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Occupying most of the area between the Yenisey and Lena rivers, the Central Siberian Plateau comprises a series of sharply dissected plateau surfaces ranging in elevation from 1,000 to 2,300 feet (300 to 700 metres).

Toward its northern edge the Russia’s remaining territory, to the south and east, constitutes about one-fourth of the country’s total area and is dominated by a complex series of high mountain systems.

A belt of low mountains and plateaus 1,150 to 1,500 feet (350 to 460 metres) high flanks the Ural Mountains proper along the eastern edge of the Russian Plain.

The north-south spine of the Urals extends about 1,300 miles (2,100 km) from the Arctic coast to the border with Kazakhstan and is extended an additional 600 miles (1,000 km) into the Arctic Ocean by Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago that consists of two large islands and several smaller ones.

Of these basins the most extensive by far is the Lena (2,734 miles [4,400 km]).

Their catchments cover a total area in excess of 3 million square miles (8 million square km) in Siberia north of the Stanovoy Range, and their combined discharge into the Arctic averages 1,750,000 cubic feet (50,000 cubic metres) per second.Smaller, but still impressive, rivers make up the remainder of the Arctic drainage: in the European section these include the Kolyma.The Siberian rivers provide transport arteries from the interior to the Arctic sea route, although these are blocked by ice for long periods every year.Covering an area well in excess of 1 million square miles (2.6 million square km)—one-seventh of Russia’s total area—it stretches about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) from the Urals to the Yenisey and 1,500 miles (2,400 km) from the Arctic Ocean to the foothills of the Altai Mountains.Only in the extreme south do elevations exceed 650 feet (200 metres), and more than half the plain lies below 330 feet (100 metres).In the north, where the watershed is close to the coast, numerous small rivers descend abruptly from the mountains, but the bulk of southeastern Siberia is drained by the large Volga.

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