In zoogeographic terms Europe belongs to the Palearctic zoogeographical zone. Human activities (deforestation, farming, hunting, etc.) have changed the make-up and distribution of wildlife, and sometimes even have led to the extinction of certain species. For the alpine tundra typical are the arctic fox and partridge, and in coastal areas there are gulls eiders and seals. Moose, wild boar, fox, wolf, brown bear, wildcat, hedgehog, rabbit, squirrel, deer, and various birds inhabit the forest areas. The steppes and Continue reading “Animals”
Vegetation in Europe was completely formed after the quaternary glaciations. Throughout human history vegetation underwent major changes caused by human activity. In many areas crops largely replaced wild vegetation. Many crops originated in Europe. The islands in the Arctic Ocean belong to the Arctic Wasteland Zone and are devoid of trees and shrubs. Lichens and mosses predominate there. The Tundra zone covers the northernmost parts of the Russian plain, the Kola Peninsula and the Scandinavian Peninsula as well as coastal Iceland. There prevail shrubs, mosses, lichens and Continue reading “Vegetation”
The distribution of soil types in Europe is linked to the latitude, but the zoning is often modified by climatic and topographical features. The tundra soil type is most common in Eastern Europe and in Iceland. The mountainosu tundra soils are typical for Scandinavia. Much more widespread in Europe are the podsolic soils, which are common in Northern Britain, Scandinavia, Finland, Poland, Northern Germany, Denmark and the northern part of Russia. In Central Europe the podsolic soils are replaced by brown soils (distributed from Britain to the eastern slopes of the Carpathian maountains, and in the mountains Continue reading “Soils”
Europe has a well developed network of rivers. The largest rivers on the continent are situated in the Russian planes. The largest river in Europe is Volga Kama and its tributaries Oka. Other major rivers are the Don, Dnieper, Dniester. The rivers Pechora and Northern Dvina flow into the Arctic Ocean and the rivers Neman, Neva, Vistula, Odra (Oder), Elba (Laban) and others flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The rivers in Fennoscandia and on the Kola Peninsula are short, torrential with many rapids and waterfalls (Glomma, Tura, etc.). The largest rivers in Western Europe are the Danube, Rhine, Seine, Thames, Loire, Garonne, Rhone and others. All these rivers are deep and with high waters almost all year round. Rivers in Southern Europe are more shallow and in the summer the water levels go down. Some of these are the rivers Continue reading “Hydrography”
Most of Europe lies in the temperate latitudes and only its most southern and northern parts are in the subtropics or north of the Arctic Circle. The influence of the Atlantic is enhanced by the warm Gulf Stream current and the very segmented European coastline. Of great importance is the location of the mountain ranges, which do not hinder the movement of air currents from the west to the east. Cyclonic activity is lower in summertime (the average rate during the warmest month is 28° in the south and 3° in the north), and in winter it increases (the average rate. During the coldest month is respectively 12° and 20°). In most of Europe there is enough rainfall but it is unevenly distributed. While rainfall in Western Europe is in surplus (in Scandinavia and Britain it is more than 2000 mm), in Eastern Europe it is insufficient (for example in the Caspian Sea Valley the rainfall is 100-500 mm). In Europe the temperatures are mostly temperate. The western regions are characterized by moderate coastal climate (with small annual temperature variations, mild winters and relatively warm summers) and the eastern regions are characterized by moderate continental climate (with significant variations in the average annual temperatures, cold winters, warm, and in some places very hot summers). The subtropical zone of Europe has Mediterranean climate (hot dry summers and mild wet winters).
From Northern Europe’s mountainous region to the south rolls a large strip of valleys, hills and spacious depressions covered in part by shallow bodies of water (The English Channel, North and Baltic seas). It is situated on the territory of Northern France, Southeast England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, the northern parts of Germany, a large party of Poland, Southern Sweden and the Russian flatlands. To the south there is a range of medium high mountain ridges and crests typical for Central Europe. The most prominent of them are The Central French massif (1886 metres at its highest point), the Bohemian massif (1456 metres at its highest point) and a large part of the British Isles. Farther down to the south Continue reading “Geography II”
Europe’s relief varies enormously. 17 % of its territory is covered by mountains (1,5 % of which are more than 2000 meters high) and that is why the average altitude of the continent is rather low – about 300 meters. There are a number of regularities in the distribution of the larger relief forms – the mountains are followed by hills, planes and valleys and the major orographic zones are running mostly from the southwest to the northeast. The mountain ridges are of various geological ages. In the north of Europe are the Scandinavian mountains (height up to 2568 m), which make a gigantic dome rolling steeply to the Atlantic Ocean. Numerous deep valleys and fjords segment their western part. The Baltic and the Southern Continue reading “Geography I”
Europe’s coastline (38 000 kilometers long) is very segmented especially in the west and in the south. The islands and peninsulas comprise more than one third (34,6%) of Europe’s land. The largest islands are situated along the western coastline of the continent: Great Britain, Iceland, Ireland; in the south – the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, and to the north – Novaya Zemlya, Franz Joseph Land, Svalbard. To the north the largest peninsulas are the Scandinavian Peninsula and the Kola Peninsula, and to the south – the Iberian Peninsula, the Apennine Peninsula, the Balkan and the Crimean peninsulas. Europe’s shores are of various geological kinds.