World Geography

Chapter 15

RUSSIA AND THE REPUBLICS

Describe the terrain of the northern two third of the region. The Northern European Plain is an extensive lowland area. Describe the terrain of the southern third of the region. The southern areas of Russia and Republics feature towering mountains, barren uplands, and semiarid grasslands. Identify two main lakes of the region. Caspian and Aral. Identify resources and explain why they are difficult to develop. Coal, Iron ore, and natural gas. Harsh climates, rugged terrain, and vast distances make it difficult for Russia and Republics to remove resource from the ground and transport them to market. FOCUS Would you expect that Russia and the Republics are rich or poor in natural resources? Poor Why? It is difficult for them to remove the resources from the ground, making them low on coal, iron ore, and natural gas. NORTHERN LANDFORMS In general, how does the landscape of the northern two thirds of the region change from west to east? Moving form west to east, they are the Northern European Plain, the West Siberian Plain, the Central Siberian Plateau, and the Russia Far East. Which area has the richest agricultural land, the most people, and the largest cities? Luxembourg is the richest country, and Russia is the most populated. SOUTHERN LANDFORMS What physical features characterize the southern third of Russia and the Republics? Towering mountains, barren uplands, and semiarid grasslands. What border do the Caucasus Mountains form? The mountains form the border between Russia and Transcaucasia – a region that consists of the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Where is the Turan Plain, and what is it like? It lies between the Caspian Sea and the mountains and uplands of Central Asia. Much of the lowland is very dry. Two large deserts stretch across the plain. RIVERS AND LAKES What is the region’s largest drainage basin, and what three rivers drain into it? The Arctic basin is the regions largest, and the Ob, the Yenisey, and the Lena drain into it. What are the two of the largest lakes in the region? The Caspian and Aral seas are the largest lakes in the region. Why is Lake Baikal unique? Twelve hundred species, including the worlds only fresh water seal, are unique to Lake Baikal. REGIONAL RESOURCES What are some of the resources that have been developed in Russia and the Republics? Coal, iron ore, oil and natural gas. Why might extracting and transporting the region’s resources be difficult? One challenge has been how to transport resources from harsh and distant regions. Another has been how to use the resources without damaging the environment in the process. What other challenges face regional leaders? Dramatic political and economic change in recent years will continue to make resource management difficult. Leaders will have to balance the need for economic growth with their responsibility to protect the environment. HUMAN ENVIRONMENT Why might people in the Aral Sea area be reluctant to cut back on irrigations projects? Without irrigation, crops cannot grow, and income would be lost. What steps might be taken to prevent further shrinkage of the Aral Sea? Switch to crops that require less water, ration the water used for irrigation, and promote other economic activities in the region. SECTION 2 ASSESSMENT Places & Terms: Explain the importance of each of the following terms and places: Chernozem– It sometimes occurs in layers three feet deep or more. Because of the high quality of its soil, many of the regions agricultural areas are located on this plain. Ural Mountains – The Ural Mountains separate the Northern European and West Siberian plains. Some geographers recognize the Urals as a dividing line between Europe and Asia. Eurasia – Some people consider Asia and Europe to be a single continent, which they call Eurasia. Transcaucasia – A region that consists of the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Central Asia – A region that includes the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Siberia – Siberia is the part of Russia that lies on the continent of Asia. Businesses find it difficult to attract workers to this severe region. What is the name of the region’s westernmost lowland? Northern European Plain. What mountain range separates Russia from Transcaucasia? Caucasus Mountains Why might a large part of the region’s population live on the Northern European Plain? Most of the major agricultural regions are located there. b. What factor contributes to the dry conditions on the Turan Plain? The mountains along the southeastern border of the region prevent moist air from entering the region from the south. Why is the Volga one of the region’s most important rivers? It carries a great deal of the region’s river traffic. Geographic Thinking Why has resource management been a problem for leaders in Russia and the Republics? It is difficult to access resources in remote and harsh regions of Siberia. The extraction of resources has often taken place with too little regard to the effects on the environment. CLIMATE AND VEGETATION: Identify the main climates of Russia and the Republics and the influences on the region’s weather. Russia and the Republics have some very cold climates, but the region also features warmer climates such as the subtropical areas of Transcaucasia, and the semiarid and desert zones of Central Asia. Describe four major vegetation regions of Russia and the Republics. They run east to west and wide strips. Moving from north to south, they are the tundra, forest, temperate grasslands, and desert. What North American country has climates and vegetation regions similar to those in Russia and the Republics? Canada Why are they similar? Much of Canada lies in the same latitudes What are the two main climates of the region? Humid continental and sub arctic What are three influences on these two climates? High latitude, the wall of mountains in the southeast and continentality. What effects does continentality have on the region’s climates? It causes low precipitation and extreme temperatures. VEGETATION REGIONS From north to