Plains are the most important part of the terrain
If you look at the physical map of the world, you can see that mountains and plains are the main types of terrestrial relief, with plains exceeding mountain ranges by area. Most of the population of our planet lives on the plains, which are distinguished by fertile soils and a favorable climate for farming.
Interestingly, not all continents are equally equal. Most of the plains are located in Africa (about 84%), in Asia, vice versa - 57% of the continent's territory is occupied by the largest mountain systems of the world: Tibet, Altai, Himalayas, Pamir, etc.
What are the plains and how they appeared
Before finding out the history of the appearance of plains and classify them by existing types, let us define the term itself. In principle, the very word itself contains the answer to the question of what plains are. These are flat areas at the bottom of the oceans or on the surface of the Earth, often occupying vast areas. The largest plain on our planet is the Amazon lowland in South America.
The plains differ from each other by their geological structure, relief pattern, and height. Briefly, geologists explain their appearance on land in the following way: sometime in prehistoric times, at the place where the plains now lie, mountains rose, then over a long period these mountains were destroyed by earthquakes until they almost completely leveled out.
At first glance, it may seem that the plains are practically flat spaces. In fact, their relief is complex and diverse. Thus, in some areas of the Earth, the plains are really almost flat, for example, in semi-deserts north of the Caspian Sea, in other places their surface is crossed by ridges, hills and ridges - hills with gentle slopes. Such a hilly plain is, for example, Eastern European.
Classification of plains by altitude
It is not difficult to describe the plain, because, as we have already found out, this term implies the vast expanse of land with flat or hilly relief. All plains, depending on the height at which they are located relative to sea level, are divided into several types.
- The first is the lowlands.They can be located either below sea level, like the Caspian Sea, or their height does not exceed 200 meters above sea level, as, for example, in West Siberian. Where the crust bends, coastal plains are located. One of these places - Padanskaya lowland, where the city of Venice is located.
- Elevations are the next type of plains. Their height above sea level ranges from 200 to 500 meters. Elevations are a mixture of hilly and flat spaces, such as the Central Plains of North America.
- The highest plains on Earth are plateaus with flat or hilly relief, located at an altitude of 500 m to 1 km and above. An example of a plateau can serve as the Anatolian in Turkey or the Altiplano in South America.
the East European Plain
The second largest plain in the world is the Eastern European, which is also called the Russian. It extends from the coast of the White Sea in the north to the coast of the Caspian Sea in the south. The Russian plain belongs to the type of elevations, since its average height above sea level reaches 170 m.
For most of its climate is temperate continental, only in the far north subarctic.Despite urbanization, almost half of the territory of the East European Plain is covered with forests, and in some of its districts, the reserves Askania Nova, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Vodlozersky National Park, and others are created.
West Siberian Plain
Between the Central Siberian Plateau and the Ural Mountains is the West Siberian Plain - the third in size after the Amazon and Russian. Its main feature is a very flat relief. The climate throughout its territory is continental with a sharp temperature drop and unstable weather.
The Siberian plain is rich in minerals. In addition to gas and oil, iron ore, peat, lignite are mined here. On the territory of the plain there are about a million lakes of various sizes and several plant zones: tundra, forest-tundra, forest-steppe, forest-swamp and steppe.
The severe swampiness of large areas is another distinctive feature of the Siberian Plain. This is due to several reasons: permafrost, low temperatures, flat terrain, excessive moisture.
In conclusion, we note that the relief of the plains is most convenient for economic activity and life, therefore, their territories are largely modified by humanity.