and a thin band along Russia’s border with Kazakhstan. The steppe climate region has dry summers and long, cold, dry winters. The steppe contains rich chernozem soil. Grasses, sunflowers, mint, and beans flourish in the steppe.