Geography of Murmansk region
About the Region
Murmansk Region is the subject of the Russian Federation formed on May 28, 1938 and located in the Northwest of the European part of Russia. Is a part of the Northwestern Federal District. The area of Murmansk region makes 144,9 thousand sq.km (0,86% of the area of Russia), population for January 1, 2013 – 780,4 thousand people, population density - 5,4 people on sq.km. Murmansk region belongs to the high-urbanized regions of Russia (the share of urban population – 92,7%). Indigenous small people of the North live here, the most numerous of which are Sami (according to the All-Russian population census of 2010 - 1,6 thousand people).
On the geographical position Murmansk Region is the unique region. It is located on Baltiysk crystal board in Northern Europe, on the Kola, Rybachiy and Sredniy peninsulas. In the West it shares borders with Norway and Finland, in the south shares borders with the Republic of Karelia and through the White Sea - with Arkhangelsk Region. It is washed by the White and Barents seas. Islands are a part of the region: Aynovskiy, Velikiy, Sem and Kildin.
Such geographical position is a real mineralogical treasury having no match on a variety of minerals and mineral resouces. More than 1000 minerals (1/3 of all known on the Earth) were found in its subsoil. More than 150 of them are not found anywhere else.
The main mineral resouces in the territory of the region is apatite (Hibinsky fields of apatite - nepheline ores). Apatites are valuable raw materials for phosphoric fertilizers, they were extracted on the territory of Murmansk Region since pre-war times, nepheline is used for production of alumina — raw materials for the aluminum industry, soda and cement production. Secondary, there are iron ores (about 10% of the Russian production) Kovdorsky field Apatite, zirconium ore (brazilite), mica-phlogopite and vermiculite (the largest world reserves) also is extracted on Olenegorsky and Kovdorsky fields. Besides nickel and copper, copper-nickel ores of Pechenegsky and Monchegorsky group of fields give to the country such metals as cobalt, platinum, osmium, iridium and many others. A unique Lovozersky field in its subsoil has the largest stocks of rare-earth metals in the country. Stocks of aluminum raw materials (cyanite schist in Keivy Ridge), grenade-almandin are almost unlimited. Also in Keivy Ridge has deposits of beryllium and lithium (almost 50% of the Russian stocks) ores, rare metals. White mica, pegmatites production is conducted.
Fields of construction rocks, ornamental and semiprecious stones (amethyst, chrysolite, pomegranate, moonstone "moonstone", amazonite, eudialyte, etc.) are numerous in the region. Recently diamonds were found.
Climate in the southern part is moderately cold, in the northern — subarctic marine climate, softened with a warm North Atlantic current (northeast continuation of Gulf Stream), it allows to carry out navigation all the year round. In winter polar night, in summer — polar day are characteristic of the region. Average air temperature of the coldest months (January-February) makes from −8 degrees in the north of the region (influence of a warm current) to −12-15 degrees in the central regions. In summer, +8 degrees and +14 degrees, respectively. The minimum air temperatures make-35 degrees on the coast of the Barents Sea, -45 on Belomorsk coast and -55 in the central regions in winter. Summer maximum is equal to +27, +32 and +33 degrees, respectively. Due to high humidity of air and strong winds even small frosts are transferred into extremely hard. Frosts are possible in any day of summer, in June snowfalls are frequent. On the sea coast and plateau strong winds (in rushes to 55-60 m/s) are frequent. Snow lies from the middle-end of October to the middle of May (in mountain areas since the end of September-beginning of October to the middle of June) on the average.
All territory of Murmansk Region belongs to the region of the Far North.
Far back in the past the Kola Peninsula was all covered with a glacier, then the glacier descended, leaving deep scratches on the earth, therefore in Murmansk Region a set of rivers (Varzuga, Umba, Niva, Voronya, Cola, Tuloma, the longest one — the river Ponoy) and lakes (Umbozero, Lovozero, the largest in the region— Imandra). There are also small rivers, for example Strelna. Stocks of waters are not limited by fresh internal reservoirs and seas, considerable stocks of water are located in underground layers. Here there are more than 110 thousand lakes with an area of more than 10 hectares and 18 209 rivers longer than 100 m.
Podsolic gley, podsolic illuvial and humic and tundra and gley soils prevail in the region, in the south of the region podsolic and marsh soils are met, and in the west of the region - marsh soils.
Almost all Murmansk Region is covered with tundra and forest-tundra, only in the south of the region — eith northern taiga. Trees in the north of the region are often dwarfish (birch and aspen), fir-trees grows well, pines are met, the tundra is covered by mosses and lichens as a carpet, there are a lot of berries: bilberry, cloudberries, blueberry, cowberry and cranberry. Stocks of business wood are considerable, their size is superfluous for the region.
The fauna is quite poor, and water fauna is more various, than land. Foxes, martens, gluttons, ermines can be found, it is possible to meet a polar fox, a wolf and a brown bear, elks and reindeers are widespread, there is a lot of squirrels and lemmings.
It is possible to meet a white partridge, a polar owl, there are black grouses and wood-grouses, in the woods bullfinches, titmouses, sviristel live. There are a lot of seagulls, morwennols and other sea birds.
In Murmansk Region there are such breeds of fishes, as cod, sea perch, halibut, catfish, flounder, herring. Lakes and the rivers are rich in valuable species of fish, such as: trout, salmon, whitefish, grayling, paliya, nelma, loach. There are much perch and pike.