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Major Landforms of Russia & Central Asia Video

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  • 0:02 What is a Landform
  • 0:50 Mountains, Valleys & Canyons
  • 2:24 Rivers and Lakes
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

After watching this video, you will be able to describe the most significant landforms in Russia and Central Asia: rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys, and canyons. A short quiz will follow.

What Is a Landform?

A landform is any natural feature of the Earth's surface. So anything on the Earth's surface that isn't made by humans could be considered a landform, but especially coastlines, rivers, lakes, mountains, canyons, and valleys. Topographical maps show many landforms, especially when they include rivers.

Today, we're going to look at the landforms of Central Asia and Russia. But what exactly is that area? Well, Central Asia and Russia contain a total of six countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It wouldn't be possible to talk about all the landforms of this area in a single lesson, so instead, we'll focus on the most important ones: the largest, the longest, and the deepest.

Mountains, Valleys, & Canyons

Central Asia and Russia has no shortage of impressive mountains, since it borders on the Western and Northern Himalayas, and the Himalayan mountain range is the largest in the world. But it also happens that most of the largest Himalayan Mountains are in South or East Asia. The biggest mountain in Central Asia is Jenish Peak in Kyrgyzstan at 24,406 feet, and the tallest mountain in Asian Russia is Dykh-Tau at 17,077 feet. Both of these mountains are part of the Himalayas. However, if you include the part of Russia that is in Europe, the tallest mountain is Mount Elbrus, with its highest point at 18,510 feet.

One of the most famous valleys in Central Asia is the Fergana Valley, which crosses Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The region is unusually fertile for such a dry part of the world, thanks to the presence of the Naryn and Kara Darya rivers. The valley is 186 miles long and is home to 14 million people, and the area has been a location of ethnic conflict historically. Russia is also well known for the Valley of Geysers, which has the second largest density of geysers in the world, containing 90 geysers over a length of 3.7 miles.

The Sharyn Canyon is often described as the Grand Canyon of Central Asia. It's located in Kazakhstan and it's 96 miles long and 980 feet deep in places.

Rivers and Lakes

The longest river in Central Asia is the Syr Darya, which runs through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. It starts in the Fergana Valley and flows northwest until it reaches the Aral Sea and has a total length of 1,876 miles (including the length of the Naryn River that comes before it). But the rivers of Central Asia are eclipsed by those of Russia. The longest river in Russia is the Yenisei-Angara-Selenge Rivers that come one after another for a combined total length of 3,441 miles. This is followed by Ob and Irtysh Rivers which total 3,361 miles. The longest single-name river is probably the Lena River, which is 2,734 miles long.

The largest lake in Central Asia is so large that it covers several countries and also happens to be the largest lake in the world. It's so large that it's named a sea. The Caspian Sea has a total area of 143,200 square miles and a maximum depth of 3,360 feet. It's in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, not to mention Iran and Azerbaijan, though these latter two countries are not in Central Asia. The Caspian Sea is unusual in that it is both a freshwater lake and a saltwater lake. It has one third the saltiness of regular seawater and the Northern parts are entirely freshwater. You could argue that this makes it both the largest saltwater lake in the world and the largest freshwater lake.

Lesson Summary

A landform is any natural feature of the Earth's surface. Central Asia and Russia contain a total of six countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

These six countries have plenty of mountains since they're located on the west and north edges of the Himalayas. The tallest mountain in Central Asia is Jenish Peak (24,406 feet) in Kyrgyzstan. The tallest in Asian Russia is Dykh-Tau (17,077 feet) and the tallest in western European Russia is Mount Elbrus (18,510 feet).

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