Physical Geography

The shores of Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' are washed by the Barents, White, and Kara seas. On land, it is bordered by Karelia, Vologodskaya and Kirovskaya Oblasts, Komi Republic, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Tyumenskaya Oblast'. Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' is largely a lowland country. A few plateaulike watersheds, sometimes hilly and wet, are elevated 150-270 m above sea level (Konoshskaya and Nyandomskaya Uplands, Belomorsko-Kuloyskoye Plateau). A vast swampy Pechora Lowland comprising Bol'shezemel'skaya and Malozemel'skaya tundras lies east of the Timan Range. The northwestern part of Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' is occupied by the Vetrenny Poyas Ridge (up to 344 m above sea level). In the east, there are Timan (303 m), Kanin Kamen' (242 m), and Pay-Khoy (467 m) ranges.

The climate of Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' is severe, with cold winters. The mean January temperature is -12.5oC in Arkhangel'sk and -18.4°C in Amderma. The mean temperature of July is 17°C in the south and 8-10°C in the northeast.

Fogs are frequent on the White Sea coast (40-60 days during a year). On the whole, the weather conditions are variable. The mean annual precipitation is

300-400 mm in Nenets Autonomous Okrug to 500-550 mm in the south. The growth period for vegetation is as long as 50-60 days in the northeast to 150-155 days in the south. Permafrost is common in the northeast part of Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' north of 66° N.

Coastal waters are shallow with numerous banks ("koshki"). Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' has a dense network of rivers and lakes. All the rivers (except the Ileks) belong to the drainage basin of the Arctic Ocean. The largest of them are the Severnaya Dvina (with the Vychegda, Pinega, and Vaga tributaries), Onega, Mezen', and Pechora. From 50% to 65% of the annual flow occurs with autumn floods. Outside flood periods, most rivers are shallow. There are about 2500 lakes in Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' mostly located in the Onega drainage basin and in the northeastern part of the region. The largest are Lakes Lacha, Kenozero, and Kozhozero.

A major part of the territory lies in the taiga zone, its northeastern part in the tundra while oceanic islands are covered by Arctic deserts and glaciers. Forests occupy about 40% of Arkhangel'skaya Oblast'.

The fauna includes many commercially valuable species, such as ptarmigan and willow grouse, squirrel, alpine hare, red fox, wolf, brown and polar bears, hazel and black grouses, and capercaillie.

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