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Russia Guide > Russian landforms

Russian landforms

The Russian landscape is diverse and fascinating and it contains some of the most spectacular natural sights in the world. From the mighty Urals and Caucasus Mountains to Lake Baikal – the largest freshwater lake on the planet, Russia has it all.

Russian Plains

The majority of Russia is however made up of plains and in fact, over 70% of the country is accounted for in this way. In total, 1,180 million hectares are comprised of plains and this figure comprises much of Siberia and the eastern half of Russia.

In turn, the plains can be split into three distinct areas – the West Siberian Plain, the East European Plain and the Russian Steppes.

Russian Mountain ranges

Much of Russia is mountainous and these ranges contribute to the second largest of the Russian landforms. While the Urals and the Caucasus are arguably the most famous, there are in fact over 40 separate ranges inside Russia including the Yablonoi Mountains, the Ergaki and the Chersky Range.

Overall, Russia’s mountains cover a vast surface area and while many are measured below the 1,000 metre mark, there are some mighty structures here including Mount Elbrus which, at 5,642 metres is the tallest mountain in Europe and the tenth tallest in the world overall.

Russian Lakes

When it comes to discussing lakes in Russia there really is only one place to start: Lake Baikal is the largest and oldest freshwater lake in the world and its dimensions are almost too immense to even comprehend.

In terms of basic figures, Baikal covers 31,722 square kilometres and with an average depth of over 744 metres, it is also the deepest body of water on the planet. It is believed to be over 30 million years old and contributes greatly to the number of lakes that make up the fascinating array of Russian landforms.

Overall, most lists consist of 51 Russian lakes in total but it’s clear that Baikal eclipses them all.

Inland Sea

The Caspian Sea: Is it a lake or is it truly a sea? In much the same way as there are divided opinions as to whether Pluto is a planet, it largely depends on your point of view. It certainly contains saltwater, although only at a level of around 33% compared with other seas.

What is known however is that the Caspian Sea is vast and, in total, it consists of 3,626,000 square kilometres. In fact, its basin spans five countries but those five include Russia and as such, it is a worthy inclusion on the list of Russian landforms.

Other contributory factors

Aside from the main landforms listed here, there are many fascinating natural wonders across Russia. The landscape is vast and as the largest country in the world, you would expect to see a differing collection of nature’s work and the sum total is the most fascinating collection of natural phenomena on the planet. Waterfalls, volcanoes, islands and hills can be added to the inventory, making this one of the most diverse countries in the world from a nature point of view.

Matt Harris

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