south, what are the four main vegetation regions of Russia and the Republics? Tundra, forest, steppe and desert What is the name of the largest forest on earth? The taiga What kind of vegetation does the steppe have? Grass OBJECTIVES Identify the causes and effects of the shrinkage of the Aral Sea/ Before the 1960s, these rivers delivered nearly 13 cubic miles of water to the Aral Sea every year. But in the 1950s, officials began to take large amounts of water from the rivers to irrigate Central Asia’s cotton fields. Largescale irrigation projects, such as the 850-mile-long Kara Kum canal, took so much water from the rivers that the flow of water into the Aral slowed to a trickle. The sea began to evaporate. Describe how Russia’s harsh winter has been both an obstacle and an advantage to the country. Scientists have recorded the most variable temperatures on earth in Siberia. In the city of Verkhoyansk, temperatures have ranged from -90”F in the winter to 94” in the summer- a span of 184 degrees. But most of the time it is cold. Temperatures drop so low that basic human activities become painful. The change of seasons brings little relief. Warmer weather melts ice and snow and leaves pools of water that become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and black flies. The problem becomes severe in the spring. Explain the significance of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. It crosses vast stretches of wilderness, where there are forested mountains and open plains and where the climate is cold and snowy. What would you do if environmental pollution seriously damaged your health or threatened to shorten your life span? File a lawsuit, protest, join an environmental group, move. Why has the Aral Sea lost about 80 percent of its water since 1960? Because officials have diverted water from the two major rivers that feed the Aral sea. What other environmental problems affect the area? Pollution from pesticides and fertilizers have killed native fish species and damaged the residents health. What would have to be done to keep the lake at its present levels? Significantly limit the amount of land in the region given to agricultural use. THE RUSSIAN WINTER What problems do Siberia’s residents face in the winter and in the summer? Temperatures drop do much during winter that basic human activities become painful. In the summer, insects become a serious problem. How does Siberia’s climate affect construction? Heated buildings thaw the permafrost, which can cause buildings to sink, tilt, and fall over. How did Russia’s harsh winter help the country in the early 1800s? It helped to turned back Napoleon’s invading armies. CRITICAL THINKING Read “The Shrinking Aral Sea” What is the Cause? Officials began to take large amounts of water from the rivers to irrigate Central Asia’s cotton fields. Large-scale irrigation projects, such as the 850-mile-long Kara Kum canal, took so much water from the rivers that the flow of water into the water slowed to a trickle. The sea began to evaporate. Name 4 Effects: Of the 24 native species of fish once found in the sea, none are left today. The retreating waters of the Aral exposed fertilizers and pesticides, as well as salt. Windstorms began to pick up these substances and dump them on nearby populations. This pollution has caused a sharp increase in diseases. Crossing the “WILD EAST” What made the building on the Trans-Siberian Railroad an enormous undertaking? The rails had to be laid across thousands of miles of a bitter cold, undeveloped region. Why did Russian officials want to build the Trans-Siberian Railroad? To speed up travel and populate the region so that its resources could be developed. How did the railroad affect the development of the region? Millions of settlers came, and resources such as coal and iron ore were extracted. SECTION 3 ASSESSMENT Places and Terms Explain the importance of the following terms: Runoff Rainfall not absorbed by the soil that runs into streams and rivers. The runoff carried the chemicals into the rivers that feed the Aral, with devastating effects. Trans-Siberian Railroad Travel through the region was dangerous and slow. For these reasons, Russia’s emperor ordered work to start on a Trans-Siberian Railroad that would eventually link Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. What precautions must builders take in Siberia? Why? They build on concrete pillars so that the heat from the buildings doesn’t thaw the permafrost, causing the buildings to topple over. MAIN IDEAS Why is the Aral Sea shrinking? Large-scale irrigation projects have diverted water away from its main tributaries, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya. How has the region’s harsh climate helped its inhabitants? The regions harsh winter has helped to defeat invading armies. What were the main reasons for the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad? Russia’s leaders wanted to speed up travel times, populate Siberia, and exploit its wealth of resources. Pg 357 TIME ZONES How many time zones are there in the continental United States? Four. What is the current time in the time zone in which you live? 4:45PM What is the current time in Greenwich England? 10:45PM If it is 6:00 Sunday morning in New York, what are the day and time in Auckland, New Zealand? It would be Sunday night at 10:00PM CHAPTER 15 REVIEW: Briefly explain the importance of each of the following. Chernozem It sometimes occurs in layers three feet deep or more. Because of the high quality of its soil, many of the regions agricultural areas are located on this plain. 2. Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains separate the Northern European and West Siberian plains. Some geographers recognize the Urals as a dividing line between Europe and Asia. 3. Eurasia Some people consider Asia and Europe to be a single continent, which they call Eurasia. Transcaucasia A region that consists of the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Central Asia A region that includes the republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Siberia Siberia is the part of Russia that lies on the continent of Asia. Businesses find it difficult to attract workers to this severe region continentality Much of the region is hundreds of miles from the moderating influence of the sea. taiga The Taiga contains primarily coniferous tress. Many fur-bearing animals, such as sable, fox, and ermine, live in the taiga, Elk, bear, and wolves also make their homes in the forest. runoff Rainfall not absorbed by the soil that runs into streams and rivers. The runoff carried the chemicals into the rivers that feed the Aral, with devastating effects. Trans-Siberian Railroad Travel through the region was dangerous and slow. For these reasons, Russia’s emperor ordered work to start on a Trans-Siberian Railroad that would eventually link Moscow to the Pacific port of Vladivostok. B. Answer the questions. 11 What is the name of the region crossed by the Trans-Siberian Railroad? The railroad crosses Siberia. What region is located south of the Caucasus Mountains? Transcaucasia is south of the Caucasus Mountains. What is chernozem and where is it found? Chernozem is a fertile soil found on the Northern European Plain. How can runoff affect the environment? If runoff holds dangerous substances, it will affect the rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water into which it flows. What are the five republics located in Central Asia? Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are located there. Why are the Ural Mountains important for geographers? Many geographers consider this range to be a major boundary line between Europe and Asia. What is the name of the non-European part of Russia? It is often called Siberia. Which vegetation region allows Russia to boast one-fifth of the world’s timber resources? This region is called the taiga. Why do Russia and the Republics receive limited precipitation? Because of the regions distance from surrounding seas, it receives limited precipitation. Which landmass is named after the continents of Asia and Europe? Eurasia includes Europe and Asia. Main Ideas What facts could your provide to give an idea of the enormous size of Russia and the Republics? The region covers approximately three times the land area occupied by the United States and sprawls across the continents of both Europe and Asia. How does the tilt of the West Siberian Plain affect the region’s physical geography? The regions rivers flow northward, taking much needed water from the arid lands of the south. How is the region’s use of its resources affected by climate? Many of the regions resources are located in frigid arctic and subarctic regions of Siberia and are virtually inaccessible. What are major influences on the region’s climate? High latitude, mountain barriers, and distance from the sea. How does latitude affect the type of vegetation found in Russia’s forest? In lower latitudes, coniferous trees begin to give way to deciduous trees. Where is the steppe located in Russia and the Republic? It extends from southern Ukraine through Kazakhstan to the Altay Mountains. What effect have irrigation projects had on the Aral Sea? They reduced the flow of water into the sea, which began to evaporate. How has the shrinking of the Aral Sea affected public health in the surrounding region? The shrinking exposed the polluted shores of the Aral. Windstorms spread the pollution over nearby populations, causing increases in many diseases. What factors contribute to the formation of swamps in Siberia; and how do the swamps affect people living in the region? Northward flowing rivers, swollen by spring rains, run into still frozen water further north. The resulting swamps become breeding grounds for insects. How long did it take to complete the main line of the Trans-Siberial Railroad? The railroad was built between 1891 and 1903. CRITICAL THINKING: Which region contains a large number of volcanoes? The Russian Far East Who was General Winter? “General Winter” describes the impact of the Russian winter on invading troops, including Napoleon’s. 2 a HUMAN-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION How has Siberia’s climate affected transportation in the region? When Siberia’s rivers and lakes freeze during the winter, people often use them for roads. b MOVEMENT What impact did the Trans-Siberian Railway have on Russia’s population? It increased the population of Siberia dramatically. Within ten years after the railways completion, nearly five million people had taken the railway form European Russia to settle in Siberia. IDENTIFYING THEMES What factor might explain why Russia and the Republics receive relatively little precipitation and frequently experience extreme temperatures? Which of the five themes applies to this situation? Continentality, or the effect of distance from the moderating influence of surrounding seas; location. Determining Cause and Effect What is a major factor contributing to the large subtropical climate zone in Transcaucasia? The moist air flowing into the region from the Mediterranean sea, 5. Drawing Conclusions Give what you have read about the dependency of Central Asian farmers on the water from Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers, how likely do you think it is that the Aral Sea will eventually recover? Opinions will very, but some students may argue that a solution is unlikely because the removal of the millions of acres of farmland from irrigation to save the sea would be too high a cost for the region’s farmers. MAPS This map shows how close mining sites are to polluted area. Why might the two be related? Because mine operators have not taken adequate measures to reduce the impact of their mines on the surrounding environment, How might locating a mining site near a river affect the spread of pollution? If pollution from the mine is discharged into the river, the river will carry the pollution downstream, 3. Why might the area around Moscow and St. Petersburg be polluted even though there seem to be few mining sites nearby? As large urban areas, the two cities generate considerable pollution.

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