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Geography of Europe

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Geographically, Europe is a part of the larger landmass known as Eurasia. The continent begins at the Ural Mountains in Russia, which defines Europe'Asia" title ="Asia">Asia. The southeast boundary with Asia isn'Ural_River" title ="Ural River">Ural or Emba rivers serving as possible boundaries, continuing with the Caspian Sea, and either the Kuma and Manych rivers or the Caucasus mountains as possibilities, and onto the Black Sea; the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles conclude the Asian boundary. The Mediterranean Sea to the south separates Europe from Africa. The western boundary is the Atlantic Ocean, but Iceland, much farther away than the nearest points of Africa and Asia, is also included in Europe. There is ongoing debate on where the geographical centre of Europe is.

The idea of a European "continent" is not universally held. Some non-European geographical texts refer to a Eurasian Continent, or to a European "sub-continent", given that "Europe" is not surrounded by sea and is, in any case, much more a cultural than a geographically definable area.

In terms of shape, Europe is a collection of connected peninsulas. The two largest of these are "mainland" Europe and Scandinavia to the north, divided from each other by the Baltic Sea. Three smaller peninuslas—Iberia, Italy and the Balkans—emerge from the southern margin of the mainland into the Medeterranean Sea, which separates Europe from Africa. Eastward, mainland Europe widens much like the mouth of a funnel, until the boundary with Asia is reached at the Ural Mountains.

Land relief in Europe shows great variation within relatively small areas. The southern regions, however, are more mountainous, while moving north the terrain descends from the high Alps, Pyrenees and Carpathians, through hilly uplands, into broad, low northern plains, which are vast in the east. An arc of uplands also exists along the northwestern seaboard, beginning in the western British Isles and continuing along the mountainous, fjord-cut spine of Norway.

This description is simplified. Sub-regions such as Iberia and Italy contain their own complex features, as does mainland Europe itself, where the relief contains many plateaus, river valleys and basins that complicate the general trend. Iceland and the British Isles are special cases. The former is a land unto itself in the northern ocean which is counted as part of Europe, while the latter are upland areas that were once joined to the mainland until rising sea levels cut them off.

The few generalizations that can be made about the relief of Europe make it less than suprising that the continent's many separate regions provided homes for many separate nations throughout history.

Contents

Major Rivers

See main article; List of rivers of Europe

Major Lakes/inland Seas

See main article; List of lakes of Europe

Mountain Ranges

See main article; List of mountain ranges of Europe

Geography by country

Geography of:


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