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What Is The Geography of Europe and Russia?

What Is the Climate Like?, How Is the Land in Europe Used?

Think about the physical features where you live. Do you live near the ocean or close to the mountains? Do you live in a city or in a farming area? Think of the climate in your area. Do you have four seasons? The physical features and climate determine how people live in an area. The physical features of Europe help make it successful.



Europe portrait

Is Russia part of Europe or Asia? Russia, the largest country in the world, crosses two continents. The Ural Mountains divide Russia. They also divide the continents of Europe and Asia. The land west of the Ural Mountains is part of Europe. The land east of the Ural Mountains is in Asia.

Europe is really one big peninsula attached to Asia. A peninsula is land that has water on three sides. Look at the map. You'll see that Europe breaks into smaller peninsulas. Notice that many bodies of water wash along Europe's coast. These seas provide food. They also make trade possible with other countries.

Many mountain ranges stretch across Europe. The Alps are Europe's highest mountains. They sweep through nine countries— from Spain to the Balkan Peninsula. Many of Europe's major rivers have their source in the Alps. The rivers connect many inland cities with coastal ports.

In Europe, there are four major land areas. They are the Northwestern Highlands in the far north, the North European Plain, the Central Uplands, and the Alpine Mountain System. Locate these four areas on the map.

The Northwestern Highlands are old mountains. They are not good for farming. The North European Plain includes most of European Russia and reaches all the way to France. It is very rich farmland. It is also home to some of Europe's largest cities. Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia's largest cities, are here. In fact, more people live in this area than in any other part of Russia. The best farmland in Russia is in the North European Plain. This area includes the Don and Volga Rivers.

The Central Uplands are in the middle of southern Europe. It is made up of plateaus and mountains. This land is rocky with thin soil. People raise goats and sheep here. The Alps are the highest mountains in the Alpine Mountain System. Many people vacation here. Others have small farms in the valleys.

Europe portrait This chart shows the different elevations of the four European land areas.

Europe landscape Physical Map of Europe

Europe portrait

Europe portrait

Europe is a peninsula-shaped continent. It has four major land areas: the Northwestern Highlands, the North European Plain, the Central Uplands, and the Alpine Mountain System. Russia lies on two continents—Europe and Asia.

Europe portrait

A cause is the reason something happens. The effect is the result, or what happened. First, identify what happened. Then look for the cause, or why something happened. Because of the warm North Atlantic Current (cause), Norway's western coast is snow and ice free all year long (effect).

What Is the Climate Like?

Most of Europe has a mild climate. In fact, London is farther north than any city in the continental United States (48 states). Yet London has a very mild climate. Palm trees even grow in a part of western England! Why? The reason is the Gulf Stream, which becomes the North Atlantic Current. It carries warm water and moist, warm air to northwestern Europe. The weather is good for growing crops. It also keeps ports open. Norway's western coast is open all year.

Along the Mediterranean Sea, the climate changes. It becomes hot and dry in the summer. Winters are mild.

Europe's northernmost countries have colder winters than in the south. Inland, for those countries away from an ocean or sea, the climate is colder and drier.

Europe portrait Climate Map of Europe

How Is the Land in Europe Used?

Europe has some of the richest farmland in the world. Cattle and sheep also graze in Europe's many grassy pastures.

Europe portrait The Netherlands uses some of its land for tulip farms.

Europe portrait Land Use in Europe

Europe portrait

Europe portrait

Europe has a mostly mild climate and very rich farmland. These two features help make many countries on the continent very successful.

Additional topics

History Reference: Ancient History & World HistoryThe Eastern Hemisphere - Europe and Russia