Taking its place among some of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, the Ural has been in existence for over 250 million years. They are truly a spectacle, especially given the sheer stretch that they cover. The Urals run for about 1600 miles through the western part of Russia from north to south. The mountains of this range start from the coast of the Arctic Ocean and extend to the Ural River and parts of northwestern Kazakhstan. These mountain ranges also form a boundary separating Europe from Asia. The Ural mountain range is subdivided into regions of varying topography, these regions include:
Regions of the Ural Mountain Range
The Polar Ural
Which starts from the north at Mount Konstantinov Kamen and spans about 239 miles and moves southward to the Khulga River; this region is characterized by a combination of mostly sharp-ridged rocks with instances of flattened ones.
Nether Polar Ural
This is where the highest ridges of the mountain ranges are found with altitudes reaching up to 6,217 feet. This region has seen considerable glacial activity both modern and in the past dating back to Pleistocene.
The Northern Ural
It consists of primarily flattened tops and altitudes of the ranges lie between 3,300 and 3,900 feet. Here weathering as a geological process has led to wide areas of eroded stone on the slopes of the mountain.
The Middle Ural
It is made up of smooth mountain tops which make up the lowest part of the larger Ural. At this region the make-up is more diverse than the other areas of the Ural composed of parallel ranges as well as innumerable valleys.
The Southern Urals
This area stretches some 340 miles with considerably middle ranges with the maximum heights being Mt. Yamatau at 5,380 feet.
Lakes and Rivers in the Ural Region
Given its enormous coverage, many rivers and lakes originate from the Urals. Evaporation resulting from the climate in this region causes a significantly larger volume of the western rivers in comparison to the eastern rivers; this is more prevalent in the northern regions and the nether-polar. The lakes of the Ural are quite deep with the deepest being Lake Bolshoye Shchuchye going as deep as 446 feet. Other lakes in the region have attracted human activities such as the creation of spas to utilize the rejuvenating benefits of the mud in these lakes.
The Urals also play host to a wide array of plants and animals. The plant life varies with the regions of the Urals. For instance, Northern regions are composed of several types of conifers and birches. The polar forests are swampy with lichens and shrubs while the southern Urals have coniferous forests and tree species such as the elm. The animals dwelling in the Urals are truly diverse. Reptiles are represented by the common viper and grass snakes, bird species include cuckoos, black and hazel grouses, and the typical mammals inhabiting Siberian regions include the wolverine, lynx, wolf, and squirrels.
Economic Significance of the Urals
The Urals is a reserve of nature that is rich in diversity and a truly picturesque landscape coupled with an abundance of minerals, which make it a Russian treasure. This abundance of natural resources in the Ural mountain region has, however, threatened the biodiversity in the area.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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