Western Siberia in Russia


Western Siberia is a territory extending 2,500 kilometers from the Arctic ocean to the dry steppes of Kazakhstan and 1,500 kilometers from the mountains of the Urals to the Yenisey river. About 80% of the Western Siberia is located within the West Siberian plain, which consists of two flat bowl-shaped heavily waterlogged depressions separated by increased up to 175-200 meters Siberian Oval. On the South-East of the West Siberian plain, rising gradually replaced the foothills of the Altai, Salair, Kuznetsk Alatau and Mountain Shoria. The total area of Western Siberia is 2.4 million square kilometers.

Geology and orography of the Western Siberia.

In the basis of West Siberian plain lies West Siberian plate. On the East it borders with the Siberian platform in the South of the Paleozoic structures of Central Kazakhstan, the Altai and Salairsko-Sayan region, in the West – with folded system of the Urals. Northern boundary of the plate is unclear, it is covered by the waters of the Kara sea. In the basis of West Siberian plate is Paleozoic Foundation, the depth of which is, on average, 7 kilometers. The most ancient Precambrian and Paleozoic rocks in Western Siberia come to the surface only in mountainous regions the South-East, while in the Western Siberian plain they are hidden under a thick sedimentary rocks. West-Siberian plain – young subsiding platform, the speed and magnitude of the immersion of the individual sections of which are different.

Education of the West Siberian plate began in the top jure, when as a result of breaking, destruction and rebirth a huge area between the Urals and the Siberian platform dropped, and there was a huge sedimentation pool. In the course of his development of the West Siberian plate not once was captured marine transgressions. At the end of the lower Oligocene left the sea of the West Siberian plate, and it turned into a huge lake-alluvial plain. In the middle and late Oligocene and Neogene period the Northern part of the plate experienced a rise, which in the Quaternary was replaced by lowering. The General course of the development of the West Siberian plate with a lowering of the enormous spaces reminiscent not preserved till the end of the process океанизации. This feature of the West Siberian plate emphasizes the phenomenal development of waterlogging.   Remains many obscure and disputed in the issues about the nature, size and number of ancient glaciation of Western Siberia. It is believed that the glaciers occupy the entire Northern part of the plain to the North from 60 degrees Northern latitude. Due to the climate continentality and low rainfall glaciers on the West Siberian plain were underpowered, lethargic and not left behind a powerful moraine savings. 

Western Siberia landscape

The Climate Of The Western Siberia.

Western Siberia is almost at the same distance as from the Atlantic ocean, and from the center of continental Eurasia, therefore, the climate of the Western Siberia is moderately continental. In winter and in summer, when an inflow of Atlantic air weakens, in Western Siberia enters the Arctic air. Deep penetration of Arctic air masses contributes to the lack of mountainous terrain and its openness to the North. The average January temperature decreases from -15 in the southwest to -30 to the North-East of Western Siberia, the average July temperature increases from +5 in the North to +20 in the South. Most continental differs North-East of Western Siberia, where the difference in average temperatures of January and July reach 45 degrees.  

Hydrography Of Western Siberia.

Western Siberia the Rivers of Western Siberia belong to the basin of the Kara sea. The largest water artery of the Western Siberia – the Ob river with the tributary of the Irtysh river is one of the greatest rivers of the world. Ob river is formed at the confluence of the Biya and the Katun river, originating in Altai, and flows into the Ob Bay of the Kara sea. Among the rivers of Russia, it occupies the first position in the basin area and the third water. In the forest zone, to the mouth of the river Irtysh, Ob river takes its main tributaries: the right – the river Tom, Chulym, ket’, the Tym, the Vah, the left – rivers Parabel, Vasyugan, Large Yugan and Irtysh. The major rivers of the North of Western Siberia – Nadym, PUR, and Taz originate on the Siberian Habitats.

 Geographic zoning of Western Siberia.

Western Siberia covers five natural zones: tundra, forest-tundra, forest, forest-steppe, steppe, and lowland and mountain areas of the Salair, Altai and Kuznetsk Alatau and Mountain Shoria. Perhaps nowhere else on the globe zonality of natural phenomena is not manifested with the same accuracy as in the West Siberian plain.

The tundra, which occupies the Northern part of the Tyumen region has an area of about 160 thousand square kilometers has no forests. Lichen and moss tundras Western Siberia occur in combination with herbal and lichen-sphagnum and coarsely tuberous marsh arrays.

