Amazing European Plain Facts: Here's What You Need To Know! | Kidadl


Amazing European Plain Facts: Here's What You Need To Know!

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Stretching across the vast European continent lies one of the most extraordinary plains of the Earth, which are the European plains.

This plain land with flat terrain sweeps across countries like northern France, southern Scandinavia, parts of Germany, Poland, and many other important countries of western Europe. This region is also noticeable and holds importance due to its array of large water bodies like the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, North Sea, and so on.

The physiography of the entire Europe can be distinctly segregated into four crucial regions: the central uplands, Alpine region, western uplands, and north European plain. This plain land is solely responsible for giving Europe its low elevation because the width of this plain land is over 2,000 mi (3,219 km). The climate and vegetation of this region also vary significantly across its two ends. While the western part sports a maritime climate because of its closeness to the sea, the entire eastern region is landlocked and has a continental climate.

The main river that flows along this plain is the Rhine, which flows for about 865 mi (1,392 km) before meeting the North Sea. If you have ever been to this vast plain land, or are planning your next trip here, then you will notice that there are multiple languages spoken across the European plain. From Polish to Russian, this plain land also has a population speaking Ukrainian, Slovak, Croatian, and so on. Just like the language, the European plain also sports cultural diversity, from the French to Swedes. However, keeping aside this cultural diversity, the people also have shared similarities due to their roots in village life. Their essence of village life is maintained to date in their traditional agricultural style. The rich chernozem soil also helps in the sustenance of agriculture. Apart from having a farming base, this plain region also has centers of industrial growth, and the industrial boom has completely upturned the rural-urban boundaries in this plain. If you are intrigued to know more about this amazing land, then you are in the right place. Read on to find more about this vast expanse!

Geography Of The European Plain

The European plain, which is one of the vastest plains standing on the Earth's surface, runs from the Ural mountains of Russia in the east to Pyrenees ranges and Bay of Biscay of France in the west.

If moving from north to south, the entire continent of Europe can be segregated into four physical regions. These are western uplands or northern highlands, plain of northern Europe or simply the north European plain, followed by central uplands and the mighty Alpine region. This plain region of Europe is a vast stretch of land, which extends from the Ural mountains (Russia) in the east to Pyrenees ranges in the west, along the borders of France and Spain. The western and the north-western shores of this plain are washed by Atlantic waters, while the north-eastern shores are washed by Arctic waters. In the southeast, this plain is bordered by the waters of the Mediterranean basin. Although there are many highlands present in this plain, this entire area is mountain-free, and it is a region of flat terrain. This plain is dissected into two parts, which are named the plains of eastern Europe or east European plain, and north European plains, also called the plains of central Europe or middle Europe. The entire plain that lies in western Europe is relatively narrower when compared to its eastern counterpart, which lies in western Russia.

The section of central Europe stretches across northern France, western France, entire Poland, Belgium, southern parts of Scandinavia, The Netherlands, and the north section of Germany. The average elevation of the north European plain is between 0-650 ft (0-200 m), and the entire area is used for farming. This section of plains also includes numerous lakes, bogs, and heaths. There are further sub-regions of north European plain, namely north German plain, Polish plain, English flatlands, Baltic lowlands, and low countries.

North European plain stretches into Russian plain or east European plain. This section of the plain in eastern Europe covers Ukraine, Moldova, the majority of Baltic nations, Romania, Belarus, along with European parts of Russia. The average elevation of this section is 560 ft (170 m ). Valdai Hills, or simply the Valdai, is the highest point of the East European plain with an elevation of 1,138 ft (346 m).

The European plain is characterized by contrasting climatic patterns. While the western side faces a maritime climate much like southern Europe, the eastern side has a continental climate. The western part has more influence on the ocean waters resulting in warm, soothing summers and mildly cold winters. The maritime climate ensures that summer temperatures are not too high, and winter temperatures don't make the land chilly. In contrast to this, eastern sections of this plain have hotter summers and extremely cold winters. This section receives rainfall only during the warmer months, and there are no distinct spring or fall seasons.