Area of forest-tundra stretches to the South of the tundra strip about 100-150 kilometers. As a transition zone between tundra and taiga she represents a mosaic of woodland areas, swamps, dense bushes. The Northern limit of woody vegetation in Western Siberia is presented with crooked forests of larch, occupying areas along the valleys of the rivers. Forests cover the area between 66 and 56 degrees North latitude, a strip of approximately 1000 kilometers. It includes the Northern and middle parts of the Tyumen region, Tomsk region, the Northern part of the Omsk and Novosibirsk regions, occupying approximately 62% of the territory of Western Siberia. The forest zone of West Siberian plain is divided into sub-zone of the Northern, middle and southern taiga and birch-aspen forests. The main type of zone forests are dark coniferous forests dominated by Siberian spruce, Siberian fir and Siberian pine or cedar.  Western Siberia dark Coniferous forests are found almost always ribbons along the river valleys, where they find the conditions required for them drainage. On watersheds, they are confined only to the hilly, elevated places, and the flat territory of Western Siberia are mostly occupied by marshes. The most important element of taiga landscapes of Western Siberia – lowland bogs, transitional and raised bog type. Forest cover in Western Siberia is only 30.5% and is the result of a weak dissection and associated weak drainability the whole territory of Siberia.

Western Siberia landscape - 2

The West Siberian plain is characterized by exceptional water and waterlogging, her middle and Northern part of Western Siberia are one of the most waterlogged spaces on the earth’s surface. The world’s largest marsh tracts – Vasyugansky is situated in the southern taiga of Western Siberia. Along with dark coniferous forests on the West Siberian plain pine forest, dedicated to the sand drifts ancient alluvial plains and to the sandy terraces of the river valleys. In addition, within the forest zone pine is a characteristic tree sphagnum bogs and forms a kind of Association of sphagnum pine forests on waterlogged soils. Forest-steppe zone of Western Siberia, adjoining to the deciduous forest zone is characterized by the presence and forest and steppe plant communities, as well as bogs, marshes and meadows. Forest vegetation of the Western Siberia forest-steppe zone is represented by birch and aspen-birch forests that meet islets or in the form of groves, usually dedicated to a saucer-like depressions, the main forms the background and grassy meadow grass steppes. A characteristic feature of the forest-steppe of Western Siberia is the abundance of saline inland lakes. Steppe zone of Western Siberia covers the southern part of Omsk and the southwestern part of Novosibirsk regions and Western part of the Altai territory. Within the area of the ancient hollows glacial flows grow tape pine forests of Western Siberia. The considerable height of the mountains of Western Siberia leads to development here altitudinal zonation. In vegetation cover in the mountains of Western Siberia the leading position is occupied by forests, covering about 50% of the territory of the Altai. High-mountainous zone of Western Siberia are clearly developed only in the Altai mountains. Forest Salair, Kuznetsky Alatau, North-Eastern and Western parts of Altai are characterized by a wide development of relict formation cherncvaya taiga, which is found only in the mountains of South Siberia. Among cherncvaya taiga river basin Condoms is a relic “lime island” – section of false forest area of about 150 square kilometers, which is viewed as a remnant of tertiary vegetation Western Siberia. 

Biodiversity Of Western Siberia.

Western Siberia landscape - 3

The least variety in all zonal areas of Western Siberia differ higher vascular plants. On average flora of Western Siberia poorer compared with adjacent regions is approximately 1.5 times, the gap is especially large for a taiga and tundra zones. Higher relative diversity of fauna is characterized by the Western Siberia. So, in four main units of the mammals of the Western Siberia there are 80 species for East Siberia and the European part of Russia respectively 94 and 90. Species common with East Siberia – 13, with the European Russia – 16, common to all the three regions – 51, found only in the Western Siberia – no. The biggest variety of different bird fauna of Western Siberia, the main part of the species were in Western Siberia – migratory. The total number of species of birds Western Siberia none of the zonal area is not significantly inferior to the adjacent regions, and on the aquatic and wading superior to them.
The main cause of poverty of flora and fauna of the Western Siberia is often considered the consequences of the Pleistocene glaciation, the former in its territory the most devastating, as well as the remoteness of the mountain refuges, feeding the migration flow in the Holocene.

Administrative division of the Western Siberia

On the territory of Western Siberia are Tyumen, Tomsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo regions, and also parts of Kurgan, Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions, and the Altai and Krasnoyarsk territories. The largest city in Western Siberia – Novosibirsk situated on the river Ob.

Western Siberia is the Most developed industries in Western Siberia are mining (oil, gas, coal) and a forest. The present Western Siberia produce over 70% of Russian oil production and natural gas, about 30% of coal, about 20% of the country of wood.

On the territory of Western Siberia is currently operating a powerful oil and gas producing complex. With a powerful layer of sedimentary rocks of the West Siberian plain associated largest deposits of oil and natural gas. The area of oil and gas land is about 2 million km2.

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