The hydrology of great European plains is an interesting factor as this plain is cut through by several mighty rivers. This includes the Rhine, Loire, and Vistula that are flowing through the western part of this plain; north-flowing rivers of this plain are Daugava and northern Dvina, and south-flowing rivers of this plain are Don and Dneiper. The plain also hosts a few important large bodies of water, like the North Sea, White Sea, Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, the English Channel, and so on. The North Sea forms the mouth of several rivers, like Rhine, Glomma, Elbe, and likewise. The Baltic Sea is known for hosting multiple islands like Gotland, Wolin, Stockholm archipelago, and so on.

Plant And Animal Life

Contrasting vegetation patterns dominate the flora of the great European plain region, and the fauna of this plain is much similar to that of the rest of Europe.

North European plain is dominated by diverse vegetation. This plain has vast stretches of coniferous and deciduous forests, but these are mere remnants of the thick mixed forests encompassing floral varieties of elm, ash, oak, maple, and more such trees. Today there are multiple patches of fields and nearby villages in this area. Strong contrast in vegetation can be noticed in the eastern part. The southern part of the east plain is dominated by semi-arid grasslands. As one moves northwards, these semi-arid grasslands give way towards more humid areas of taller grasses. To the north of these grasslands, you will find a hardwood forest belt. Further north, there is a coniferous forest belt, beyond which lies the tundra vegetation. In the tundra region, there are minimal floral varieties, and this tundra region includes vegetation like low shrubs, grasses, lichen, sedges, mosses, and so on. This vegetation type withstands the harsh cold due to numerous physical adaptations.

The animal life of this plain is very much in tune with the rest of Europe. The only difference is in their numbers, which have reduced drastically owing to the expansion of human settlement and natural system modifications. European bison calls this region its home, which is found in parts of Germany, Poland, and Belarus. In the Pyrenees region, you will see brown bears. These bears are also noticeable in the Balkans, but their numbers have reduced due to massive poaching. The European pine marten is a small and agile animal that is found in the plain regions of Russia. In contrast, the European green lizard is located in Ukraine, parts of Germany, and Romania.

European plains provide extensive flatlands for vegetation and human settlement.

Importance Of The Plain

The entire European plain holds economic significance because it plays an essential role in agriculture. It is also vital from a transportation and communication viewpoint.

European plain, especially the section of the plains in northern Europe, plays a vital role in transportation. This plain region of northern Europe hosts multiple navigable rivers, like the Elbe and Oder. It also includes the Rhine, Vistula, and Weser rivers. Along with some canals, these rivers build an excellent network of transport, through which coal or iron ore were transported earlier. With time, the need for faster transportation arose, which made way for the rail network to develop in this region. The extensively flat terrain allowed unhindered railway construction in this area.

Although the entire plain has long been an agricultural hub, leaving out the smaller towns and cities, this trend continues to date. The eastern part of this plain still remains a critical agricultural zone to date. The latter half of the 19th century saw the establishment of heavy industrial zones in this plain, which spread from Ruhr Valley in Germany to The Netherlands and Belgium following the route of Rhine. Today these regions have significant concentrations of industries, like the steel industry, coal industry, and chemical industry.

The most densely populated area of this plain is the northern European plain. This region is densely populated due to the presence of agriculture in this area. Agriculture has thrived well in the north of European plains due to the high soil fertility. Chernozem is the most prominent soil found in this region, which supports a large number of crops. The densely populated northern European plain followed their traditional two-field system of rotational crops. The high soil fertility is related to this system because the soil is left fallow for almost six months so that it can rejuvenate itself. This traditional system made way to the three-field system, which is more refined. This region supports crops like wheat and barley, even rye, in the fall season. Almost three-quarters of the Russian population lives on the northern European plain. Moscow and St. Petersburg are two of the major Russian cities situated in the northern European plain region.

<p>With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature.&nbsp;</p>

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